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# How high can a tree grow before it buckles under its weight?

Question #78207. Asked by tragic_flawed. (Apr 03 07 1:43 AM)

foregone

It depends on the density of the stem combined with other factors, such as the stem's elasticity. Whilst this is not my field I will try to translate what I just read, without a proper understanding. Two known models, which have suffered some criticism, are, respectively, the model which plainly states that plant height will increase proportionally to the stem width. The next model determines elasticity as the ability to cope with high wind speeds and therefore allows for height increases. As far as I can tell this is a pretty complicated topic, who would have thunk.

http://www.amjbot.org/cgi/reprint/85/8/1082.pdf

 Apr 03 07, 2:04 AM
toughynutter

For Douglass fir the compression failure ocurs at 7230 psi

has a density of 0.01878624843471666 lbs per square inch so a height of 384857 inches would cause failure that equals 32071.413 feet or approximately 6 miles. All this assumes no other stresses like wind Which could shear the tree but then again it would not be buckling under its own weight then. It also excuded any geometric adjustment for tree shape and assumes a uniform shape top to bottom. Because trees are not uniform I don't think it is possible to adjust for shape.

It is quite clear the trees overall height is limited by other forces than such a shear from wind. It is why in a forest the canopy is nearly a uniform height. A tree that is taller than the rest gets battered

"The wind speeds which blew trees down were much lower than those predicted as necessary from ‘tree pulling’ studies in the same forest. This discrepancy suggests that any consideration of windthrow must take into account the effects of tree vibration on the deterioration in the strength of the root-soil complex."
http://forestry.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/47/2/185

 Apr 03 07, 2:34 AM
star_gazer

The tallest trees on earth are the famed Redwoods, this site list some of the record heights:

http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2001/OlgaVapnyar.shtml

 Apr 03 07, 2:49 AM

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