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Trees Won’t Mature with Too Much Fast, Easy Growth

How do trees grow the strongest? Surprisingly, too much sunlight and too much easy, fast growth does not produce healthy trees. Most young tree saplings spend their early decades under the shade of their mother’s canopy. Limited sunlight means they grow slowly. Slow growth leads to dense, hard wood.

In contrast, something interesting happens if you plant a tree in an open field: Free from the shade of bigger trees, the sapling gorges on sunlight and grows too fast and too easily. Fast, easy growth leads to soft, airy wood that didn’t have time to densify. And soft, airy wood is a breeding ground for fungus, disease, and ultimately a short life.

As the acclaimed nature writer Peter Wohlleben (author of The Hidden Life of Trees) writes, “A tree that grows quickly rots quickly and therefore never has a chance to grow old.”

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