Trees are a beautiful part of our natural landscape. They serve many purposes, such as providing shelter and food for wildlife and helping to produce breathable air.
But here are some facts about trees that you may not have known about.
Tree Rings Can Predict Climate Change
Dendrochronology is studying a tree’s rings, but surprisingly, the rings on a tree reveal more than its age. The also indicate when natural disasters—think drought events or volcano eruption—occur. When there are years of healthy growth, with plenty of needed resources available, the rings tend to be thick. When the ecosystem denies those healthy resources, this is indicated by thin rings. Some studies have shown that adverse tree growth can help scientists understand the impact of climate change.
Trees Can Help Reduce Stress
Being around trees is actually good for our mental health and our social well-being. Even taking a walk down a tree-lined street has been shown to reduce stress. Some studies suggest that being in nature and being around trees can also lead to people being kinder to one another. Trees release a chemical called phytoncides, and when we breath them, it leads to feelings of well-being—and it can even lower blood pressure.
Trees Can Help You Find Your Way If You Get Lost
Lost out in the woods? If you are in a northern temperate climate, you can check out where the moss is growing on a tree to figure out direction. Moss grows on the northern side of the tree because that is where there is more shade.
Trees Are the Longest Living Organisms On Earth
California has the oldest living trees on the planet, with some of the state’s bristlecone pines and giant sequoias being thousands of years old. A tree dubbed “Methuselah” is an estimated 4,852 years old, and it is well known as one of the oldest living trees in the world. Another fun fact: Trees never die of old age!
Planting Trees Can Help Cut Back On Energy Costs
If you plant trees in your yard properly, you can save money on annual energy bills. A tree that provides shade can cool down your home as much as 20 degrees on hot summer days. Trees planted strategically can also provide a windbreak during winter, saving you even more on energy costs.
Well-Kept Landscapes With Trees Increase Property Value
People love mature trees, and if you have them on your property, you might be able to sell your house for more.
Several recent nationwide surveys show that mature trees in a well-landscaped yard can increase the value of a house by seven to 19 percent. A study by a Michigan State professor found that across seven different states, study participants perceived that home value increased from five to 11% for homes with a good landscape.
Trees Grow From the Top
If a birdhouse is hung on a tree branch, it won’t move up the tree as the tree grows.
This is because trees grow from the top. Specialized cells in the ends of the tree shoots form areas called meristems. These meristems are the locations from which a tree grows taller and limbs grow longer. Because trees grow from their most distal ends, it means that a branch will always be the same height as it was the day it emerged from the trunk as a little bud. However, just because tree branches do not rise as a tree grows doesn’t mean they will always be there, many trees shed their lowest branches as they grow.
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