Monday, February 5, 2018

The Anatomy of a Tree

The Anatomy of a Tree

A tree's leaves are what we notice the most. Their beautiful springtime blooms bring fresh greenery to our surrounding environments. From leaves and flowers, to fruits and nuts, the yields of a canopy are frequently revered parts of trees. But leaves serve a much bigger purpose than simple aesthetics; they are the food factories of the tree. The green color we see in leaves is caused by a chemical called Chlorophyll. Chlorophyll absorbs sunlight, and uses its energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugar and starch (carbohydrates). This process is called photosynthesis, and both trees and living creatures need it to survive. Without it, trees couldn't give off the much-need oxygen we need!
Behind tree leaves, you will find its twigs and branches. They grow up and outward from the tree trunk, and provide a supporting foundation for leaves and other yields. But they also play in important role in transferring nutrients and water back and forth from the trunk and the canopy.
The tree trunk has 5 separate layers, all of which serving an important purpose. Starting from the outside and working our way in, these layers include the outer bark, inner bark, cambium cell layer, sapwood, and heartwood. Outer bark keeps out moisture and rain in wet seasons, and retains it in dry seasons. Inner bark is also called phloem, and serves as a food pipeline. The cambium cell layer is the part of the trunk that is growing, sapwood is the tree's water pipeline, and heartwood is actually deadwood, but it serves as a tree's primary support structure.

The tree roots are where water and minerals are retrieved from the soil and sent upward through the tree, all the way to the leaves. There are two types: large perennial roots and small feeder roots. Roots are only as deep as the first three feet of soil, so it is important that they remain free from damage, such as lawn mowers, weed whackers, construction, and more.


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