6 Interesting Facts About Trees
6 Interesting Facts About Trees
August 26, 2022
Since the beginning of time, trees have provided us with two of life’s essentials—food and oxygen. Ever since, they’ve evolved into astounding creatures that are full of interesting history and unparalleled significance—and it’s important to understand the way they function, live and exist within our environment. At Ben & Annie’s Trees for Tomorrow, we make it our mission to expand knowledge, appreciation and awareness about the crucial importance of trees in our communities—so continue reading to find 6 interesting facts about trees and the exceptional role they play in our everyday lives.
Trees are the longest-living organisms on the planet
Trees are the longest-living life form we know, and we can take a peek into their history by counting the rings from the pith of the trunk to the bark. In Utah, the Pando colony of Quaking Aspen, also known as the Trembling Giant, is believed to be the oldest living organism on Earth—made up of over 47,000 trees and weighing over 13 million pounds. Although it’s not a single tree, the 106-acre colony is made of genetically identical trees, called stems, connected by a single root system—which is estimated to be at least 80,000 years old.
Trees can communicate
Although trees can’t talk, there’s no doubt that they have unique ways in which they communicate with one another. They send distress signals about drought and disease or insect attacks, and other trees will alter their behavior based on these messages. Willows, for example, emit certain chemicals when they’re attacked by webworms, and their neighboring trees will produce more tannin—making their leaves harder for the pests to digest.
Trees can serve as a compass
If you ever find yourself turned around on a forest adventure, it’s possible to use trees as a compass. Moss typically grows on the northern side of tree trunks in northern temperate climates, and if you find a tree that has been cut down, you can use the rings to detect the direction of the north. The rings of a tree trunk are slightly thicker on the southern side if a tree grows in the northern hemisphere because it receives more light—and the opposite is true for trees grown in the southern hemisphere.
Trees know their own limits
Trees are undeniably smart creatures, and they know how to not grow past their own limits and when to change with the seasons. During periods of stress, they shed their flowers, leaves, fruit, seeds and/or branches—and they purposely do not repair injured wood or branches. They segment off the damaged tissue and focus their energy on resources for healthy growth. Additionally, as the days grow shorter and colder, those changes trigger a hormone in leaf-dropping trees that sends a chemical message to every leaf that gives them a signal when it’s time to drop—proving how intelligent and agile trees truly are.
Trees help us breathe—in more ways than producing oxygen
In the process of producing oxygen, trees take in carbon dioxide—a natural part of the atmosphere that's now at dangerously high levels due to the burning of fossil fuels. Excess CO2 drives life-threatening climate change by trapping heat on Earth, but trees—especially old-growth forests—provide a valuable check on our CO2 emissions, which are continuously on the rise. Our planet certainly needs trees and their capabilities for the sake of our own health, now more than ever before—and it’s crucial that we all do our part in any way possible.
Trees give back to the community
Trees can do so much more than produce oxygen and provide scenic greenery—they can also do incredible things like lower stress, raise property values, help fight crime, protect your home and more. Just looking at trees can make us feel happier, less stressed, more positive and more creative. When humans are exposed to chemicals released by trees known as phytoncides, research has shown impressive results—such as reduced blood pressure, reduced anxiety or anger, increased pain threshold, and even increased expression of anti-cancer proteins. Trees make us happier and healthier human beings without even trying—and without us even realizing.
To learn more about the importance of trees in our communities and for more information on how to become a part of the meaningful work that we do, be sure to check out our latest news for updated posts about trees and our environment—and don’t hesitate to give us a call at (210) 670-5297 or fill out our online form today.