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?

  • $\begingroup$ I guess it is similar to what happens with onions, garlic, potatoes etc, that will sprout even outside of the ground. $\endgroup$
    – nico
    Apr 15 '12 at 12:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ 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
    Apr 15 '12 at 22:52
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    $\begingroup$ From my experience this does NOT happen to people. $\endgroup$ Apr 16 '12 at 5:09
  • $\begingroup$ I encountered this in the context of a type of evergreen referred to in the vernacular as 'subabul'. $\endgroup$
    – Everyone
    Jun 17 '12 at 19:59

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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