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video Every time you uncork a good wine, people do not pay attention to the cork and indifferently throw it into the garbage. But sometimes it is worth stopping and imagining a mighty cork tree to appreciate the gift of nature. After all, her gifts are filled with the whole earth and many of them are unfamiliar to people. Let's try to get to know the amazing plant from which not only corks for wine are made.
Read also: practical wood carving tips!
Common features of the majestic plant
The cork tree belongs to the Beech family and is an evergreen. Its height often exceeds 20 meters. The diameter of the trunk of an adult tree is 100 cm. The leaves are dark green in color. The edges are notched. Form - oblong. The outer side of the sheet plate has a shiny surface and a grayish sheen. In general, the leaves and branches create a broad crown of a spreading nature.
When May comes, cute flowers appear on the tree. Over time, they form the fruit - acorns. They grow on a single stem of 2 or 3 pieces. Drawn up to about 3 cm, and a half centimeter in thickness. Fruits ripen within one calendar year.
Cork tree grows very slowly. When he is about 25 years old, it is considered that the period of maturity has come. The life span of the plant is approximately 300 years. Some instances live to 400. That would be so many people to live!
Most often trees that have been uprooted for more than 250 years, because they lose the uniqueness of their bark.
In nature, there are two types of such trees:
- cork tree "Present";
- cork oak "Western".
In the Far East its distant relative grows - Velvet Amur, which is also called the cork tree. Although its bark is used for industrial purposes, it is inferior in quality to the original plant.
Places in nature, where the cork tree grows, are at an altitude of 500 m relative to sea level. Most often found in the Mediterranean, as well as in Spain, Portugal, the Crimea and the Caucasus. It can be said that people from different countries received a valuable gift, so there will be enough traffic jams for everyone.
Lovers of exotic plants should be aware that the tree does not tolerate air temperatures below 20 degrees.
A special feature of this type of oak is its unique bark. Inside it has closed pores that can hold fluid in the middle of a thick barrel. Therefore, the tree miraculously tolerates drought - a frequent occurrence in warm countries. The photo of the cork tree in natural conditions causes particular admiration of those who love greenery.
Propagated by cork tree by germinating acorns or seedlings. Although young seedlings do not always adopt the features of the mother tree. Therefore, in artificial cultivation, gardeners select only fairly mature and large acorns.
Unique bark of the cork tree
Virtually all trees on earth have their own value. Some bear fruit, others decorate residential areas, others serve as homes for birds and animals. Even if the tree dies, it still benefits. They make beautiful furniture from it, build houses and use it as environmentally friendly fuel. But the cork tree is truly unique.
When a plant is more than 3 years old, the bark begins to grow in thickness, which is its uniqueness. After 16 - 20 years, it will reach full maturity and is covered with cracks outside. During this period it can be cut off for industrial needs.
The bark consists of dead cells of the tree, which are abundantly saturated with a special substance - suberin. The result is a material that does not pass:
The presence of fellogens in the cortex stimulates its porous nature. Until now, scientists have not been able to create a similar analogue by artificial means. Its high thermal insulation properties and ability to not pass air strike with its uniqueness not one generation of inquisitive people.
In addition, the bark of the cork tree is distinguished by its unsurpassed elasticity, although it is very light in weight. The material is also used in the construction industry and in the manufacture of footwear.
It is better to remove the bark while juice is moving along the tree trunk. Then it is easily separated from the oak.
Since the tree needs to recover after cutting the bark, a lot of time must pass, an average of 9 years. And it is not surprising that in such countries as Spain and Portugal, one can observe unusual landscapes of trees without bark.
Technique for removing bark from the tree
Since the material is very valuable, its removal is carried out carefully and competently. It is important not to damage the wood and not to spoil the valuable raw materials. To begin with, determine the thickness of the bark. It should be at least 3 cm. Then they put a stepladder and make the first cut through the entire diameter of the trunk. Similarly, notch and lower edge of the material. Then the slits are connected, making cuts from top to bottom. A special shovel gently separates the bark from the trunk and fold it under a shed to dry.
This procedure does not affect the vital processes of the tree. It continues to grow, blossom and bear fruit, delighting those around them.
To stimulate the growth of the cortex, it is necessary to make incisions. When the tree is 15 years old, you can remove the first layer. Usually they call him “virgin” and he often falls apart right in his hands. After one decade, a new layer will grow, which will be of high quality. The bark of a pith tree which is more than 150 years old is especially appreciated. When the plant is over 200, the crusts become whitish and lose their unique features. No wonder there is an opinion among people: “Everything has its time”.The main thing is not to miss your chance.