Wind Doesn't Break a Tree that Bends

November 10, 2021



Photographer: Menashe Davidson 

Summary Author: Menashe Davidson 

Wind is an important factor that should be considered when selecting the right tree for a planting site. When branches are continually bent in one direction by prevailing winds, they become "wind trained" or “flagged” and hold their position permanently. Wind-resistant plants and shrubs have flexible stems that allow them to bend and sway without breaking. Because a tree’s instinct is to grow upward, a small degree of leaning is corrected over time without any harm to its strength. But certain tree species in locations with a constant buffeting from the wind, from a specific direction, will result in trunks that lean to one side. 

The trunk is the sturdy portion of the tree, it’s wooden axis, that connects the leafy crown with the root system, keeping the entire system upright. Although a tree’s heartwood is strong enough to support enormous weight and remain flexible enough to bend without breaking, bending can be affected by the density of the wood, its age and factors including soil creep and even human interference.

The above photos, taken in September 2021, demonstrate the shape of trunk growth of two different species planted in Rishon LeZion Park, Israel. The trees shown at top with the relatively straight vertical growth are Eucalyptus camaldulensis (River red gum), and the bent ones in the bottom photo are Tamaris aphylla (Nile Tamarisk).