Little beforestors – Tree trunks
How many of you spent the last few months missing holidays?
Why do think you miss holidays when you are at home, when school is off and you have your Mummas and Papas around all the time too.
I know why – because holidays are more fun when you get to go out! Go to the zoo, to a mountain, to a camp, for a hike or to a resort – just anywhere outdoor!
Well, till you can head out again, why don’t we do something fun at home! Our activity last week was to make a journal or drawing of what you know about the forest. Did you get around to it? Tell me about it – did you write about seeing birds, fishes, trees, grass or many stars at night? Or have you written down a fairy tale that has a gigantic tree, little nests and secret pathways of the forest?
I really want to know your stories and ideas, so write to me soon! Anyway, Let’s get our club going!
Last week, we learnt about roots. This week, let’s move up the tree and take a look at the trunk of a tree. If you could look inside, here’s what you would see:
Just like your skin, a tree trunk has many layers. The layers are called Pith, Heartwood, Sap wood, Inner bark and Outer bark.
Are you wondering who drew these beautiful rings inside the tree trunk? – Nature did!! And these rings tell the story of the life of the tree, just like a book. The rings can tell you where the tree was born, how old it is, how well it grew and lots of other things!
Do you want to know how?
Take a closer look at the picture. Do you see the rings are not all the same size? They are dark and light and thin and wide. Why aren’t they all the same size? Why are there rings at all, why isn’t it all plain??
When a plant grows to a tree, its trunk also grows in age. As it grows up, the bark becomes harder and tree becomes stronger. Every year, when the tree grows, the trunk keeps on adding layers, as if it were wearing one shirt on top of another. This layer that forms during growth is light in colour. Then, the season changes and the tree stops growing for a few months. A darker layer forms around the tree now. When the season changes again, a light layered bark again grows around the tree. This way, each year a ring is formed. So each rings equals one year of the tree’s age!
Here’s what it looks like:
Tree growth rings can tell us more. When you look at a tree trunk, you would see rings of different shapes and some different colors.
In fact as a little beforestor, if you were called to investigate a tree, here are some things, you can tell right away!
If you see light coloured rings that are as wide as each other – it means the tree got a lot of sunshine, water and nutrition to grow for those years.
If you see light coloured rings that are narrow or thin – this would mean, the tree had a tough time. It didn’t get all that it needed – maybe, it got less sunshine, or there was a drought, less rains, or maybe insects ate too many of the leaves and there wasn’t enough food made for the tree!
If you see light coloured rings that seem wide or thick on side but narrow on the other – this could mean that in that year, something was pushing the tree to one side. The tree must have been slightly to that side. This could be because other tree were covering the sunshine, or something was pushing the tree as it grew bigger.
If you see a dark mark – This is very interesting – as soon as you see it, you know the tree got wounded by a fire. The tree must have seen a fire, got burnt a little, but then it got better and grew new layers over the scar. After that it stayed strong and continued to grow.
There are so many things you can tell about the tree with just a glance! Wasn’t that amazing!!
Even Scientists use tree rings to understand past of a place. Don’t worry, they don’t have to cut the tree for this. Without hurting the tree much, they can pull out a sample as thin as a straw.
Now, that we have spent so much time learning about tree trunks, do you want to have a little fun? look at these pictures – see if you can recognise the tree by looking at its trunk. These are all common trees of India
How many did you get right!
Here are the answers…
Wasn’t that fun!
Well, that’s it for this time..I will be waiting to hear from you, do write in..