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Shrinking with age

Someone asked me the other day why do very old trees always look squat and careworn.

Good question - and it tells us a lot about the life-cycle of a tree.

A species which is dependent on distribution to reproduce, such as those who produce nuts and acorns, need to have a long reach to try to drop them over as far a distance as they can.

Trees which are tall or have a wide reach are more successful than those who don't.

However, when a tree gets very old survival becomes more of a priority than reproduction, particularly against strong winds. So very old trees shrink back to their core and produce fewer, if any, new branches; it makes them more sturdy.

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