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Epicormic Growth

04/02/2013

Epicormic growth surrounds us everywhere on trees. But what exactly is it and why is it there?

An epicormic shoot is a shoot growing from an epicormic bud which lies underneath the bark of a trunk, stem, or branch of a tree.

 

Epicormic buds lie dormant beneath the bark, their growth suppressed by hormones from active shoots higher up the tree. Under certain conditions, they develop into active shoots, such as when damage occurs to higher parts of the tree, or light levels are increased following removal of nearby trees. Epicormic buds and shoots occur in many woody species, but are absent from many others, such as most conifers.

 

Epicormic shoots are the means by which trees re-grow after operations such as cyclical pruning, where the tree's trunk or branches are cut back on a regular cycle. These pruning techniques cannot be used on species which do not possess strong epicormic growth abilities.

 

This explains why epicormic growth is seen on many street trees. By managing trees using regular cyclical pruning a field sized tree can be managed in size to fit the urban landscape.
 

Epicormic Growth