Huddle, gather round, circle up! It's time we had a little talk about fog. I know for many a coastal Californian it is not a pleasant subject. In fact it is often a quick recipe for a ruined day at the beach; take one day off, a pair of sandals, a touch of sunscreen, and...sit there in a freezing fog bank.
Despite its cool demeanor, and habit of harshing a surfer's mellow, fog is an essential ingredient in one of California's defining features of grandeur and beauty. Enter Sequoia Sempervirens, the redwood. These breathtaking beauties, known for their enormity of both size and age, not to mention beauty, are found in limited areas primarily in coastal California, and it is no secret why. Fog!
Giant trees such as these, including the world's tallest living tree Hyperion, need a whole lot of water to survive and thrive. Fog creates the unique climate necessary for redwood survival. It is involved in two different functions that provide redwoods with ample water. The first is the coalescence of fog water droplets on the redwood branches allowing the redwood to essentially rain upon itself even when no actual rain is falling. The second is the absorption of water through epidermal tissue on the tree leaves. This second process is necessary because of the great height of the redwood, which becomes so tall that it can no longer bring water from the roots all the way to the top of the tree. This means redwoods can only obtain their record setting height in foggy areas.
So next time the fog rolls in, instead of lamenting on the loss of a beach day, make your way into the enchanted forests and huddle up with a redwood family circle.