Once a tree is established it is effectively a living entity growing on a wooden former.
I now wonder if the growing part of a tree can be completely stripped from the wood upon which it grows and made to adhere to, and flourish, on another former: e.g. a concrete or steel frame.
Application – Transferring Trees To Other Formers
Why would anyone want to transfer a tree to alternative formers other than the original wooden trunks they grew on? Maybe to create timber of a particular shape. It would have to be supple enough to be fitted to the new shape, but if it continued to grow it would presumably deposit wood onto that new former as the years progressed and its living fibres died to form new timber underneath. After several years that new timber could be harvested with its desired shape.
I have asked myself for some time, “Are trees parasites that grow on wood? i.e. ectoparasites.” (An ectoparasite lives on the outside of its host.) Mainly this is because only the outer layers of a tree are alive. The inner part of the tree – the wood or timber – is dead. It was alive in previous years but in later years it is only the support for new growth. Consider all the old hollowed out trees: e.g. those hollowed out by wood rot. The outer layers continue to grow year on year. It is only when the outer layers are severed so that sap cannot get up the tree from the outer layers of the roots to the outer layers of the twigs with the leaves attached that the tree dies.
Are Trees Parasites That Grow On Wood?
I Found A Good Example
Linden Tree Viewed From Behind.
Linden Tree Viewed From The Front.
I have recently seen one of the best examples of tree growth behaving like an ectoparasite on the surface of wood in my local park (Alvaston Park, Derby, UK). You can see it here in these two pictures of a linden tree showing the front and back of the tree.
This one tree has two strips of living bark running up it. The front view shows quite a narrow strip running up it, and the view from behind shows a wider strip. The tree has been truncated at the top by the park keeper at some time.
The Oxford Dictionary describes a parasite as: An organism which lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other’s expense. So on the strength of that description a tree is not a parasite since it isn’t taking nutrients from a living host at its expense (unlike mistletoe). The wood is dead.
I Found Another Example
In the picture above (taken 2017-11-06) you can see another example where the outer layers of an oak tree are being supported by the wood of the inner tree which is still standing. A large part of the original tree trunk has broken away in the past. The living part of the oak looks like a parasite on a dead tree.