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Clint Eastwood believed they were not listening when he ‘talked to the trees’ (Paint Your Wagon) but he may have been wrong.

French scientists have discovered trees do talk – well, at least they make noises when they are running out of water.

The scientists at Grenoble University, France, used slivers of dead pine trees soaked in a gel to simulate a living tree, then created an artificially dry environment and listened to the noises which are ultrasonic pops, 100 times faster than what a human ear can hear.

When a tree is trying to suck moisture out of dry ground, tiny air bubbles are formed and the majority of sounds recorded during the research came from these bubbles.

Imagine what else we could discover about tree noises as our scientists, aided by advances in technology, work to uncover more secrets.

This is just a hint that is the magic of trees.



How about trees that walk?

In a remote part of Ecuador, the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, there are palm trees that walk.

As the soil erodes, the trees put out new roots seeking more solid ground and better sunlight. The trees bend towards these roots and the old roots eventually lift into the air. It can take a couple of years, but the trees can move up to 20 metres.

So easily taken for granted, trees are the ‘lungs of the planet’ and we would be doomed without them.

They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen – that’s pretty magical.

They absorb odours and gasses such and ammonia and sulphur dioxide. The leaves and bark trap particulates in the air – filtering it.



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These beautiful life-givers ask nothing in return for giving us air, shade, shelter, and food.

They provide a home for millions of creatures.

Trees help prevent soil erosion, act as windbreaks and help with noise pollution.

They reduce temperatures by shading buildings and streets and this, in turn, conserves energy.

They reduce the amount of debris that goes into stormwater drains. Mulch filters the water by acting like a sponge and trapping pollutants before they get into the ocean.

More than that, they can actually help people heal. Research has shown that a view of trees can help sick people heal faster and aid concentration by reducing mental fatigue.

The Needy Trees – The Nature of Happiness report, commissioned by Planet Ark, found that spending time in nature influences our subjective well-being.

The report showed that spending time in nature had direct effects on our brains and hormone secretion.

People who spent time in nature had improved social skills, being 17 per cent more likely to have five or more close friends, according to the report.




However, Australians are spending less time outdoors than ever before.


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One in four Australian children have never climbed a tree.


The report stated that just over 1 in 4 children (27%) have never climbed a tree, 28% have never planted or cared for a vegetable garden, and nearly 1 in 3 (31%) have never planted or cared for trees or shrubs.

To quote the report, “we can’t see the forest for the screens”.


This makes my post 7 Reasons You Need to be Gardening With Kids all the more relevant.


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These statistics are particularly sad seeing as we are losing precious forests.

The fires that raged in Tasmania earlier this year killed trees that had lived for more than a millennium.

Eucalypt forests regenerate after fires, but the plants killed in this remote, World Heritage wilderness, will not.

Scientists say the fires are linked to climate change, according to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald.

If you read my post, Deadly Decision – the day of the surgeon, you’ll know how much I mourn their loss.



My heart is glad, my heart is high

With sudden ecstasy:

I have given back, before I die

Some thanks for every lovely tree

That dead men grew for me

V.H Friedlaender


On a happier note, trees may not be actually talking (or maybe they are and we just can’t hear) but they are emailing people.

OK, well the trees are not actually writing, but council workers for the City of Melbourne have been replying to thousands of love letters written by Melbournians to some of the 70,000 trees that line the streets and parks of the city.

Melbourne initiated an urban forest strategy in 2007 that includes an urban forest map showing the trees and giving each their own identification number.

This was in response to a 10-year drought that was killing many of the trees and the idea was that people could send an email with the trees identification number to address issues regarding the tree’s health.

No one predicted the response of thousands of love letters to the trees expressing gratitude for their beauty and shade.




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Friday (July 29) is Schools Tree Day when around 3000 preschools, kindies, primary and high school will take part in a massive planting program.

On Sunday Australians celebrate National Tree Day when thousands of people will help plant over one million native trees, shrubs, grasses and edible plants.

These events, organised by Planet Ark, combine to make Australia’s largest tree-planting and nature care event.

Planet Ark’s National Tree Day campaign is in its 20th year and so far more than 3.8 million people have planted more than 22.3 trees and plants.

Happy planting and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.


  • Loved this post. I am a tree lover and I totally get their vibe. I walk thru the woods all the time and I touch as many trees as I safely can. We had a similar project when I was in school. It was called ‘Earth Day’ and we all got trees to plant and plant we did! My brother planted one of his trees in the backyard of our childhood home and it is huge now! I too think it’s sad that more kids aren’t out n’ about enjoying nature. All of my kids were and still are outside kids and my grandbabies are also outside kids.

    • Always glad to connect with a fellow tree lover. I also love to touch them as I walk by. We have a few in our garden we planted about 20 years ago and they are so big and beautiful now and I love watching the birds and creatures play in them. You’ve given your kids and grandkids a great gift by encouraging them to be outside kids.

  • When we moved into our new home, I planted several trees. Now 20 years later, I have trees taller than 2 stories of a house.

  • Time spent outdoors is magical. I love looking at trees. Watching leaves turn colors in the fall is magical.

  • Trees are beautiful aren’t they? I don’t go for walks to notice them but I do appreciate their splendor no matter where I am. And isn’t there something remarkably refreshing in the spring when their leaves first start to bud!

  • Never would have thought it like that.. but as I was reading.. it’s like talking to nature and somehow trying to be at peace with yourself. Great read and thank you.

