Special to the Village News
Bark, the outer layer of a tree's protective shield, wards off extreme heat, cold and sunlight and is similar in many ways to our own skin. It is essential for a tree's survival, health and growth. Bark, found in the cambium layer of a tree, plays many roles in the life of a tree.
There are two key systems, the phloem section which carries the sugars and starches from the leaves through the photosystems process and is part of the tree's live plumbing system. The xylem portion takes out nutrients and water from the soil through its roots and aids in keeping the tree alive. The bark also protects the tree against disease, bugs and fungal invasions. Bark is porous and allows the tree to "breathe."
Different trees, different bark:
· Textured barks are found in pine trees and cork oaks.
· Melaleuca tree bark can be spongy and soft.
· Smooth bark is characteristic of some Eucalyptus trees – E. citriodora.
· Thorny bark is found on the Silk Floss trees.
· The Manzanita species has dark and smooth bark.
· Crape myrtle trees are dappled and textured.
· Arbutus, the "strawberry tree," is a smooth mahogany.
Bark has many uses:
· Chemicals can be extracted and used in the tanning and dyeing of leather.
· Medicinal uses include cancer research, also resins, latex, and poison.
· The bark of the cork oak is used to produce a variety of items, like corks for the wine industry, canoes from yesteryear, flooring, and varied mulch products.
· Bark provides homes for lichen, moss, fungi, mushrooms, insects and other living organisms.
· Animals eat bark as part of their diet.
· Cinnamon sticks are a form of bark.
Trees are like people, no two are alike. When you study a stand of similar tress you will see and appreciate their uniqueness. With all the benefits trees provide us, it is our obligation to care and protect them. As you can see, the rewards are many.
As I write these words about trees, I have been in contact with a fellow arborist in Lahaina, Maui who tells me that the iconic and historic Banyan tree is going to survive the devastating firestorm of a few weeks ago. Stay tuned for more on the Banyan tree.
"Plant trees, and help cool the planet"
Roger Boddaert – The Tree man of Fallbrook – Consulting Arborist can be reached at 760-728-4297.