Trees are more than just part of our natural landscape. They provide shelter and food for wildlife, absorb carbon dioxide and produce breathable air, and add to the beauty of the world.
Below we’ve compiled some of our favorite tree facts, many of which you might be learning for the first time. Enjoy!
1. Trees are the longest living organisms on Earth, and never die of old age.
2. Trees drink about 2,000 liters of water each year.
3. Strategically planting trees and shrubs can save you up to 25 percent on your energy bills. Not only do they provide shade in the summer, but serve as a windbreak in the winter, too. (Get more information on smart landscaping.)
4. “Moon trees” were grown from seeds taken to the moon during the Apollo 14 mission in early 1971. NASA and USFS wanted to see if being in space or the moon’s orbit caused the seeds to grow differently.
5. Trees are able to communicate and defend themselves against attacking insects. Scientists have found that trees can flood their leaves with chemicals called phenolics when the insects begin their raid. They can also signal danger to other trees so they can start their own defense.
6. Pine trees are the only species in the whole world that spreads seeds in cones, and those cones also have genders.
7. The "knock on wood" tradition comes from a time when primitive pagans used to tap or knock on trees to summon the protective spirits that resided in them
8. A tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide each year and can sequester 1 ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old.
9. Trees can help you find your way if you get lost in the woods. In northern temperate climates, moss will grow on the northern side of the tree trunk, where there is more shade. Also, a tree’s rings can help point you in the right direction too. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, you can see the rings of the tree grow slightly thicker on the southern side since it receives more light. In the southern hemisphere, the opposite is true, with rings being thicker on the north side.
10. Pine trees grow on six of seven continents, with Antarctica being the only one left out.
11. Trees lower air temperature by evaporating water in their leaves.
12. If a birdhouse is hung on a tree branch, it does not move up the tree as the tree grows.
13. Trees improve water quality by slowing and filtering rain water, and protecting aquifers and watersheds.
14. The different parts of a tree grow at different times throughout the year. Typically, most of the foliage growth happens in the spring, followed by trunk growth in the summer and root growth in the fall and winter.