Crown Shyness: That's why trees keep their distance


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Even in the densest canopy there are gaps between the treetops so that the trees do not touch each other. Intention? Since 1920, researchers have been aware of the phenomenon that occurs all over the world - which is behind the Crown Shyness, but not. The most plausible theories of why trees keep distance from each other.

shading theory

Some researchers see the explanation for Crown Shyness in the fact that the trees leave gaps between their crowns to avoid complete shading. Plants need light to thrive and photosynthesize. This would not be possible if the crowns form a closed roof and thus keep the sun away.

pest theory

Another theory why tree tops are spaced is that they want to prevent pests from spreading quickly from tree to tree. Crown Shyness as a clever defense against insects.

wind theory

Treetops in autumn

Even in autumn and with colorful foliage keep treetops distance - and thus offer a great sight!

Most likely is the theory that trees with these distances prevent colliding with the branches in strong wind. In this way, they avoid injuries such as broken branches or open grazes, which could otherwise favor pest infestation or diseases. This theory seems even very plausible, as Leonardo da Vinci already discovered over 500 years ago that the total thickness of the branches approaches the thickness of the trunk at a certain height and thus withstands the winds - or in other words: a tree is so constructed, that he defies the wind with a minimum of material. It has therefore proven evolutionary, when treetops do not touch.
Note: The anatomy of the tree returns different votes to the internal water supply and an optimal natural transport network.

First research results

Assured results already exist for the behavior of linden, ash, red and hornbeams. Researchers found that beech and ash trees are a relatively large distance of at least one meter. For Buchen and Linden, on the other hand, only a small gap is visible, if at all.
Whatever is behind the Crown Shyness, trees are more complex than thought!

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