I marvel at the strength of trees; no mater how bent, weathered, or twisted from the wind they become, they're still beautiful. I guess this makes me a dendrophile (someone who loves tress and forests). And what better day to talk about the awesomeness of trees than on National Love A Tree Day?
May 16th of each year is set aside as a day to recognize that trees are a wonderful gift to us. Most species of trees can live to be hundreds of years old and some can exist for several thousands of years. Trees provides with more than just their picturesque beauty and shade on a hot summer's day. Trees play a significant role in reducing soil erosion and help to moderate the climate as well as give us oxygen. Large quantities of carbon are stored in a tree's tissue as it absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Trees are home to many species of animals, too.
To honor our friends the trees, I've assembled a few interesting facts about them that I think you might enjoy. How many of them do you know?
1. General Sherman, a giant Sequoia, is the largest tree by volume. It stands 275 feet tall (83.8 m) with 52,000 cubic feet of wood (1486.6 m).
2. Leaves appear green because chlorophyll absorbs red and blue light energy, causing the green energy to bounce off the leaf's surface.
3. In one day, a large tree can lift up to 100 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air.
4. Methuselah, an estimated 4,765 year-old ancient Bristlecove Pine is one of the oldest living trees in the world.
5. Tree-shaded surfaces can be 20 to 45 degrees F (11-25 C) cooler than surfaces in the direct sun, helping homeowners reduce summer cooling costs.
6. Dendrochronology is the dating and studying of annual rings in a tree.
7. Trees reduce stormwater runoff by capturing and storing rainfall in the canopy and releasing water back into the atmosphere through evapotranspiration.
8. A single tree can produce approximately 260 pounds (117.934 Kilograms) of oxygen per year. That means that just two mature trees can supply enough oxygen annually to support a family of four.
9. The average live expectancy of a tree in a city or urban area is only about eight years.
10. The tallest tree in the US is a Coast Redwood growing in the northern California's National Redwood Park. It is 369 feet tall (112.471 m) and is over 2000 years old.
11. Da Vinci's Rule of the Trees ("all branches of a tree...put together are equal in thickness to its trunk") appears to be true.
12. Scientists have found that older bigger shade trees share their nutrients with smaller trees, which later repay them back when they have developed.
13. The Venice Islands in Italy were built on a foundation of tree trunks and 1200 years later the those same tree trunks still support almost all of central Venice.
14. An average tree is made up of 99% dead cells, only around 1% are alive at any time, consisting of leaves, root tips, and phloem (a thin layer of under bark that acts as a food delivery system).
15. Werifesteria is an Old English word meaning to "wander longingly through the forest in search of mystery."
So how do you celebrate trees today? The best way is plant a tree. Another way is to take a walk through a beautiful forest or park and admire the elegance and strength of its trees. And be sure to use #LoveATreeDay on all your social media.
Now, I think I'll do a little werifesteria-ing of my own...how about you?