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Force distribution

tree with conopy lifted too much

treeTrees optimize their shape and produce wood in certain locations in an attempt to distribute forces evenly throughout the tree. For example, the base of the trunk grows quite large because there is a great amount of force there.

The resulting taper distributes forces instead of concentrating it. Trees have to do this in order to remain intact and upright. Roots grow more on the top surface than on the bottom surface because this helps distribute force evenly from the trunk to the main roots.

Problems can begin when we perform and apply treatments to trees that concentrate force. For example, lifting the canopy too much (right photo) or stripping out the interior of the canopy (left photo) shifts forces to the edge of the canopy. This can immediately reduce the trees ability to dampen movement in wind and can result in branch breakage.

Removing too many branches also kills living cells which can result in decay and cracks inside. Treatments on trees should at least cause no harm; concentrating force can cause harm.