Check Out these 9 Weird Tree Facts!

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 I have long found plants to be fascinating and trees specifically are no exception. We see them as stationary objects in our gardens and in the wild, but they are more sentient than we may think. They also have some characteristics in common with us and affect our lives. With these nine facts, you can amaze your friends with your new knowledge. How many did you already know?

1. They Cannot Heal Themselves

People have it easy (comparatively, anyways)...when we get hurt, our bodies can heal themselves much of the time. Trees, on the other hand, do not have the same ability to recover from disease and insect attacks. They produce a wall that just surrounds the damage and seals it off.

This process is known as CODIT (Compartmentalization Of Decay In Trees) and was discovered by a scientist named Dr. Alex Shigo. CODIT helps protect the tree from further damage that tends to affect weak areas.

2. Some of Them Have a Gender

 We mostly think of gender in association with animals. However, some trees have them too. It all depends on the structure of their flowers. Many are perfect flowers and contain both male and female parts on the same blossom.

Other trees have flowers with only male or female parts. If they are on the same tree, it is considered to be monoecious. These trees are usually able to fertilize themselves, though sometimes it can be difficult since the two kinds of blossoms may open at different times. A second variety that has a compatible schedule can increase the possibility of proper pollination.

Gender really comes into play if the tree is dioecious, meaning each tree has only male flowers or only female ones. This is especially important to know if you are trying to produce fruit, as you will need at least one of each gender for proper fruit set. Usually one male tree is able to pollinate several female ones.

It is also useful to know if you are trying to avoid fruit. For example, the fruit of Ginkgo biloba is rather smelly and messy. Look for a male tree to steer clear of this problem.

3. Some Can Clone Themselves

 Trees can have quite a variety of methods to reproduce themselves. In addition to seed germination, you can also possibly root cuttings, grow microcultures, graft, bud, air layer and more.

One of the most intriguing methods used by some trees is cloning themselves. They can send out suckers that produce new trees with the identical genetic structure of its parent plant. This can be problematic in some cases since the plants spread and become invasive. In other areas, this propensity can be an asset for populating landscapes quickly and inexpensively.

One famous example of cloning is the Pando forest in Utah. This is a stand with thousands of quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) clones. Some scientists assert that Pando is the largest living organism in the world since they all have the same exact DNA.

4. They Can Make Our Babies Healthier

 It is amazing what effects trees can have on our lives! Scientists have determined that ladies living in areas with more trees and other plants tend to have babies with a larger head circumference (tied to higher IQs) and higher birth weights, making them healthier overall.

Use this as an excuse to plant more trees in your garden and encourage your city to do the same. You could also move somewhere that is naturally lush, like the Pacific Northwest.

5. Some with "Tree" in Their Name...Aren't

You may see a plant that has tree as part of its name and assume that it must be one. However, common names can be problematic. The most famous example of this is banana trees. Part of the definition of whether a plant is a tree or not is the production of wood  The stems are actually made up of tightly wrapped leaves, meaning that bananas do not grow on trees..

Instead, you can tell your friends that the banana tree holds the distinction of being the world's largest herb.

6. They Can Save You Money

 When many people think about planting trees, they only consider the costs associated with them like buying the plant itself, supplying water and adding fertilizer.

Did you know that they can save you money in the long run? Studies have shown that properly sited trees can reduce heating and cooling costs for homeowners. Mature trees also positively affect home values when you decide to sell.

As noted above with the study about babies and other scientific discoveries, trees can help people be healthier, saving money in the long run. You can also grow your own organic fruit and avoid the higher prices at the supermarket. 

7. Some Species Can Talk to Each Other

 We think of trees as being mute, but several studies over the years show that some species are able to "talk" to each other. As noted in this article from the University of Alaska, an experiment involving the leaves of willow trees that had been munched on by caterpillars showed that a separate group of trees used as a control formed a chemical in their leaves that inhibited caterpillar growth, even though they themselves had never been attacked.

Another experiment showed that trees grown in the same area as ones with torn leaves formed chemicals that 

8. They Can Get Stressed Too

Stress is not a phenomenon that is limited to animals. If trees face negative situations like heat and drought, they too can become stressed and face a decline in health. Scientists have discovered that some species of trees (notably walnuts) can produce a substance that is similar to aspirin to help manage their stress and possibly alert other trees in the area.

9. They Can Help Ward Off Neighborhood Crime

One step that all cities should be taking in their efforts to reduce crime is to plant more trees. As OPG reports, studies in cities like Portland show that after the data is examined to rule out other possible variables, areas with a healthy population of trees enjoy lower rates of crime.
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