Taking a walk through the woods, you may have noticed odd looking bases of trees. What you are actually looking at are stumps of previously logged or fallen trees that become the nursery or the ‘mother’ for a new tree. The old base provides a sheltered area for the new seedling to get established. As the new tree grows, the decomposition of the old tree feeds the area from its base to its roots. Many kinds of trees are known to become mother trees. In this area, the most common are fir and hemlock.
The trees in this picture happen to be Douglas Fir trees. The babies are about 30 years old and stretch to a height of about 80 feet. These new trees can eventually envelop the old base, growing a strong root system around and through the decay. The tap root is a single root that grows straight down, and is an anchor for trees as they reach heights of more than 120 feet. The tap root of the old tree may survive for hundreds of years because of the the amount of sap/pitch in fir trees. The sap or pitch preserves the wood and does not rot.