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Nurse Trees Are Amazing Mother’s Of The Forest

Disclaimer: The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed herein are those of the author. This post is for entertainment purposes only. 

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Feeding the Forest Through Decay?

Not what you would generally think of as a mothers day post. I mean, death and decay generally don’t jive with the holiday. 

But in the natural world, the life cycle is amazingly varied. 

Last year we discussed Mother (Hub) Trees. These amazing guardians of the forest giving life, nutrients, and guiding the communication network under their sphere of influence. 

This year let’s discuss another kind of mother. The nurse tree. 

What is a Nurse Tree? You ask. Well let me tell you. 

Simply put, a nurse tree, or nurse log, are trees that have fallen and support new life. 

They may have been cut down, or fallen over due to extreme age or weather. 

Most forests have examples of Nurse trees, though they tend to be more dominant in wet climates such as rain forests or the American northwest forests, and many others.

The decay of the wood, the animals both microscopic and larger, the temperatures, moisture levels, moss growth,  etc all play a part in the decomposition of the tree. This breakdown of the nurse tree provides a perfect environment for seedlings to take root. 

Nurse Trees and Reforestation

Nurse Trees provide much in the way of reforestation. They provide shelter for mushrooms and other smaller plant life, they provide nutrients and moisture for seedlings. 

So why don’t we just throw down or cut down dead trees and let nature take its course. 

To be frank, nature works to slowly for our human brains. We don’t want to see change in 50, 100, or 500 years. We want to see change now or in the immediate future. 5-10 years is a long time for us. 

This is why we engage in planting trees and other forest flora. Some would claim this is an artificial way of restoring a forest, but I would argue that as long as the biodiversity is being maintained, that it’s all good. Nature is exceptionally talented when it comes to self healing, but we like to help her along sometimes, and that’s not a bad thing. 

Nurse Trees In Our Lives

I see the nurse tree as a beloved aunt, a loving step-mother, grandmother, and friend. These trees give all they have to the nourishment of others. 

It may be a bit of a stretch to link a decaying tree with nurturing relationships in our lives but I like to stretch. 

We all have our Mother Trees in our lives. Even the saplings that grow in a nurse tree, eventually become connected with the communication network of the forest. 

But for a short time they are nestled in their adopted environment. They are nurshed, sheltered, and given the best chance at life. 

Who in your life was there for you when you needed shelter? Nurishment, physical, emotional, or mental? And how have these relationships stayed with you even after you are connected to the rest of society?

So maybe it’s not that much of a stretch after all. 

Mother’s come in all shapes, sizes, and sometimes in surprising places. 

We all have the mother that gave us life. And for many of us, she is the same who raised and nurtured us into adulthood. 

But we all have had many mothers along the way to give a helping hand. To provide guidance to us when we needed it. To support us when we are raising our own families. 

Maybe this mother’s day you aren’t able to be with your mom. Maybe that’s due to personal situations, or choice. 

Whatever your personal situations I hope you are able to spend some time with a mother in your life. 

Maybe an elderly neighbor who’s helped you by sharing their life experiences. A friend who supports you in your trials. A mentor who has guided you in your difficult choices. An older sibling who is always there for you.

Mother’s are everywhere. Guiding, nurturing, and loving in their own unique ways. 

May you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day this year remembering all the mothers in your life. 

References
Nurse Logs
The science of nurse logs
More Articles on Nurse Logs
Nurse Logs EPOD
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Nurse logs provide new habitats
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About Author

Jenn Gaskin

After more than a decade in education I decided to turn my copious skills to writing. I have been freelance writing for Dancing Tree Gifts (formerly Sonora Kay Creations) since 2019. I wear many hats with DTG primarily copy editor, author, and web design.