There is an estimated number of 90 billion trees spreading over 90 different species. The differences between the trees are enormous. They come in all shape and forms, some are slim and petite, while others are thick and powerful. There are young and small as well as ancient and towering trees.
In this article, we journey from southern Germany towards the north, uncovering unique stories behind trees that are considered the highest, the thickest and the oldest in Germany.
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The Tallest tree in Germany
The trip starts deep in the South of the Republic. Here breathes the current tallest tree in Germany, growing in the mill forest near Freiburg. The tree is locally named “Waldtraut vom
Mühlenwald” which translates to Caitlin from the mill forest (Pseudotsuga menziesii). The tree is a Douglas fir
measuring 66,58 meters per 2017, yet it is considered relatively small on a global scale. The largest tree on earth outruns the “Caitlin” with more than 50 meters. However, the German record holder is still young. It is estimated to be only around hundred years, and being a Douglas fir, it is expected to grow taller by each year. According to recent years measurements, this Douglas fir has grown about 30 centimeters each year. The tree type has a life expectancy of over 400 years while having the potential to grow over 100 m tall. Given these facts, and the trees geographically location, it is no wonder why the locals have such high expectations for the tree.
The Douglas fir is not a native tree. It was planted in Freiburg in 1913 for experimental purposes when it was just a three-year seedling. Originally, the species live in North America but is grown for years in local forests in Germany.
The oldest tree in Germany
Pretty much in the middle of Germany, coincidentally also midway through our trip, there is a small town called Schenklengsfeld. In the town center, there is an ancient tree with a beautiful history. “Sommerlinde” (Tilia Platyphyllos) is the oldest tree of in Germany. With over 1200 years in the package, the tree sprouted once in the eighth century. Like many old trees, the age is difficult to assess. The trees master parts are partially rotted, only four outer stem parts create a mighty Crown with 25 meters in diameter.
A wooden structure supports the sprawling branches of the “Sommerlinde” to prevent the tree from breaking and falling to ground completely. Local inhabitants maintained and protected the tree for centuries. In the 19th century, the tree got attested for the first time. Although oldest in Germany, the tree is almost a young man in global terms.
The thickest tree in Germany
As our journey reaches the end, we will continue towards far North. In Heede in Emsland, there is the thickest tree of Germany. It is called the “thousand-year-old lime tree of Heede”, and considered the oldest lime tree with a circumference of approximately 18 meters. Europe-wide, no Linde is thicker. It takes 12 to 13 adults to cover the tree ground footprint. Although impressive, the circumference is no match to the diameter of the thickest tree in the world, The Árbol del tule with a range of fabulous 46 meters.
The centuries-old tree has a fairly strong base with a few cavities and rotten bodies. The master consists of several main branches making up the crown measuring up to 30 meters and a height of three meters. Due to its unusual Linden tree shape with several strong root branches, it is suspected that several trees were grown together. However, some experts suspect that the Linde suffered serious damage and then drove the new branches and today’s main tribes from the stump out centuries ago.
To keep the landmark of the small community, tree experts renovated the tree in recent decades. Today, an experienced arborist is hired to maintain it. In 2014, the German Dendrological society named the “thousand-year-old lime tree” of Heede to Tree of the year.
Photo & article source – baumpflegeportal