With the trees in the forest getting balder each day, the question arises as to why they shed their splendid leaves. Less light and lower temperatures in the fall time causes the trees to apply a strategy to survive harsh weather conditions. Shedding the leaves helps the tree to conserve water and energy.
In good conditions, trees can reach a height hardly surpassed by any other living thing. Planting trees closely together prompts them to focus on their growth effort as they search for light. However, there is a limit in growth as trees can only pull water so far up their trunks. The coast redwood Hyperion holds the world record with a height of 115,55 m.
The annual growth rings of the trees reveal climatic events that have occurred in the trees’ environment. The light part and the dark part represent one year of growth: After a winter’s rest, all nutritions are mobilized again and start to grow wood, the so-called “early wood“ or spring wood. Later in the year, the growth slows down and the dark-coloured ring, the so-called summer wood or “ate wood“, is formed in the second growth period. The wider the annual growth rings are, the better the climatic conditions were that year. They also indicate the tree’s age.
Trees are among the oldest living things, depending, of course, on the species and the environment. Cherry trees have an average life span of 50 years but the common oak can have a life span of around 2000 years.
Harvesting timber, aka felling trees best takes place during winter months. Experience has shown that timber cut in the cooler months is less likely to develop sapstain and other fungal infections. The logs can be stored for a couple of weeks without loosing their value.
Some woods can be bent and warped along their length without breaking. Elasticity measures a wood’s stiffness and is therefore an indicator of its strength. Pine, fir and ash are among the more elastic kinds of wood.
No trees can grow in a climate with temperatures consistently below 0 (32F) or above 55 C (131F). In these extreme temperatures it is impossible for a tree to regulate its water balance.
Worldwide there are ca. 650 different species of conifers and 1400 species of deciduous trees. Around 100 different types of trees and shrubs grow in German forest, not including exotic plants from parks and botanical gardens.
The hardness of a wood is an important indicator of how a wood withstands dents and wear. The higher the number, the harder the wood (the method applied here is called Janka Rating System). Softwood comes mainly from gymnosperm trees, usually evergreen conifers such as pine or firtree. Hardwood comes from so-called angiosperm, or flowering plants like walnut and oak. Hardwood, as it is used by klotzaufklotz, is more durable and shows a greater variety of colors, structures and wood grain.
Contrary to is name, the woodworm is actually a beetle with a size of three to eight mm. The common furniture beetle infects both hardwood and softwood (never new wood) and lays its eggs inside the wood. The larvas feeding on the wood create a fine powder and drill little holes and burrows in the wood’s interior, thus damaging the wood. It can take up to eight years before the larvas turn into a beetle.