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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?

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  • $\begingroup$ I guess it is similar to what happens with onions, garlic, potatoes etc, that will sprout even outside of the ground. $\endgroup$
    – nico
    Commented Apr 15, 2012 at 12:53
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    $\begingroup$ 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! $\endgroup$
    – CHM
    Commented Apr 15, 2012 at 22:52
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    $\begingroup$ From my experience this does NOT happen to people. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 5:09
  • $\begingroup$ I encountered this in the context of a type of evergreen referred to in the vernacular as 'subabul'. $\endgroup$
    – Everyone
    Commented Jun 17, 2012 at 19:59

2 Answers 2

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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.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very interesting! $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 15:20
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I would guess that the nutrients and water they need to survive are still in the logs. This is Common with willow trees, and mulberry trees. I’ve cut many of these species, and it always happens. they are two very hardy trees. Do you know what kind of tree you cut? It appears it is a willow.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE. While anecdotes are potentially interesting, speculation is not welcome on this site, particularly on subjects for which research is available — consequently your answer is much more likely to receive a favorable response if you edit it to include supporting references (primary literature is best). Without that support, your answer is indistinguishable from opinion and thus is inappropriate for this site. ——— Please take the tour and then consult the help center pages for additional advice on How to Answer effectively on this site and then edit your answer accordingly. $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 0:07
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    $\begingroup$ Also note that, it is generally best to avoid adding additional answers to questions unless you have something new and well-supported to add. As a new user you can find many unanswered questions, which I suggest could be a better use of your time. $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 0:10

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