The bark is a kind of cover for many plants, especially trees and shrubs. It lies around the outside of the trunk. The branches also have bark, but not the roots and leaves. The bark of the plants is partly similar to the skin of humans.
The bark consists of three layers. The innermost layer is called the cambium. It helps the tree grow thicker. This makes it more sustainable and allows it to continue to grow.
The middle layer is the best. It directs water with nutrients from the crown to the roots. The bast is soft and always moist. However, the root-to-crown pathways lie beneath the bark, namely in the outer layers of the trunk.
The outermost layer is the bark. It consists of dead parts of the bast and cork. The bark protects the tree against sun, heat, and cold as well as against wind and rain. In colloquial language one often speaks of the bark, but only means the bark.
If the bark is destroyed too much, the tree dies. Animals often contribute to this, especially roe deer and red deer. They not only eat off the tips of the shoots but also like to nibble on the bark. Humans also sometimes injure tree bark. Sometimes this happens unintentionally, for example when the operator of a construction machine is not careful enough near trees.
How do humans use bark?
If you want to find out what kind of tree it is, you can tell a lot from the bark. Deciduous trees tend to have smoother bark than conifers. Color and structure, i.e. whether the bark is smooth, ribbed, or fissured, provide further information.
Various cinnamon trees grow in Asia. The bark is peeled off and ground into a powder. We like to use that as a spice. Cinnamon is very popular, especially at Christmas time. Instead of powder, you can also buy stalks made from rolled bark and thus give the tea a special taste, for example.
For example, the bark of the cork oak and the Amur cork tree can be used to make cones for bottles. The bark is peeled off in large pieces every seven years. In a factory, cones and other things are cut from it.
Cork and other bark can be dried, chopped up into small pieces, and used as insulation for houses. The house loses less heat as a result but still allows moisture to penetrate the walls.
Hundreds of years ago, people noticed that there are acids in the bark of many trees. They were needed, for example, to make leather from animal skins. It’s called tanning. The factory for this is a tannery.
Pieces of bark are also used as fuel for wood stoves. In the garden, they cover paths and beautify them. Fewer unwanted herbs will then grow and your shoes will stay clean when you walk through the garden. A cover made of pieces of bark is also popular on running tracks. The floor is pleasantly soft and no soil sticks to the shoes.