Tree burls are disfigured, bulbous growths that occur naturally on almost every species of tree. This wood is prized for its beauty; abnormal growth causes the development of intricate grain patterns and vivid colors that cannot be found anywhere else. These formations can be found on the trunk, near the base of the tree, on large branches, and especially in the case of redwoods, on the root structure.
Burl Formation Speculations
Burls are formed when the cells that make up new bud growth begin to deviate, dividing in many different directions and forming a large bump instead of a branch or root. The grain spirals, twists, and knots, as opposed to normal growth which results in straight and predictable grain.
The underlying cause of this benign condition is unknown: despite the popularity and high value of this gorgeous wood, nobody has been able to induce or prevent burl development.
Just because there is no general consensus doesn’t mean that tree professionals haven’t pondered the issue extensively. Some speculate that fungus or insects can stress the tree enough to cause bud growth disruption, but others have noticed that burls sometimes form where mechanical injury has occurred. Other popular theories involve tree genetics or environmental pollution.
Will Burl Harm My Tree?
Tree burls are completely natural: there is rarely any reason for a homeowner to be concerned about such a growth. Attempting to remove a burl growth will most likely kill even the healthiest tree. Unless the burl reaches an incredible size or starts to deteriorate, your tree will most likely live a normal life.
Unfortunately, burls can be difficult to identify, so it is always recommended that you get the opinion of a local tree service professional to ensure that the growth is not a danger or the result of disease or pests.
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