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Mary L. Duryea and also Marlene M. Malavasi college of forest Resources and also Conservation, cooperative Extension Service, institute of Food and agricultural Sciences, college of Florida

What is tree growth?

Trees have six organs: leaves, stems and also roots (vegetative structures) and flowers, fruits, and also seeds (reproductive structures). Tree growth is the increase in size and also numbers of the vegetative structures. Trees usage the sun, carbon dioxide, water, and also minerals to create sugars. Sugars space the building blocks of tree growth. As a result, tree development is as much a an answer to the atmosphere as the is to the trees genetic make-up.

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Where does development occur?

Growth occurs in meristems. A meristem is a tissue containing cells that have actually the volume to division to make new cells. In general, throughout growth cells divide, cell elongate, and also cells differentiate into frameworks such as roots and shoots. Meristems can likewise produce new meristems dubbed primordia. Because that example, one apical meristem in a bud produces new meristems called leaf primordial. Each sheet primordium will prosper into a new leaf.

Above soil Growth

Shoot Growth.

Shoots elongate or grow in height at the tips of the branches. Apical meristems are situated in the terminal sprout at the tips of the branches. Cells at the apical meristem divide, elongate and also differentiate in distinctly visible steps: (1) The bud at the guideline of the branch opens, (2) pipeline emerge and enlarge, and also (3) The area between the leaves increases (i.e., the stem grows). Lateral (side) buds prosper in the same way but often these space dormant and do not flourish until they are released after ~ such tasks as pruning.

Leaf growth

On the surface of the apical meristem in the bud, a new meristem is formed. This brand-new meristem is called a sheet primordium where cells divide and also grow into a leaf. Shortly after pipeline develop, a brand-new bud primordium (meristem) is formed at the base of each leaf stem. As soon as formed, this assistant bud has actually the capacity to come to be a branch, but may lied dormant for plenty of years.

Diameter growth

Between the wood and bark is a thin layer of dividing meristematic cells called the vascular cambium. The cambium divides producing new wood towards the inside and bark top top the outside. These new cells increase the diameter the the trunk and also branches. The brand-new wood cells, dubbed xylem, bring water and minerals increase from the roots to the leaves. The old lumber in the middle is the heartwood. Heartwood, if dead, supports the weight of the tree. The inner bark cells, referred to as phloem, carry sugars and also other materials to the growth and storage places of the tree.


Image 1. Illustration the a tree’s diameter growth.

New class of wood are added each year in between the bark and also the previous year wood. This are referred to as growth or yearly rings and may be supplied to age a tree. Annual rings differ in size and also thickness follow to the season the they room formed. Cells the are created in the spring are larger with diluent cell walls. These are the light-colored rings, and also the lumber is dubbed “early” or “spring” wood. Cells created in the summer are smaller, and this “late” or “summer” wood has a higher density and also darker color.

All woody trees have actually an external bark that constantly renews itself and also protects the tree from pest attacks and environmental effects such as fire and mechanical injury. Some trees have thick bark the is resistant come injury. Rather are easily injured since they have actually thin bark. As the tree grows in thickness, the outer component has come give, forming ridges and cracks in the bark. Ultimately the external bark sloughs off.

Growth listed below ground

Roots can grow in length diameter, and also number. At the pointer of a source is the root cap. This lid protects the root and also must it is in constantly changed as a root pushes with the soil. Behind the root lid is a meristem i beg your pardon produces brand-new cells for the root cap and for root elongation. These brand-new cells elongate, divide and differentiate into root components as that pushes v the soil.

Root diameter expansion is similar to expansion in the stem with the vascular cambium developing wood (xylem) and bark (phloem). A pair differences in between root and shoot diameter growth are: (1) cambial expansion is much much more irregular in roots leading to roots that space oval or irregular in cross section, and also (2) over there is better variation in diameter v age and also with horizontal roots contrasted to vertical roots.

Roots can likewise grow brand-new lateral roots that kind and branch off the main root. Some cells situated in a layer within the root create a brand-new root primordium. This brand-new meristem divides and elongates pushing the root out through the parental root.

Physiological Process

During the procedure of transpiration, water evaporates from the foliage with openings in leaves referred to as stomata pulling adjoining water molecules through it. This pulling activity helps draw water and nutrients increase the trunk and into the leaves. In addition, some trees might be capable of exerting a pumping action to press water increase the tree.

Photosynthesis, carried out in foliage, twigs and also other eco-friendly plant parts, produces sugars (and other components) the are provided by the tree to carry out its countless functions. Sugars, growth regulators, and also proteins space moved about the plant in the phloem. When sugar come at a location, that is supplied as power for normal processes or it is stored as starch for later use. Trees need stored strength to bring out typical functions, particularly to break dormancy in temperate trees.


Tree types have a wide selection of lifespan. Because that example, while peach trees may live only 30 years, oaks might live 200 years, cypress 1,600 years, and also bristle cone pine up to 5,000 years in one undisturbed website in the forest. The average tree in metropolitan settings, however, has only one tenth the lifespan of a tree at a landscape site.

When a tree ages: (1) development slows down; (2) trees are much more susceptible to diseases and insects; (3) The tops of the tree are much more likely to dice back; (4) Wounds compartmentalize more slowly; (5) There room fewer number of leaves relative to the size of the tree; and also (6) over there is an increased variety of dead branches. All of these features can likewise be seen in city trees together they start to dice and/or display signs of negative health.


Bell, A.D. 1991. Tree Form: An shown Guide to Flowering plant Morphology. Oxford Univ. Press. Brand-new York. 341 pp.

Fahn, A. 1991. Tree Anatomy. Fourth edition. Pergamon Press. Oxford. 588 pp.

Harris, R.W. 1992. Integrated Management of landscape Trees, Shrubs, and also Vines. 2nd edition. Prentice-Hall. Brand-new Jersey. 674 pp.

Kozlowski, T.T., P.J. Kramer and S.G. Pallardy. 1991. The Physiological Ecology of Woody Plants. Academic Press. Brand-new York. 657 pp.

Laetsch, W.M. 1979. Tree – straightforward Concepts in Botany. Little, Brown and Company. Boston. 510 pp.

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Mosbrugger, V. 1990. The Tree Habit in soil Plants. In: S. Bhattacharji, G.M. Friedman, H.J. Neugebauer, and A. Seilacher (eds.). Lecture notes in planet Sciences , Vol. 28. Springer-Verlag. Berlin. 161 pp.