The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohleben (May 15th)

In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group.

Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth. []

Going to comment on this book as I listen to this book on my fire tablet:  The Hidden Life of Trees (how they feel and communicate) by Peter Wohlleben.

20 April Foreword

  • trees live on a different time scale that us
  • smell and taste for communication

Introduction to English edition

  • how is commerce working in the forrest
  • trees unit to make a forest
  • wolves disappeared in 1920 at yellowstone
  • they came back later along with many plants


  • is the forest for the lumber mill and operation
  • trees experience pain (happy and more profitable)

Chapter 1   Friendship

  • remains of a tree
  • assistant from roots and some fugi that pumps sugar to the stump
  • roots are like ant colonies
  • trees help out other trees in the forest
  • Every tree is important to the forest
  • The tree “connections” shows the friendships of trees.

Chapter 2  The language of tree

  • Trees use scent
  • gives off a warning gas for protection (for plants being nibbled on)
  • Tee moves at a slow speed
  • trees can match the saliva to the insects
  • tree roots grow into each other
  • If trees are weakened they can not communicate with the forest.  Like being “Deaf and Dumb”
  • When you hear a sound, the roots note spring to attention of this frequency

Chapter 3   Social Security

  • bothersome predators are removed for well growing trees.
  • The rate of photosynthesis is the same for all trees

Chapter 4    Love

  • wind pollenates
  • + bees
  • 10% done
  • inbreeding among strees
    • all pollen at same time
    • other are a couple days different from in-breeding
  • genes must be activated by neurotransmitters
  • insect are for pollination
  • trees  but out a senct to attack bees

Chaoer 5   The Tree Lottery

  • battle for branches or a tree canopy
  • the oil goes to the seed
  • the leaves or bark are stressed
  • the abundance of fruit shows the health of the tree last year (the summer before).
  • every year a beach tree  can produce 30,000 beach nuts
  • a beach tree could produce fruit at least 60 times in its life and yield 1.8 million beechnuts.
  • out of all these, 1 will become another tree
  • same statistics for the Popular…..only 1 winner

Chapter 6    Slowly Does It

  • Trees are slow growing
  • count the nodes of a beach tree
  • It’s normal for tree grows about 18 inches per year.
  • The lack of light will keep forest trees smaller…thus could be older?
  • small trees are more flexible and resistant to fungi
  • more talk about bonsai plants

Chapter7   Forest Etiquette

  • roots stretch out evenly in all direction
  • trees might appreciate beauty – Reason:
  • it also like the stability of a well normal shape
  • weight of crow makes it unstable
  • Tree grows only from the tip
  • Edge of forest the light comes in at the edge

Tree School

  • A tree need moisture for photosynthesis
  • plants take a break from growing in the winter
  • Spruce tree plays damage control to minimal moisture
  • life giving nature under the bark
  • Spruce can learn to support themselves.
  • A mother tree will support many other trees that’s leaning on it for support
  • Where do they store this learning “stuff”
  • Research with water droplets show the communication from vibration

Chapter 9   United We Stand Devided We Fall

  • every trees wants spaces to grow
  • it all works out of roots and fungi
  • fungi can’t photosynthesize
  • fungi is like the tree internet
  • the fungi will determine the status of the roots , soil, and other fungi of the area
  • fungi are very sensitive
  • they are connected to all plants in the “network”
  • [20% done]

Chapter 10

  • The Mysteries of Moving Water
  • Water  transport by capillary action
  • for tall trees, its transpiration bulls bonded molecules pull each other up.
  • Osmosis  to transport water

Chapter 11

  • we shred skin (about a pound per year)
  • bark is like skin for trees
  • the crown is like the hair of your head.   The tree does not get taller, it gets wider.  Or loss of body mass.

Chapter 12

  • Beech tree weakens the oak.  Is the oak a weak tree?  With little competition its strong.

Chapter 13

  • There is no ideal living conditions  for trees.  Snow can hurt the trees with needles.  they have short  branches.  Talking of yew trees.

Chapter 14

  • A tree is a woody plant in which branches grow.  A dwarf tree  grows  8 inches in 100  years.  A new stump came come from old roots.  A spruce was noted to be 9,550 years old.   The root regrows trunks and is why trees live so long.  Roots are import because it’s like the brain is located.    The root system controls all the chemical  processesing happens.  Can plants think?    Is there a memory link.

Chapter 15

  • We know  little of life in the soil.  How was soil created?    life came about from bacteria where humus was created [30%]

Chapter 16-17

  • Carbon Dioxide Vacuums
  • 22 tons of co2 in trunks, branches, and roots (in eco-system
  • peat moss turns to coal.
  • upper layer of forest has some coal formation  (darker-enriched with carbon)
  • we are removing carbon from the earth
  • slow growth is the key to grow old(er)
  • spruce have not learned how to survive for a drought.    THIRST

Chapter 18

  • the forest as a water pump
  • need costal forest to make a water pump
  • Need regular rain fall
  • less than 45 degrees of water it is a spring
  • rain is the main source of water in forest

Chapter 19

  • yours or mine?
  • tree blood looks like water
  • 12 needles of spruce are removed by a caterpillar

Chapter 20

  • Community housing [40%]
  • Trees become living spaces for many animals
  • woodpeckers and baby birds like the trees home
  • trees woods are used to help  animals protect themselves  (like an alarm system (music))

Chapter 21

  • most animals that depend on trees  don’t harm them
  • once a tree dies, it decomposes all the nutrients (eats)
  • six thousand species enjoy the dead wood (it destroys habitats).

