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Published on May 18th, 2017 | by admin

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Facts About How Trees Grow

We see trees every day and yet most of us have no idea how they grow. These complex plants have surprising mechanisms and studying them helps reveal unknown facts. Trees have many complex systems which help them to survive and flourish in even the harshest of conditions. Special care is need to maintain tree health and, in order to provide that care, one must understand the systems within a tree.

The Plumbing System of a Tree

While we usually think of a tree as a single plant, it is actually more like a whole collection of plants that come and go annually. The collection of plants on a tree are called twigs and branches and they are the ones that produce annual leaves, fruit and flowers. Each twig of a tree, by itself, is almost like any other plant. But it is the fact they are connected to a larger system to make up the entire tree that is what sets them all apart from other plants.

This plumbing system known as branches allows for the flow of sugar, hormones and water to flow to and from the twigs which helps with the evolution and growth of the trees we admire.

Water Flow Within a Tree

Only a skinny outer layer that is just below the covering bark is live tissue on older branches. The remaining branch parts are simply made up of old cells that have died. The walls of these cells give the needed strength to the tree’s structure to allow it to remain standing tall. But the most important aspect of them is that they act like a sponge that draws water from the roots through all parts of the tree including the leaves.

There are several ways a tree uses water. Minerals and nutrients are filtered as it moves through the branches. In order for the tree to keep getting enough nutrients, the leaves allow the old water to evaporate in the sun making room for more water to be soaked up from the roots.

Sugar Flow Within a Tree

The sun provides the energy the tree absorbs and combines with carbon dioxide and water to make molecules of sugar. Every part of the tree will use the sugar as an energy store. The thin layer that is just below the bark is where the sugar flow takes place. The leaves keep it filling and then whichever part of the tree needs it, will use it. Branches, roots, buds and the trunk are all interconnected.

Hormone Flow Within a Tree

Water and sugars that flow through the tree are used to transport hormones. As an example a meristem which is found at the shoot of the plant, also known as the tips of the branches, are used for new cell growth. These, in turn, produce Auxin which is a hormone that regulates growth. It is used to tell low lying branches to remain laying low.

The Twigs of a Tree

We have now covered how a tree regulates its own growth. Now we will examine how the twigs work. Twigs work both in unison with the function of the whole tree and within their own system. The twig starts its life as a bud which is positioned at the base of every leaf and the end of the branch. This bud has inside, an embryonic beginning of a new twig. It is inside a cocoon-like structure that helps protect it during the impending winter.

The Senses of a Tree

Each year a large number of twigs will sprout from the buds. Twigs give the tree senses like seeing and hearing. Of course, they don’t have eyes or ears but they do, however, possess a range of senses. Depending on the senses, the twigs will decide where to grow.

The tree will use its senses to balance itself in relation with gravity. Gravitropism is what biologist call it. It is why the roots grow down into the ground while the tree grows upwards.

The tree gets its food from light, thus making light very important. For this reason, one of the trees most powerful senses is for light. The twigs can even sense various hues of light. When they do not detect enough light they will begin to grow to find stronger sources of light.


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