Trees For All Seasons

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From early in the morning until late at night, summer sunshine provides the energy trees need to make new wood, twigs, and leaves.

Seeds to Trees
drawing of bean sproutsMany tree seeds germinate in summer. Sunlight and moisture send
the seed signals to begin to sprout. Water softens the seed shell and
expands the food inside. A root grows downward. A stem pushes up toward the sunlight.

How Trees Grow

Trees grow throughout their lives. They get bigger in three places: root tips, cambium, and buds.

  • The roots grow longer as cells in the root tips divide.
  • New shoots, twigs, and leaves form as buds open and grow.
  • The trunk and branches grow thicker as the cambium (the layer of cells beneath the bark) makes new layers of xylem and phloem (the cells that carry water, sugar, and nutrients up and down the tree).

drawing of tree growth

Tree Growth
By forming new cells under the bark and at the tips of the branches and roots, a tree grows in diameter, height, and extent of root system each year.

Just like people, a tree needs water, nutrients, and energy to grow. A tree draws water and nutrients from the ground through its roots. Like other plants, it uses energy from the sun, captured by chlorophyll and other pigments in the leaves, to transform carbon dioxide and water into sugar. This process, called photosynthesis, takes place in the leaves. The sugar then travels through the branches and trunk to nourish the rest
of the tree.

drawing of photosynthesis