Though trees haven’t been around since the beginning of life on Earth, life on Earth now would be nearly impossible without them. Trees provide food, shelter, timber, and oxygen. They thrive in Wichita’s humid subtropical climate and are beautiful to behold. Even the ancient bristlecone pine has its own gnarly beauty. Though they can’t run away from the lumberjack’s chainsaw or an encroaching wildfire, trees aren’t as passive as they may seem. Here are four fun facts about trees.
1. Some Trees Need Fire
Though the aftermath of a wildfire with its acres of ash and charred tree trunks looks awful, some trees actually need fire to reproduce. Among them are the:
- Longleaf pine
- Lodgepole pine
- Giant sequoia
For example, the cones of the lodgepole pine are covered with resin, and the resin needs the heat of a fire to melt it off and release the seeds. The seeds of other trees lay dormant until they detect chemical signals given off by burnt plant material and smoke. In the case of the Eucalyptus or gum trees, they protect their buds from fire by growing them beneath their trunk. When the bark is burnt off, the buds sprout. Other trees such as the Banksias can be burnt all the way down but have underground lignotubers that can sprout after a fire.
2. Trees Live the Longest
Trees live longer than any other living thing. Even a rather ordinary tree can live as long as 600 years. One specimen of Pinus longaeva, or bristlecone pine, is believed to be over 5,000 years old, which means it was around at the time of the Pyramids of Giza! A colony of cloned quaking aspens called Pando is believed to be as old as 14,000 years. All the individual trees in the colony are connected to each other via an underground system of roots. Unfortunately, trees planted in cities rarely make it to 30 years due to the stress and pollution of city life.
3. Trees Are the Tallest
Trees are also the tallest living beings. One unnamed coast redwood is believed to be over 360 feet high, while the General Sherman sequoia is believed to be about 275 feet tall with a 25-foot diameter. Australia’s Ada tree isn’t as tall but is wider, with a 50-foot girth.
4. Trees Communicate With Each Other
More and more biologists believe that trees communicate with each other. They send chemical signals to each other to warm of pests, drought, or diseases, and they share food and water. They do this through mycorrhizal networks. These are made up of fungi that form on the tips of the trees’ roots.
Call Us to Learn More
The trees of Wichita and everywhere else are amazing, living creatures. If you want to learn more about them and help them to thrive, don’t hesitate to call our arborists at Complete Tree Service.