Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Tree Champions: Shooting

Posted: June 6, 2012 at 10:31 am Author: Westonbirt's learning and participation team

From 6 - 8 June, Westonbirt's learning and participation team will be hosting the Tree Champions family event. The event will include a trail around some of our own Olympic champions - our trees and shrubs - as well as some great Olympic-themed craft activities with a woody twist! Here, the team reveal some of the Tree Champion facts you can discover at Westonbirt…



Some species of tree can explode when cold, lightning or fire causes stress inside the tree trunk.

With some maples, it is the cold that causes the stress – their sap contains water which expands when the sap freezes, splitting the bark to make a sound like a gunshot.

“I was relaxing in front of a fire in the crispness of early morning when Crack! A sound like an explosion came from behind me in the woods. I scanned the trees and saw that a maple tree had "exploded". The explosion caused a big crack in the tree about three feet high. When a winter wind stirs the frozen trees, they sometimes appear to burst vertically. When it was 40 degrees below zero at night, I lay awake and listened to the trees explode. That's a true wilderness thermometer!”

Linda Runyon, The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide

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