High above the floodplain with the wind in the canopy
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Strong roots make poplars of the Rhine floodplains stand firm
The grey poplar grows quickly and straight. In just a few years, it can reach heights of up to 45 metres. Anything that grows that tall needs a firm footing. That is a challenge on the wet, soft soil of the floodplain. But with their strong roots, poplars are well anchored in the ground and have no trouble in floods or blustery winds If you listen carefully, you can hear the rustling of the breeze in the treetops.
Listen carefully and you will hear the sound of the wind
Look closely and you will see the typical fluttering of the leaves. This “trembling” is characteristic of poplars. The flattened stem of each leaf allows the leaves to start moving in the slightest breeze. Because wind blows easily through the canopy, poplars are very good at withstanding storms. At the same time, the movement of the leaves lets more light through the canopy. Compared to other tree species, the poplar also gets by with less foliage. Since it does not have to supply so many leaves with nutrients, it can grow faster. These unique characteristics have allowed the poplar to thrive in the dynamic habitat of the floodplain.
Wind and poplar - Look how the leaves tremble and the seeds fly in the wind
Source: City of Rastatt/Veronika Öder
How trees grow
Trees also grow upwards. Thus, in the beginning, a small seed later becomes a large stately tree.
To grow, a tree needs, among other things, a place to live, water and nutrients, besides sunlight and its leaves and, above all, time.
How much time it takes to grow depends on the type of tree. That is, whether it is an oak, beech or spruce. It also depends on the supply of nutrients and water. In addition, the season must be right. In winter, many trees take a break from growth to save energy.
Some trees are in a hurry to grow tall. They grow up to one meter per year in height. At the same time, they also become thicker at the trunk. This is important for a safe stand at heights of over 30 to 50 meters!