Creative Woodworks & crafts 2005-11, страница 43

Creative Woodworks & crafts 2005-11, страница 43

Red Birch flowers Yellow Birch leaves and seeds

Because the bark is so distinctive, it is not necessary to dwell on the differences of the leaves and seeds between these species. They do, however, play an important pari in distinguishing between pure species and hybrids.

As its name implies, the bark of White Birch is while, although during its first 10 to 12 years it is golden or brown. It is also classified as "exfoliating," which means that the bark peels off in strips. A unique trait of this particular species is that large full sheets of the bark can be peeled from the tree. Native Americans made good use of it when maldng their canoes. The hark can be used for such everyday items as popsicle sticks, toothpicks, and tongue depressors, and it also provides material for unique crafts.

Black. Birch bark

White Birch bark

One of the common names for the Black Birch species is "Cherry Birch" because the bark and the heart of the wood resemble that of Cherry, although the heart of the Black Birch is much smaller. This tree is the most aromatic of the birches. Snap off a twig or scratch through the outer layer of bark and you will be rewarded with a refreshing winteigreen scent.

When I was a very young lad, my dad would drive me up to the woods on a hot summer evening alter having

Red Birch bark

Red or River Birch grows best in southeastern areas of the United States, from the lower Mississippi drainage east to North Carolina with lesser amounts appearing as far north as Wisconsin across to lower New England. It prefers damp to wet soil that is nol flooded for extended periods and is intolerant of shade. Within its primary growth range, it can attain heights of 100' with diameters of 36". It is highly prized as an ornamental shrub or tree because of its bark. It is also harvested along with other species in bottom land logging operations when it has sufficient size to justify the effort. Its most common use is pulp-wood, but because it is lighter than the other birches yet slill strong, it can be used in the manufacture of artificial limbs and children's toys. Red Birch is highly tolerant of acidic soil conditions, so it is also used in strip mine reclamation.

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made hay all day We'd ride on his ''new to him'" Farmall tractor. and once we got there, he would snap a few twigs off and show me how to peel the bark off with my teeth. We would then drive back to the house sucking on the twigs. For some reason, the evening would seem a bit cooler, and we'd feel refreshed. To this day, whenever I stick a twig in my mouth, 1 am transported back to those days, remembering the feel of Dad's arms around mc as 1 sat on the seat between his legs and the tractor chugged along.

Yellow Birch bark, like White Birch, is not yellow until the sapling is about 10 years old. As you can sec in the photograph, there is no mistaking it for anything other than Yellow Birch. Because the bark is very flammable even when soaked with water, it can be helpful to people facing adverse conditions in the wild. Just peel off a good handful of bark, place it under some dead white pine twigs and branches, and all you need is one dry match to start a fire.

Yellow Birch bark

Creative Woodworks 6. Crafts November 2005 « 3

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