Sculpted by snow


The long lasting presence of winter is sometimes thought to be behind a rather high intake of alcohol in these northern climes. We can’t comment! Some find solace in a bottle, others in the forest’s sparkling frost dream. It’s a hugely demanding and direct environment to live in either way: it gets into you and informs all your thoughts and body experiences! The trees, apparently, feel the same way; during the winter, trees can quite easily collect hundreds of kilograms of snow on their tree branches and top crown. This is quite a load to carry for any tree and sometimes the snow-load is just too much and trees, especially birch, buckle under the weight, meaning the tree top is bent over to reach into the snow. This benefits the hare or grouse who take the opportunity to feed on the tree’s juicy top buds. The tree often springs back upright once the snow has begun melting in the spring.
Other trees such as spruce have adapted to this risk by growing short branches and adopting a candle shape which limits the amount of snow that their branches can collect. When the top of a spruce tree gets broken the tree quite quickly dies, so this is an important adaptation for the tree’s survival.

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