Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

After I cut trees into logs and remove the branches in winter, they start growing. They sprout out and grow completely normal looking stems and leaves and maintain them all summer. The sprouts mostly appear around the cut branches. Sometimes they last all winter and grow for another year. How does it find the energy and water necessary to maintain and grow these stems without ground connection and a water source?

share|improve this question
    
I guess it is similar to what happens with onions, garlic, potatoes etc, that will sprout even outside of the ground. –  nico Apr 15 '12 at 12:53
1  
Does this happen to other people? I've cut trees before, and never seen that happen... Exactly what trees are you talking about? From what part of the tree were cut the sprouting logs, top or bottom? Be more specific please! –  CHM Apr 15 '12 at 22:52
3  
From my experience this does NOT happen to people. –  Gabriel Fair Apr 16 '12 at 5:09
    
I encountered this in the context of a type of evergreen referred to in the vernacular as 'subabul'. –  Everyone Jun 17 '12 at 19:59

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

This is basically the same that happens after pruning and involves a basic hormonal regulation mechanism in the plants.

What happens is that the cut piece of the wood forms a new meristem which allows the growth of new organs. What’s important is that there is no other growth happening nearby, since that would hormonally inhibit any further growth. This is why such growths happen once you’ve cut the wood, not before (on the healthy stem). This inhibitory effect is known as apical dominance, which has now been disabled.

As to where the energy and water comes from, to some extent it is stored within the branches themselves. That’s why you need to dry them before being able to use them in a fire. However, this growth is pretty limited. Further water is probably collected by condensation of water vapour in the air.

share|improve this answer

Trees store their energy in their roots, that is why after a forest fire trees still grow back. Think of the potato, the plant is above ground yet the part we eat is the below ground energy storage of the plant.

share|improve this answer
    
I think the question was about wood without ground connection and, I’m guessing, without roots. –  Konrad Rudolph Apr 19 '12 at 20:22

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.