The Science Behind How Trees Grow

Trees are a beautiful asset; that is no secret. But in addition to their beauty, they are also essential for life. We here at Mr. Tree Services want you to not only fall in love with trees because of their beauty, but we want you to appreciate them, respect them, and know about them even better.

The Science Behind How Trees Grow We promise that if you continue reading this, it will not feel like you are back in your elementary school science class. We just want to you help you better understand your trees, and provide a newfound appreciation for these beautiful forms of life.

Let’s start with ancient trees, to provide you with a bit of a fun fact that you may not have already known. Ancient trees arose from the sea. Because of this, they are very dependent on water. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Well, this is why the root system of a tree has its own water-collection system. This is how trees can sustain life.

Now, let’s explore the different parts of trees and their necessities even further. Don’t worry; there are plenty of more, new fun facts below that we are excited to share!


Did you know that one tree can drop hundreds or even thousands of seeds? Woah! This may seem like a lot, and many of you may be thinking to yourself “how are there not more trees everywhere because of this?” Well, fun fact time! Many of the seeds that fall do not make it into the ground. Instead, a lot are eaten by insects or other animals.

Additionally, some seeds may fall onto terrain where it is not possible for a tree to grow, like ground that is too dry, too hard or does not have any soil or dirt. However, for those seeds that do fall in the perfect spot – or those seeds that are planted by people in the perfect spot – germination will occur. As each seed contains an embryo, this embryo will expand once the soil is watered.


Everyone knows what the root of a tree is, but did you know that roots have “hair?” These hairs are what grow longer and larger in order to find and absorb moisture. Additionally, root “hairs” are what provide the structural support of the tree by wrapping themselves and becoming intertwined within the grains of soil. They’re called roots for a reason, as they root themselves as anchors into the ground.

Another fun fact for all of you is that roots do not extend as far into the ground as you likely think they do. The majority of roots are actually found within the top 18 inches of soil – yes, less than two feet deep! If this was not surprising enough, over half of these roots are found in even shallower ground, within the top six inches of soil. Now that’s shallow!


Many people enjoy the beauty of tree trunks, but they are so much more than just aesthetically appealing. Trunks are critical for the survival of the tree. Not only do tree trunks provide limb support for the tree itself, but they also are the transporting source from the roots to the leaves in terms of nutrients and moisture. Because of this, as the tree grows, the trunk needs to grow as well in terms of length and size in order to find sustainable sunlight and moisture.

Did you also know that the tree trunk bark holds a critical role as well? The tree trunk bark is a form of protection. Think of it as the armor that knights used to wear before going into battle; that is the same job that the tree trunk bark does for the entire tree.

A tree’s health is based upon the condition in which the tree trunk bark is in. This health worsens due to environmental conditions, storms, pathogens, and damage from insects and animals. Do not let this scare you off from planting your own tree though, as your trusty tree service in Portland, Oregon is here to help you.

Leaves and Branches

Some people refer to the leaves and branches (and reproduction structures) of a tree as the tree’s crowns. How majestic! The tree bud is what the reproduction structure mostly consists of, as a tree bud is essentially a group of growing tissue. This tissue then turns into embryonic leaves, flowers, and so on. Buds, additionally, are responsible for branch growth, flower formation, and leaf formation as well.

Another fun fact for all of you – the growth of the limb and branch buds are what determines the shape of a tree crown, its size, and its height. It’s also important to note that buds do not only hold leaves. Some buds can have flowers instead, and some buds even have both leaves and flowers!

Now that we know about the main parts of a tree, there are a couple of other things that we would like to share with you as they are important aspects to the science behind tree growing. Trees do not just grow up, to a higher height. They also grow out and grow down as well. As alluded to above, tree trunks and branches both grow out and grow thicker. Roots grow down, forming the structural support needed for the tree.

You have also probably heard that reading the rings of a tree’s bark is how you can tell the age of a tree, and this is true. The rings tell you the age the tree was when cut. One last fun fact for you all is that the rings can also tell you when the tree grew the fastest or slowest. When the tree is growing fast, tree rings are wider. This also means that the tree had plenty of space to grow, and plenty of light and water as well. When the rings of the tree are narrower, it means that at the time, the trees were likely crowded, or there was environmental stress on the tree such as drought or a storm. Finally, tree rings can even tell us of insect or animal attacks and fire scars as well.

Now that you know all about the science of growing a tree, please share your new knowledge with your friends. Plus, knowing how a tree grows, and what it needs to properly survive, will help you become a better tree owner or grower. Just remember that we here at Mr. Tree, your local tree service in Portland, Oregon, are just a phone call away and always willing to discuss trees with you!

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About Mr.Tree, Inc.

We take pride in our quality service and complete and total customer satisfaction. Our professional and certified arborists have the knowledge and experience to take care of all your tree service needs. We have a highly trained team that is always up to date on all the latest techniques and equipped with the most state of the art tools to handle all your tree care needs. Feel free to browse through our website for more information about the services we offer.

We can help you with everything from lot clearing to tree pruning. We would be more than happy to help you turn your residential or commercial property into something you can be proud of. If you want to use a company that offers the most comprehensive tree services in the area, call Mr. Tree today.

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