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How a Tree Grows


Now for a little demonstration on how a branch grows.  Notice that the buds grow out - the whole twig doesn't extend.  This is the reason why a nail pounded into a tree trunk never changes height.  New growth is added to the tips.  The only other way a tree grows is in diameter.  You can't see it here, but as the twig elongates it is also getting bigger around.   Diameter growth continues for as long as the leaves are on the tree.  When the weather becomes unfavorable for growth (dry or cold) elongation slows down and a new bud starts to form.  The new bud will grow out when the weather is good.  For many species, this may not be until the next year.  For these species, height growth occurs only in the spring and early summer.

The other thing to look for in this time lapse is the dormant bud.  Not all buds grow out, especially in oaks.  In the time lapse, you can see how one bud does not grow.  This does not mean that the bud is dead, it is just dormant.  As the tree grows, this bud remains but gets buried in the bark.  When a branch gets cut off an oak tree or the tree gets cut down, the oak sprouts right back.  These sprouts come from dormant buds!

Watch below as the buds break.

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