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Tree Listening

While listening to the headphones hanging from the trees branches you can hear water being pulled up from the roots to the leaves through the xylem tubes. You will hear a quiet popping sound that is produced by the water passing through the cells of the Xylem tubes and cavitating as it mixes with air on its way upwards. A deep rumbling sound that is produced by the tree moving vibrating. As the leaves lose the water through evaporation the cells below the leaf become drier and they in turn pull water from the next cells below, this carries on down the tree all the way down to the roots. The water molecules cling together and form a water chain from the leaves to the roots under tension-cohesion.

The Tree Listening Project aims to provide an experience that links both science and art by engaging the public with what happens inside a tree, and to excite and inspire a keen interest in trees. The Tree Listening Installation travels around the world for both temporary and permanent events.

Listening to trees at Kew

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Fermynwoods

Listening to trees at Harlowcarr

RHS Harlowcarr

Listening to trees at YSP

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Tubes

Cross Section

There are different layers of sound; you will hear a quiet popping sound that is produced by the water passing through the cells of the Xylem tubes and cavitating as it mixes with air on its way upwards. There is a deep rumbling sound produced as the tree moves with the wind.

When a tree is in leaf there is a reasonably constant flow of water moving up from the roots to the leaves through the Xylem tubes. As the leaves lose the water through evaporation the cells below become drier and they in turn pull water from the next cells bellow this carries on down the tree all the way to the roots. The water molecules cling together and form a water chain from the leaves to the roots under tension-cohesion. In hot dry conditions the leaves can lose more water than the roots can supply, this can bring air into the system causing cavitation.

Educational Tree Listening Activities

My aim with the tree listening project is to allow people to see and hear trees in a different light.

I run workshops to suit different groups where we listen to trees, learn how they work, and walk around to compare different trees while we identify local species. The activities are recorded on my site specific activity sheet supplied.