  • Really enjoyed your post Tumuria, I post a recent blog about how scientists have discovered that trees do communicate and support each other underground. Love that trees move ~ how amazing. I agree about children being in nature. Aa a ‘Nina’ I took my grandchildren into the natural world to experience climbing trees and to enjoy the birds and other creatures. Taking to trees is very calming I have a magnificent Fig Tree that I speak to down by the bay where I live I call her my Soul Tree.

    • Thank you, Pauline. I just checked out your post, Supporting One Another – more proof of the magic of trees. It’s so beautiful to think about how they help each other. We can learn so much from nature. I love the idea of a Soul Tree.

  • I’ve found a soul mate who might just love trees as much as I do! I love this post about our dearest friends that we pay so little attention to! (It’s so funny, but I was thinking of writing a post about trees – I am so glad you did!)

    • Ah, Reba, I really do love trees – our silent protectors. When I’m feeling down the first place I want to be is in the company of trees. They give so much.

  • You have a way of waking us up. The topics you write about are of such value. I have been talking to my new Orchid. I feel a bit strange, but when my friend gifted me, she said I had to talk to it, make it feel welcome. I don’t do it around hubby but I feeling more connected to it because I am talking & stroking it. Hmm.

    • That’s so lovely that you’re feeling more connected because you’re communicating with your orchid, Roz. I have certain plants and trees that really do this for me too, though any time I’m in tune with nature I feel great. I have a very sad little happy plant my son gave me years ago. Not sure what went wrong, but it’s looking really unhappy. I’m talking to it and stroking it and nurturing it to bring it back to health. Fingers crossed.

  • A very timely post, Tamuria. A lot of our climatic changes have been caused due to tree removal in the name of urbanization and I can vouch for this from observing the change in the weather and the reported landslides during the rainy season in the hill stations of North India.

    A lot of the migratory birds who used to come to New Delhi disappeared and have recently returned in the last 2-3 years (the joys of walking Miss Coco that double up as a nature walk) after the government took up a Tree Campaign on a war footing.

    We need to protect trees if we have any sense of self-preservation.

    • We surely do need to protect them, Vatsala. So many people ignore all the warning signs the earth is giving us and put climate change in the too hard basket, so it’s inspiring that your government is taking it seriously.

  • Hi Tami,
    Very fun post and such an awesome read as I never really thought of talking to trees 🙂 Talking to plants, yes, but never really thought about trees……So many great ways we can help our trees and the environment….thank you for sharing such a thought-provoking post!

  • Love that they are planting more trees. Where i live, we have few trees because they glaciers flattened everything, but we have planted many and will continue to. I love trees. Thanks for making me stop and think about them. Great poem of the lear.

  • I love trees, too!! Even when I lived in New York City, I was in Gramercy Park, where I had access to a beautiful grove of trees. Now that I live in North Carolina, I am surrounded by their beauty every day. Very interesting piece about what they do for us beyond being majestic and lovely to look at!

    • I’m surrounded by beautiful trees too, Kimberly and I can’t imagine not having them around, they’re like strong and supportive friends. Yes, they do so much beyond being beautiful.

  • So many interesting facts I didn’t know! I, too, am a lover of trees. I love the Planet Ark events you speak of. We need more events like this all over the world. How can our young people love what they have little or no direct experience of, and how can they not love something they have planted, tended and cared for?

  • I have heard of hugging trees (although I don’t know why), but not talking to them 🙂

    I realized reading your post that I take them a bit for granted. As an avid hiker, I do admire them for their shade and beauty

    • It’s so easy to take them for granted, Rachel, though it seems you appreciate them when you’re hiking. The term tree hugger usually refers to an environmentalist, particularly one who is interested in preserving forests, though there is scientific evidence to suggest that actually hugging trees is good for your health.

  • You brought back wonderful memories from childhood. I remember one of my teachers taking us to a nearby park and pointing out all the different trees and their leaves. It’s a memory that has stayed with me all of my life. Living in the American Southwest now, we don’t have the majestic trees from other parts of the country. Those that are here are hardly and thin with wide branches. In a storm, it’s fascinating to watch the branches roll and pitch with the wind. We also have a lot of transplanted Palm trees. They are more stately as they line the boulevards, and that’s as close as we get to anything tall. Thank for sharing so much knowledge about the trees of your own country.

    • What a wonderful memory and a great teacher for giving it to you, Joyce. We can learn so much from trees, even down to how to weather a storm – rolling and pitching with the wind instead of fighting against it.

  • I, too, loved the poem. I love my trees and have been known to hug them. I think I feel most connected to the earth with trees…their age and steadfastness and ability to meet challenges and continue to thrive. And of course, I love the benefits the provide to humans and to the environment. Beautiful piece. Thanks for writing it! P.S. So sorry to hear about the trees in Tasmania. That broke my heart.

  • Yay! I’m glad someone is trying to get some more trees on the planet! I cannot even imagine a life without climbing trees, or swinging from their branches into a cold creek, or even jumping into their leaves in the fall. These are traditions that we must leave for generations to come (the added oxygen is an emotional and environmental bonus). Awesome post, Tam. 🙂

  • That was great discuss on how trees can impact us. I actually think most people love trees, for all kinds of reasons. The “walking” tree was fascinating. Looking forward to sharing that tid bit. Now I need to go water the plants in my house before they start making noise! 🙂

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