Weird and Wonderful Wood!

Wednesday 9th September 2020


   25 facts about wood: 

  1. Wood is made up of a combination of living, dying, and dead cells.
  2. The world’s shortest tree is the dwarf willow, which lives in northerly and Arctic Tundra regions and rarely grows more than a couple of inches high.
  3. The tallest trees can grow as high as 100 metres, more than 320 feet. They include the Coast Redwood, Giant Sequoia, Sitka Spruce and Australian Mountain Ash.
  4. The world’s tallest living standing hardwood tree is a mountain ash called Centurion in Tasmania. It’s about 329 feet 8 3/4 inches high.
  5. The mighty Giant Sequoia is thought by many to be the biggest living organism in the world, although a 2,400 acre fungus mycelium in eastern Oregon – almost ten square kilometres of it – is a strong, if less-visible, contender.
  6. The world is home to more than 23,000 different kinds of trees.
  7. The terms softwood and hardwood describe the leaves, seeds and structure of the trees rather than the type of wood they produce.
  8. The Amazon Basin is the biggest area of tropical forest on Earth, spanning a whopping eight and a half million acres.
  9. Softwoods are not always softer than hardwoods.
  10. The tree with the widest diameter trunk is the African Baobab, just under 50 feet across with a 155 foot circumference.
  11. Kingley Vale in West Sussex contains a host of ancient yew trees, some of which are more than 2000 years old.
  12. The tree called “General Sherman” is not only the biggest giant sequoia, but it is also the biggest tree in the world. It is 83.8 m (274.9 feet) tall and its girth at breast height is 24,10 m (79 feet) (near the ground it is 31,3 m or 102,6 feet).
  13. British Oak trees can live for 500 years. We’d have a lot more of them if Henry VIII hadn’t cut almost all of them down to build warships.
  14. Softwoods come from gymnosperm trees (evergreens), while hardwoods come from angiosperm trees (deciduous types).
  15. Trees trap 50% of all the sun’s energy caught by living organisms.
  16. All wood is biodegradable.
  17. Wet wood, unlike dry wood, can conduct electricity.
  18. Lignin is what makes a wood hard. Softwoods have less of it, hardwoods contain more.
  19. Softwoods account for about 80% of the world’s timber production.
  20. Well-maintained trees can increase a property’s value… some say by as much as 27%, others hang their hat on 14%.
  21. Place trees in the right way near a property and they can cut air conditioning by 30%.
  22. Trees get 90% of their nutrition from the atmosphere and only 10% from soil.
  23. Trees grow from the top, not the bottom. Watch for 100 years and you’ll notice the branches only move a few inches up the trunk as the tree grows.
  24. Insects hate the taste of tannin, the tea-coloured chemical trees contain in varying amounts.
  25. Some trees talk to one another. When willows are threatened by insect pests, they emit a chemical warning to nearby trees, who secrete more tannin to put the invaders off.