I couldn’t tell you if I read it in an article or heard it from somewhere, but years ago, I heard about (or read about) a facility that was trying to create an artificial environment or ecosystem. Something that if humanity wanted to expand to other planets and begin space exploration, we’ve be able to build an environment where we could survive. They planted trees, created a stable cycle of carbon dioxide and oxygen exchange, had running water, and the basic necessities.
Yet, the environment failed.
The reason it failed is because it had no wind. The trees grew, but eventually they grew so big, they couldn’t bear their own weight. There was no wind to tone their bark and teach them to be strong.
Now, because it’s been so long since I read or heard about this. I don’t actually know if this facility was real or not. Probably, but I can’t tell you what the facility was, who ran it, or where it was located. All I can tell you is that trees need wind.
I have my own evidence to back it up.
I’m growing pecan trees. I’ve got five total that I’ve been growing since 2019. Two have been planted in the ground and have faced the elements for about a year now. The others have been hanging out in the garage under a plant light.
Each tree has a stick beside it to help it grow straight and help the outside trees face the storms that roll into town. They’ve had the sticks for a least a year, and just the other day, I took the sticks off. The ones outside, enduring the weather, remained straight while the ones in the garage sagged under the weight of their leaves.
Though the inside trees remained safe from the elements and squirrels, as soon as I removed the sticks, they slumped over. This spring, I noticed the inside trees grew leaves faster than the outside trees. Makes me think the outside trees spent more energy improving their trunks against the wind while the inside trees–facing no wind–put their energy in growing their leaves, and when their support was taking away, they couldn’t handle their leaves anymore.
This isn’t a true scientific experiment. These are just some observations I’ve had while growing these pecan trees. If I really wanted to test the fact that trees need wind, I would’ve made my old science teachers proud by going through the whole scientific process, but I don’t have time for that. I’m just letting the trees grow where I have room for them.
I honestly think it’s awesome that trees need wind to be strong. Nature is so interconnected and fascinating, I often wonder if humanity will ever understand every part of it. The wind itself has so many roles in nature and yet, we don’t often think about it unless we’re hearing it howl with an oncoming storm.
What I love most about this whole “trees need wind” fun fact is the deeper lesson. Trees need to be tested in order become stronger. They need to stand in the wind if they’re going bear their own weight and produce delicious nuts, fruits, flowers, or other. They need to be strengthened if they’re going to serve their purpose.
Same could be said for us. We need to stand in the wind if we’re going to become stronger. Face the trials that could bend and beat us so we can become strong enough to carry the fruit we produce, the roles we play.
If trees can do it, we can too.