We all know that trees are beautiful to look at; it’s why cities spend so much time and effort creating green spaces and parks that are full of gorgeous trees of all variety. If you are lucky enough to live in a residential neighbourhood, you probably appreciate the trees that line your street (and hopefully you own lawn) every day. However, beyond what little you may remember from biology class, how much to you really know about how trees work and what they do? They are, after all, the product of thousands of years of evolution and have a complex biological life. In the city, we tend to think of them as ornaments. If one dies, you can call us for tree removal services in Edmonton and the surrounding area – no problem – but have you ever thought about the life of a tree and what it signifies? It can be pretty mind blowing to consider.
Trees typically experience their growth spurts when the weather turns warm. Stems and roots grow longer during the brief growth spurts of the warm weather; often the growth period for the whole year takes place in just a few weeks – this means you may require tree pruning this summer to keep your property from being overgrown.
As for the actual biological functions of trees, let’s start at the bottom: roots slurp up moisture and nutrients from the soil. Most roots branch out into the ground deeper and wider than you would imagine, sometimes interconnecting through their roots and forming colonies. While most roots burrow into the ground, some trees such as the red mangrove and Indian banyan have exposed roots that provide structural stability.
The trunk itself contains woody tissue and vascular tissue – xylem and phloem – which transport nutrients, water and minerals throughout the tree like pipes. The leaves growing on the secondary branches absorb light and turn it into sugar for the trees growth. This process, which we all learn about in school, is called photosynthesis. The food gathered through the roots and that which is gathered through the leaves is guided through the vascular tissue to its appropriate destination.
While deciduous trees often have fruit and flowers spurting from their secondary branches to aid in the reproduction process, coniferous trees have pollen cones and seed cones (pine cones as they’re popularly known) for reproduction. Many trees reproduce through pollen blowing on the wind on the off chance that said pollen will land in a flower – this is why trees produce such an obscene amount of pollen in the spring and summer: because the chances of a grain of pollen landing in the appropriate flower are so low.
Trees almost always have a positive effect on bio-diversity. They provide food, shelter, absorb carbon dioxide – which they store in their tissue – and prevent erosion as well. It’s no coincidence that tropical rainforests are teeming with life, some of the most biologically diverse environments on the planet.
Tragically, deforestation to provide humans with more agricultural land is massively reducing the number of trees in the world; still, the current number of mature trees on the earth is estimated to be three trillion. In an urban setting, we mostly see trees as simple ornaments. It’s true that once they are sick or dead it is imperative to remove them and to seek out reliable stump grinding help in Edmonton – but it’s also important to understand the important biological role that they play in the world and to consider how truly awesome they are.