tree canopyWe as humans have a tendency to anthropomorphize the world around us. So it’s no wonder when we talk about a specific tree-based phenomenon we term it “Crown Shyness.” We imagine that the leaves of neighboring trees simply don’t want to reach out and touch someone. But what exactly is crown shyness and what cases it? Is it a problem for your trees and landscaping? And what do you need to know about it?

It Occurs in Some Species

When you’re peering up through the canopy and you see the tops of the trees forming intricate patterns just to avoid touching one another, the phenomenon can be lovely to see. Crown shyness only happens in certain species, which is why there are other forestscapes that create a dense canopy that shades the forest floor.

Lodgepole pine, black mangrove, camphor trees, and eucalyptus are some trees that display crown shyness. It also occurs sometimes when multiple species of trees are grown together.

It Optimizes Light for Photosynthesis

Some tree experts believe that the reason for this is based on the idea that the trees need the sunlight for photosynthesis. And by avoiding the touch of other leaves, all the surrounding trees will maintain the right level of sun for healthy growth.

In this hypothesis, it’s believed that the trees can sense the leaves of another tree based on the way the light is backscattered throughout the canopy. They will avoid touching to maintain the best possible exposure.

It’s Beneficial for the Trees

Ultimately, in spite of the introverted nature of the name, crown shyness is not a defect in the health of these trees. It is beneficial for them and their natural growth patterns.

Not only does it provide the trees good access to light, it has additional benefits. For example, it’s believed that crown shyness avoids the spread of insects that can be damaging to certain species of trees. It inhibits the spread of diseases, fungus, or bacteria. And while these things can be damaging to the individual tree, it would be incredibly devastating if spread between a large group of trees.


Keep Your Trees Healthy

Of course, you may not be experiencing crown shyness in your own trees, but there are several things you should watch out for.

Tree maintenance isn’t just good for your trees, but it may also be imperative for your home or the surrounding homes in your neighborhood. Removing dead branches, addressing disease or insect infestations right away, and ensuring that root systems are healthy and not impacting your home are all essential when assessing the health of your trees.