Detail of barbed wire scar on red maple

While out at Indian Brook Reservoir yesterday on a sunny yet frigid day, I came across a cool scarring pattern on an old hemlock (about 2′ in diameter). The tree also had prominent scarring at the base, probably related to an old logging road (stumps abounded) Barbed wired fencing was often put up in three rows, and so even after it’s been removed (or at least mostly – see beech below from where it was clipped but not fully removed) you can still see three tiers of scars on the trunk. These trees were at the intersection of the Circ and McGee Trails near the dam.

In looking at the barbed wire and trying to make sense of what the landscape would have looked like when the barbed wire was actively being used to hold animals in, it helps to know how the fence was constructed. Farmers would have placed the wire on the fenced-in side of the tree so that animals leaning over the fence to graze vegetation on the other side would have pressed the fence into the tree rather than push it away from the trunk. I was standing in the fenced-in area for each of the photos.

Hemlock with basal scar and horizontal line from barbed wire

Hemlock with basal scar and horizontal line from barbed wire

Red maple with prominent scars from barbed wire

Red maple with prominent scars from barbed wire

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