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Educational Sessions

Fundamentals of Arboriculture

Thigmo What? Thigmomorphogenesis! How Trees Respond to Wind
Monday, 10 August 2015
4:20 PM — 5:00 PM
Osceola Ballroom B
A, U, T, M, L, Bs

The influence wind has on tree growth and form has been recorded in our art and literature for millennia.  However, it has only been the past two centuries that science has addressed the mechanisms and quantified the results of these alterations in growth and determined how they help trees survive in windy environments.  This talk will take a brief look back at the history of wind and trees and then focus on the how and why of tree responses to mechanical stress including wind (thigmomorphogenesis).  This will include quantifying the effect on morphology, allometry, anatomy, and wood mechanical properties (Telewski 1995, 2006, 2012).  Finally, a review of how a tree perceives the mechanical load of the wind, ice or snow will be presented (Telewski 2006).  The topic of wind and tree biomechanics was also the focus of the recent Tree Biomechanics Summit (Dahle et al. 2014). So hold on to your hats, this could be a long-winded talk!

  1. Telewski, F.W. 1995. Wind Induced Physiological and Developmental Responses in Trees. IN: "Wind and Trees". M.P. Coutts and J. Grace, eds. pp. 237-263. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
  2. Telewski, F. W. 2006. A unified hypothesis of mechanoperception in plants. American Journal of Botany. 93:1306-1316
  3. Telewski, F.W. 2012. Is windswept tree growth negative Thigmotropism? Plant Science 184:20-28
  4. Dahle, G., Grabosky, J., Kane, B., Miesbauer, J., Peterson, W., Telewski, F.W., Koeser, A., Watson, G.,2014. Tree Biomechanics: A White Paper from the 2012 International Meeting and Research Summit at the Morton Arboretum (Lisle, IL, US). Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 40(6):309-318

Presenter Information

    • Frank W. Telewski
      Dr. Telewski was born in Fort Lee, New Jersey and earned his B.A. with a double major in Biology and Chemistry from Montclair State College in 1977, his M.S. in Botany from Ohio University in 1980, and his Ph.D. in Tree Physiology from Wake Forest University in 1983. Both his Masters and Doctoral research focused on the influence of wind on tree biomechanics, growth and development. After graduating from Wake Forest, Dr. Telewski accepted the position of Assistant Professor in the Laboratory of Tree Ring Research at the University of Arizona from 1983 to 1990. In 1990 he moved to Buffalo, NY to take over the duties of Director of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens and Associate Professor of Biology at the State University of New York at Buffalo. In January, 1993 Dr. Telewski moved to his current position at Michigan State University as Curator of the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden and Campus Arboretum, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. Currently he is Professor of Plant Biology and Curator of the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden and Campus Arboretum. Dr. Telewski has published over 40 peer reviewed articles and book chapters on tree physiology, ecology, dendrochronology, and biomechanics. He is internationally recognized for his work in tree biomechanics and tree growth responses to wind. He has given numerous talks nationally and internationally to chapters of the International Society of Arboriculture, and nursery and landscape associations, with an emphasis on tree growth in response to wind, tree biomechanics and hazard trees, proper planting practices, girdling roots, tree protection during construction, and the influence of root damage due to trenching on tree growth.