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Posted by the deTerra diarist

Howdy kitchen comrades!

I have another tree-mendous fact for all you fans of solid wood today! Crown shyness may sound like it should belong in Buckingham Palace but it is actually a term used to describe the way neighbouring trees avoid touching each other. Now, they aren’t all bending their branches away from each other to avoid catching tree cooties – the avoidance of physical contact is actually for positive reasons!

Crown Shyness in Neighbouring Trees

In studies dating back to the 1920s, this phenomenon is also called canopy disengagement, canopy shyness or intercrown spacing – and I don’t know about you, my loyal kitchen crew, but I think crown shyness sounds the best. Amazingly, despite decades of deliberation, no one theory into the reasons behind this mass neighbourly wooden ward-off. Scientists who are researching this brilliant behaviour do think they know one thing – that it has evolved to ensure neighbouring trees help each other out, like one big happy family.

Just like people, every tree is different. Some spectacular species will do this for every tree in the vicinity, others will only do it for their own kind. The brainboxes behind the studies into these amazing arboreal actions suggest it could be for a number of reasons. Some suggest it is to avoid branches brushing up against each other in the wind and becoming damaged, others think it is the tactical arrangement of light and shade for those trees beneath them and some say it is done to protect peers from pests. Whatever the reasons behind it, I’m sure you will all agree this delightful decorum is brilliantly beautiful!

Ta ta for now,

The deTerra Diarist


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