field horticulture
- By Fred Field

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The composition of bark is quite a complex function as to why it has evolved over millions of years so here it is in a nutshell just another little wonder; trees have thought up to protect their offspring.

The inner bark is a combination of tissues, cork cambium that produces new bark as the tree grows in diameter [ some trees like conifers have thicker bark because it doesn’t shed the outer layer like deciduous trees which flakes off at regular intervals] Heading inwards we have the phloem which is the tissue that carries organic molecules dissolved in water to all parts of the plant; then we have the vascular cambium; the tissue producing new phelom to the outside and xylem to the inside so when somebody comes along and ring barks the tree the end results in the roots die of starvation which then leads to the tree itself dying not immediately; as the tree can try to sustain itself with what it has in reserve cupboard but in the end the mycelium is licking its chops at this sudden demise of same; Now back to the function of the outer bark; its main function is to protect the activity of the cambium area and to insulate against frost damage  and some cases fire; some trees have bad tasting chemicals in the bark to discourage hungry insects. May I also warn people not to paint over bark with thick substances; bark is a living  part of a plant and needs to breath just like us and all others plants and creatures.



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