The man in this May 8, 1960 Closer Than We Think! strip is injecting color into trees from a walking robot paint-mixer. Much like polar oil wells, this image certainly has a different connotation in 2007 than it did in 1960.
Today's forests simply grow. Tomorrow, this process may be speeded and regulated - as to size, quality and even color, thanks to intensive research work now under way.
The U.S. Forest Service has already developed pine trees that mature twice as fast as today's ponderosa. Rayonier, Inc., is injecting radioactive carbon 14 into trunks to affect cellulose growth. Weyerhaeuser Co. has created new ways to avoid insect damage. And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports a treatment that will pre-color lumber while the trees are still growing; thus painting of wood may one day become a thing of the past.