What Causes a Burl in a Tree in Clarksville, MD?  

A burl typically refers to a rounded, unusual swelling or lumpy growth of knotty wood on or from the trunk of a tree. These tree deformities can be small or large and often have a deformed shape. Unlike other tree abnormalities, burls don’t cause any harm to the tree.  

But have you ever asked yourself what causes burls in the first place? As a top-rated tree service in Clarksville, our tree care experts at Tree Pros will delve deeper into burls and their causes. Keep reading for answers to the question, “What causes a burl in a tree?”

what causes a burl in a tree

What Causes Burls on Trees  

Burls can grow on any tree species. However, common options include elm, maple, cherry, walnut, and ash trees. Although tree experts haven’t yet pinpointed the exact cause of tree burls, they are generally believed to result from abnormal cell development as a response to stress, since a tree under stress will produce chemicals that ultimately alter how the tree’s bark grows.  

That said, burl formation may occur because of insect infestations, bacteria and fungi growth, environmental injuries, and mistletoe. Once burl development begins, they keep growing for the tree’s entire life, with some growing up to several feet across.  

As burls grow, they create unique growth patterns. They also grow both aboveground and belowground. 

Benefits of Burls  

Now that you understand what causes a burl in a tree, it helps to know that burls offer several benefits. For one, burls protect trees from further damage. When a tree gets injured, the burl will prevent the injury from spreading by forming around the wound. A burl’s dense fibers make it difficult for pests and diseases to penetrate, preserving the tree’s health. 

The uneven and irregular pattern or grain of burl wood makes it ideal for furniture slabs, veneer panels, cutting boards, inserts, and instrument making. Woodworkers love burls for their unique grain, dense loops, and captivating colors.  

Removing Burls  

While burls may look unsightly and grow to large sizes, they have little to no effect on a healthy tree’s growth. Removing a burl may seem like the best move, but doing so will harm the tree, potentially leaving behind a large wound that may expose the tree to undue stress and potentially kill it.  

Sometimes, however, a burl may make a tree lose its stability or disrupt its vascular system. If you suspect a burl may have compromised your tree’s health, hire a certified arborist to check it out.  

Trust Your Local Tree Experts  

What causes a burl in a tree? Trees produce burls primarily as a response to stress. While these growths may be benign, it helps to seek professional advice if you need help diagnosing any wood growth anomalies with your tree.

Trust Tree Pros for premium arbor services, including:  

  • Tree trimming and pruning  
  • Tree removal  
  • Plant health care  
  • Deep liquid fertilization  

Call Tree Pros at (410) 771-1717 to request a free estimate for tree service in Clarksville, Maryland, or for tips on how to know when your tree is sick.


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