How Much of a Tree Is Alive?
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Posted by: Dana Walker
Only 1 percent of a dormant mature tree is biologically living while the rest is composed of non-
living, structural wood cells. In other words, very little of a tree's woody volume is composed of "living, metabolizing" tissue; rather, the major living and growing portions of a tree are leaves, buds, roots, and a thin film or skin of cells just under the bark called the cambium.
There are other living cells that are important for tree growth within the different parts of trees, especially in root tips, the apical meristem, and leaf and flower buds; however, these living cells make up a very small percentage of the total volume of a tree's cells. Instead, non-living or "dead" cells comprise most of the volume of a tree, providing vital structural support for the living cells.