Tree roots extend more than twice the spread of the crown. Roots of neighboring trees inevitably intersect. Thin filaments of fungi also penetrate the ground, operating like fiber-optic Internet cables. They transmit signals from one tree to the next, helping the trees exchange news about insects, drought, and other dangers.
How do trees communicate?
One way is through scent. Trees being eaten by animals/insects emit a warning gas that signals neighboring trees to protect themselves. These trees then pump toxins into their leaves to discourage would-be nibblers.
Communication through sense of taste.
Trees can often accurately identify which insects are attacking them. The saliva of each species is different and trees can match the saliva to the insect. They then release pheromones that summon specific beneficial predators to devour the bothersome insects. So Clever.
Trees can even “see.”
Peter Wohlleben says most plants can recognize more than just light and dark — they can detect if a neighboring plant is a member of the same species or same plant family. Switching off certain genes, such as the genetic code for detecting blue and red wavelengths, proves that trees use sight. “When you switch it off, they don’t care for family members, and when you switch it on, they take care. They bring their leaves a little bit away so the neighboring plant — if it is a family member — gets more light.”
Trees can hear.
Scientists registered wheat roots crackling quietly at 220 hertz. And…whenever seedlings’ roots were exposed to this sound frequency, they oriented their tips in that direction. They could “hear” or sense the sound. [Peter Wohlleben]
Trees release compounds called phytoncides which are antimicrobial, antibacterial and help defend plants against insects, disease, etc. When we spend time in a forest, we breathe in these phytoncides which boosts our immune system—our natural killer (NK) cells. Increase can last as long as 30 days! NIH study here.
Just go sit with a tree to boost your health!