Why Colorado scientists put accelerometers on trees

Written By O. Love

In 2018, scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder (USA) attached accelerometers to two ash trees in a university park to measure their swaying patterns.

Today, after four years of observation, they have enough data to develop a new safe technology for tracking tree growth. It is almost ideal for urban environments and allows you to control each tree individually.

A tree, being a living organism, is constantly changing its structure and behavior, and this largely depends on the concentration of water in its tissues. As American scientists have found out, in the spring, during bud break, there is especially a lot of moisture in the trees, so on the one hand they become heavier, and on the other, more flexible.

This directly affects the nature of their swaying in the wind, which is imperceptible to the human eye, but can be recorded by accelerometers.

Measurements on ash trees proved the correctness of scientists – in winter, dry and light wood sways a little, and vice versa in spring. Moreover, by the nature of the swings, it is possible to determine with high accuracy the periods of plant growth and even calculate how much it will add in mass and size.

And there is no need to take samples for analysis, no need to damage the tree – this method can be revolutionary in the field of landscaping public spaces.

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