This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Among the curious papers read at Cincinnati, was one suggesting that the examination of the transverse sections in a felled tree would show when the seasons in the past were dry seasons, and when wet ones - thin layers indicating the dry, and wide layers of wood indicating the wet ones. It seems scarcely probable that in these days of scientific knowledge, any one assuming to write papers relating to plant life, should not know that the thickness of a layer of wood at the point where we happen to cut it across, is no indication of the thickness at a little distance above or below the cut. But these papers show how slow some people are to keep up with what is known. A circle but a sixteenth of an inch wide, may be one-eighth, or even one quarter of an inch, but a very few feet in a direct line above or below the first cut.
Wood is made by the development of cells from the cells of last year, and the production of cells is just in proportion to the amount of food at command, or the ability of the germinating cells to make use of food. A branch cut away, or a new branch starting near a certain mass of cells, will make them grow slower or faster than those above or below this. An extra pinch of cold may make perhaps a square foot of cells weaker than some above or below; or a burst of sun in winter happening to concentrate on one small spot, will weaken though not kill the cells, and then they will make but a poor cell growth just there the next season. Any one, in fact, who chooses to look at the nearest Cedar, Apple, Hornbeam, or in fact the trunk of any growing tree, must see the irregularity of outline from this cause, and if he will saw through a trunk at half a dozen places, he. will be surprised to find, very often, that the very same ring which at six feet indicated a very dry season, at eight or nine feet proved the same season to be a very wet one!