Master arborist turns Lowcountry trees into art | Hilton Head

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LADY’S ISLAND — The wooden bowl sat on a small table in the backyard woodshop. Some had a pattern of growth rings in the center, rings of bark along the edges, or a series of depressions where insects had dug into them.

Michael Murphy picked up a rectangular bowl and pointed out the raised lines that disrupted the ring-like pattern inside.

“There are two similar pieces,” Murphy said. “I hope other arborists appreciate them as much as I do.”

Murphy, who has been an arborist for 51 years, knows a lot about trees. He can estimate their age, diagnose diseases and treat many diseases. You can also turn them into works of art at your backyard woodworking shop in the New Point neighborhood of Ladies Island.


Beaufort County Council approves $1.5 million land purchase to preserve Cherry Hill Oak

The slightly raised lines he pointed out were once water buds, tree shoots that, if left alone, would grow into new branches.

“People used to think that these new shoots weren’t very strong, but if you let them grow, they’ll grow outward and inwards, attach themselves to the center of the tree, and become strong branches,” Murphy said. Ta.







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Michael Murphy pointed out that one of the wooden bowls he turned had a distinctive pattern on it. The raised lines that cut through the circular pattern were caused by water buds, small buds on trees that grow into branches.Jessica Wade/Staff




His bowls are sold through his business; preserved tree art, displayed in galleries throughout the Lowcountry. The wood to be carved began with trees that were native to the area.

The Historic Beaufort Collection features wood sourced from the site renovation of Tidalholm, an antebellum mansion built in 1853 on the banks of the Beaufort River.

The Hunting Island Collection features wood harvested during the cleanup of Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma. The Spring Island collection includes white oak, bluff oak, tulip poplar, ash, toothache tree, and elm.

1 bowl left Cherry Hill Live Oak Collection. The piece, made from a hurricane-damaged section of a giant tree trunk, is on sale for $1,080, with all proceeds promised to go to the organization. Friends of Cherry Hill Oak. Earlier this year, Murphy was an outspoken advocate for preserving the 350-year-old tree.





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