Chapter 22

  • To relieve the stress, they go into hibernation.  Then fuel from energy from the sun.  They fill  their bark.
  • they shut down after the first frost….water in the trees
  • eat the sugar that’s created
  • conifer has wax that will save any water (antifreeze)
  • most trees lose all their  leaves.
  • drops leaves because of snow fall
  • dropping  leaves is a protective means, get rid of waste
  • tress need rest, that’s why an oak doesn’t like growing in a container
  • 3 conifer shed needles like the trees
  • pines shed about a quarter of their needles

Chapter 23

  • Trees need a sense of time
  • colder the weather the earlier buds appear in  spring
  • Trees must have a memory with respect to fresh growth

Chapter 24

  • oaks behave differently into hibernation
  • leaf drop is a matter of character
  • shed leaves, or fill the storage  tank.
  • more cautious trees might service into the future
  • trees with leaves will tip with winter wind
  • grow has all to do with photosynthesis
  • like new branches on the trunk

Chapter 25

  • trees  live between four and five hundred years old (beach or oaks)
  • trees disinfect their surroundings
  • trees get sick; need of photosynthesis, growth speeds up…takes energy…there is no defensive means left.
  • injuries to trunk could happen in summer, and the fungal spores attack, but the excess water makes it difficult.   Trees cure the old wounds in about 5 years.   Anything more than an inch is life threatening, [50%]
  • if fungi gets in wood, a whole century can go by, it will just rot out
  • water is too tough for fungi

Chapter 26-27

  • light is very important to get energy
  • liverworts are a “cheeky” plant
  • ivy used up-ground roots  for sstability
  • honeysuckles can stare trees like boa constrictors winding themselves
  • light is dark in spruce forest, and is moss free.
  • red woods grow thick lower branches
  • Beeches don’t like having limbs pruned off (low photosynthesis)
  • Trees  grow into pipes were growing about water level.  It was a good place to grow in pipes (feels free to grow)
  • micro-organisms are not there to make humus
  • hot weather favors insects, not trees
  • Oaks like the open to get light

Chapter 28 – burnout

  • pioneer tress grow up far away from other
  • these blow away and try to get away from shade
  • wildflower do not do well in the forest
  • they grow thorns to defend themselves
  • rapid growth of outer bark like silver birch
  • white bark reflects light
  • fugal bacteria can spread rapidly on pioneer trees

Chapter 29 -destination north

  • trees can reproduce…trees don’t walk…some drift (tiny seeds)
  • some are distributed by small animals (mouse  or squirrel)
  • beech trees travel north at a quarter of a mile per year
  • fore fathers were hard on beech trees  (herds) [60%]
  • beech is only good by the Atlantic and having the right amount of water
  • beech trees need about 2/3rds of the water to make wood
  • beeches don’t like hot summers

Chapter 30-tough customers

  • trees live long because of genetic variability, adapt to unfamiliar pest
  • react to environmental condition
  • If  thirst is an issue the leaves put on an extra “layer” to save the water

Chapter 31- Turbulent times

  • maybe trees affected by machines  or even storm events
  • to protect against rain the limbs grow upward to protect from the weight of rain
  • wet snow holds lots of water
  • beech trees are saved by the smooth bark layer
  • trees don’t have a mechanism to protect from heat
  • most fires is probable started by a person
  • fires   are usual low fire to clear out ground “stuff”

Chapter 32 – immigration

  • fixture in native history  (tree needs)
  • seeds come without the fungi it might need
  • some trees grow crooked or not as tall because of excessive manganese
  • plants do not like immigrant pests
  • native means it comes from habitats the suit thm

Chapter 32-33 – Health Forest  Air

  • the air is cleaner,  by the filter of the trees
  • also with pollen from the ground
  • pump substance in the air
  • scent- mails and phytoncides   ????
  • blood  pressure and lung capacity and elasticity of our arterie improve while walking in forest
  • A person  breaths about 2 pounds of oxygen a day
  • trees breath from the roots, they might suffocate
  • [70%]
  • trees also need their rest
  • maybe to much light

Chapter 34 – why is the forest green

  • green is for photosynthesis
  • sunlight is white
  • wavelength are changing to see
  • we are seeing waste light because chlorophyll can’t use green
  • The green has a relaxing effect on  our psyche
  • trees are slow.   Life is 5 times slower than human life

Chapter 35  –  set free

  • keep economic interests out of the forest
  • chair saw license required
  • 5% of forest should let the trees grow without human interference
  • Trees need parents for growth (old growth forest)

Chapter  36   -More than  just a commodity

  • animal share human emotions
  • we live from access to  other organic systems (like wood)
  • do not decapitate a flower on the side of the road
  • mother trees talk to their kin
  • communicate with other trees

Acknowledgements [77%]


Index  [84%]


David Suzuki



Buds comments:

  • Seeing trees a a communicative and compassionate entities was mind blowing.
  • The sheer activity of the fungi, and the many things they are involved in.
  • The ages of the beech tree –  we’re not used to that.
  • The web is more awesome than most of us think.  The author contributed to my  highest level of respect for our fellow beings.
  • Peter Wohlleben describes his research into the feeling of trees – their sense of smell to communicate.  This totally changed my understanding…and broadened  my thinking,  GREAT BOOK!
  • Very  good book, full of info on the life of trees.  Trees have families & communicate with each other & know how to ward off bugs that do damage.






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