The aesthetics of trees

Throughout the seasons, trees are like works of art in the landscape. Reason enough to value trees, not to mention they provide wood; clean and stabilise soil; produce oxygen and hold carbon dioxide; slow the flow of water; give shade and act as windbreaks; muffle noise; accommodate and feed animals, birds, client plants and fungi; and are living remnants of history.

Autumn is when trees can flare with burnished colours* before contracting into skeletal form and re-emerging in the spring. To mark the beginning of autumn here are a few images of the tree population in the North York Moors: the old and the young, the individual and the crowd, along with a few images of comparative art just to press home the point about the aesthetics.

*Most broadleaved trees need to shed their leaves to conserve their internal energy for winter when they shut down, as if hibernating. The increasing darkness in autumn triggers trees to stop producing green chlorophyll for photosynthesis, which won’t work in the winter, and that means other pigments like the yellow and orange carotene and xanthophyll come to the fore. Depending on how sunny a summer has been, trees might also produce red anthocyanins. Eventually the leaves are completely shut off from the trees’ energy supplies and so they die and fall.

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1 thought on “The aesthetics of trees

  1. Pingback: Last year’s top 5 posts | The official blog for the North York Moors National Park

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