30 Nov 8 Fascinating Facts about Trees
Not everyone appreciates trees in the way that we should. For almost 400 million years, trees have taken care of our land, animals and people. They provide shade, shelter and food, and they’re a valuable resource that are often taken for granted.
There are 46% less trees on earth than there were 12,000 years ago and deforestation is largely to blame for climate change and wildlife decline. So, in a bid to honour these magnificent pillars around the world, we bring you 8 fascinating facts about trees.
- 58% of tree species exist in one single country
Australia boasts a staggering 24,000 species of native plants, many of which have historically provided food and medicines. Some of the most common native Australian trees include Acacia, gum trees (eucalyptus), Grevillea and emu bushes. Emu bushes, for example, are only found in Australia.
Across the rest of the planet, over half of all tree species are single-country varieties. The countries with the highest number of local tree species are Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia.
- Trees have only existed for the last 90% of earth’s history
We may rely on them now, but our ancestors haven’t always had the luxury of trees. In fact, the first plants only flourished around 470 million years ago. To put this into perspective, earth has been around for 4.5 billion years!
- The first tree came from New York
Nowadays, we generally associate New York with bustling, cosmopolitan streets. However, the earliest known tree is called Wattieza and it lived in the area we now know as New York. It was a leafless, fern-like plant that stood at 8 metres tall.
Out of interest, the oldest-known tree in Australia is the King’s Holly from Tasmania which has been around for 43,000 years.
- Some trees have an impressive enemy deterrent
Certain trees are able to emit chemicals that attract predators of their enemies. For instance, apple trees that are under-attack by caterpillars release chemicals to bring birds to the area, so the birds can eat those caterpillars.
They can also send airborne signals to neighbouring trees to let them know about an incoming insect attack.
- Tree roots can go as deep as a few hundred feet
In general, tree roots only go as deep as the first 18 inches of soil. Some roots even grow above the ground. However, trees like the oak, pine and hickory can grow roots longer than 20 feet if they’re grown in the right conditions. One wild fig tree in South Africa grew roots that reached 400 feet deep!
- Trees are helping the planet against pollution
We can thank trees for the oxygen they produce, but they also absorb around 22.7 kg of carbon dioxide every year and combat air pollution levels. Over 3 million people die each year from air pollution, but trees are able to help remove that pollution and save lives. It’s estimated that in the US alone, urban trees save 850 lives per year by getting rid of pollution.
- Trees can help if you ever get lost
If you get lost in a forest, you don’t need a compass to find your way. In northern temperate climates, the northern side of the tree will grow moss because it’s shadier.
- Trees save money and energy
In some parts of Australia, placing a broad-leafed tree in front of a home can increase the property price by as much as $16,889. They can also impact the money spent on cooling and heating by 20-50%.
This is because trees provide shade, as well as producing around 100 gallons of water into the air every day.
Trees are precious and indispensable, but they’re often endangered or abused for short-term gains. Look after the trees on your property and in your area by hiring a tree arborist to ensure they’re well-maintained and living well. You could save money and save the planet at the same time!
Contact Daryl’s Tree Care for knowledgeable and skilled tree arborists in the Melbourne area.