The Language of Trees
Updated: Nov 12, 2021
As arborists, we are bilingual in human language and in tree language. Trees talk. A lot in fact. And they are doing it right beneath our feet.
Wood Wide Web
Deep under the intricate system of roots in the darkness of the soil, there is an extensive fungal network affectionately known as the Wood Wide Web where trees speak to each other, exchange gossip, share information and resources as well as send danger signals.
Fungi grow around and inside tree roots. They are mostly busy providing trees with nutrients and the trees as a gesture of appreciation, give them sugars. This fungal system becomes an incredible network of signals and information. Just as in our modern society we cannot imagine living without the World Wide Web, trees will find it debilitating without their Wood Wide Web. The older trees in a forest use this system to provide their younger counterparts with sugars, helping them to grow big and strong. When trees die, their saved resources are not wasted. These go back into the system and provide nutrients for other trees. Even trees know about the importance of recycling. Trees care a lot for one another, and if one tree has a case of disease, it tells other trees via this fungal system so they can beef themselves up and get prepared.
Why Need an Arborist
So where do the arborists come in, if trees are so self-sufficient and well-prepared? Our job is to stop the hackers. Yes, you read it right. The Wood Wide Web attracts hackers, just like our Internet system.
Certain species of plants like the orchid can steal resources from trees. The thieves are not the worst. The notorious Black Walnut is a lot more insidious. It even spreads toxic chemicals to their neighbours and has no qualms about doing so. It is its way of defending itself to get bigger and stronger and keep more resources for itself.
As arborists, we may know our tools well but we need to know even better the language of trees and their personalities. A layman may not be able to distinguish one tree from another, and even if one could recognise what tree each is, there is a lack of in-depth knowledge about how different trees behave. When we receive a call about a tree problem, we visit the area and get to know the "neighbours" of the affected tree in question and we know if a particular tree needs to be taken out because its presence could risk the health of other trees or plants, or if we should leave a sick tree alone because it is able to regenerate, or if a dead tree could be allowed to just be because its nutrients are being released back into nature. It is not a good idea to take out a tree just because we do not like how it looks. Always consult a professional. There is more to a tree than how it looks on the outside. A miscalculated move could seriously damage the Wood Wide Web system.
When Australia suffered a long period of bushfires, Nature showed just how amazing it was when it started to regenerate even when what we saw was mostly burnt trunks and branches. New shoots were coming out and they were so tiny they could be easily missed.
It is also the job of an arborist to identify potentially 'dangerous' trees like the above-mentioned Black Walnut and consider if it is necessary to remove it for the improved health of other trees and vegetation around it. Not that we wish to sound like the mafia, but there is an official ´hit list´ of trees that are considered to be a ´pest plant´ and they can be lawfully removed. See here for the hit list of 'noxious' and 'undesirable' trees. You do not require Council approval to remove them. If you are planning to start planting trees on a new property, it is advisable to consult a professional as to what trees are allowed and if you happen to plant one of the trees on this hit list, it would be a source of unnecessary angst later.
Speak to your Arborist
Trees are heavy investments and taking good care of them from beginning to end can yield substantial returns. From deciding on the most suitable trees to plant based on the geographical area, climate and purpose to looking after them throughout their lifecycle and finally giving them a clean end when they die all require financial input which can be kept manageable if done properly. It is far more damaging economically-speaking to solve a nasty problem that could otherwise have been prevented.
We are here with you through your entire tree experience, from planting and caring to putting a tree to rest. Perhaps that is why at Accomplished Tree Management, trees are something so close to our hearts, it literally grows on us. We are present at the beginning and we are there at the end. We listen to what our clients need, and we also listen to what trees need. Speak to us if you think your trees are trying to tell you something, and you want to know what to do to keep your trees happy.
About Accomplished Tree Management: Tel 0411 443 535
Accomplished Tree Management is based in Port Macquarie and services the Mid North Coast. With over 16 years experience, we employ safe work methods and are certified with Australian AS 4373-2007-Pruning of Amenity Trees standards. We're fully insured with $20 million Public Liability and $5 million Professional Indemnity Insurance.
We provide the following tree services -
Tree management - tree removals, palm tree services, council permits
Tree and garden maintenance - hedging, pruning, deadwooding, stump grinding
Tree consultation - arboricultural reports, hazard assessment
"The language of trees" is written by Vermilion Pinstripes, a sales marketing and communications agency based in Port Macquarie helping businesses thrive with brand confidence.