March 7

Leaning Trees – Natural Phenomena

Occasionally on my walks, I see a tree that is leaning. The trees surrounding them are usually growing straight. Why do some trees lean? What do you think?

Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.
Neil Armstrong

According to Sarah Moore on her blog, SF Gate, trees may lean to reach toward light if they are shaded by surrounding trees, because of sustained, low winds or sudden, strong gusts of winds, as well as changes in the soil, or disease.

I was interested in studying phototropism (an organism’s response to light) further. Click here for the Safeshare link.

To test out the hypothesis that a plant will lean toward light, try this simple investigation:
Plant bean seeds in a cup and place the cup out of direct sunlight. Will the sprout grow toward the light?

I laid this plant on its side and before the day was over, the top of the plant had turned up.

I discovered this example of phototropism. Although the tree fell, the branches have turned upward as they continued to grow.

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