Weird and Wonderful Wood!
Wednesday 9th September 2020
25 facts about wood:
- Wood is made up of a combination of living, dying, and dead cells.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The world is home to more than 23,000 different kinds of trees.
- The terms softwood and hardwood describe the leaves, seeds and structure of the trees rather than the type of wood they produce.
- The Amazon Basin is the biggest area of tropical forest on Earth, spanning a whopping eight and a half million acres.
- Softwoods are not always softer than hardwoods.
- The tree with the widest diameter trunk is the African Baobab, just under 50 feet across with a 155 foot circumference.
- Kingley Vale in West Sussex contains a host of ancient yew trees, some of which are more than 2000 years old.
- 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).
- 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.
- Softwoods come from gymnosperm trees (evergreens), while hardwoods come from angiosperm trees (deciduous types).
- Trees trap 50% of all the sun’s energy caught by living organisms.
- All wood is biodegradable.
- Wet wood, unlike dry wood, can conduct electricity.
- Lignin is what makes a wood hard. Softwoods have less of it, hardwoods contain more.
- Softwoods account for about 80% of the world’s timber production.
- Well-maintained trees can increase a property’s value… some say by as much as 27%, others hang their hat on 14%.
- Place trees in the right way near a property and they can cut air conditioning by 30%.
- Trees get 90% of their nutrition from the atmosphere and only 10% from soil.
- 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.
- Insects hate the taste of tannin, the tea-coloured chemical trees contain in varying amounts.
- 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.