Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now
In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only woody plants with secondary growth, plants that are usable as lumber or plants above a specified height. In wider definitions, the taller palms, tree ferns, bananas, and bamboos are also trees. Trees are not a taxonomic group but include a variety of plant species that have independently evolved a trunk and branches as a way to tower above other plants to compete for sunlight. Trees tend to be long-lived, some reaching several thousand years old. Trees have been in existence for 370 million years. It is estimated that there are just over 3 trillion mature trees in the world.A tree typically has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground by the trunk. This trunk typically contains woody tissue for strength, and vascular tissue to carry materials from one part of the tree to another. For most trees it is surrounded by a layer of bark which serves as a protective barrier. Below the ground, the roots branch and spread out widely; they serve to anchor the tree and extract moisture and nutrients from the soil. Above ground, the branches divide into smaller branches and shoots. The shoots typically bear leaves, which capture light energy and convert it into sugars by photosynthesis, providing the food for the tree's growth and development.
Trees usually reproduce using seeds. Flowers and fruit may be present, but some trees, such as conifers, instead have pollen cones and seed cones. Palms, bananas, and bamboos also produce seeds, but tree ferns produce spores instead.
Trees play a significant role in reducing erosion and moderating the climate. They remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store large quantities of carbon in their tissues. Trees and forests provide a habitat for many species of animals and plants. Tropical rainforests are among the most biodiverse habitats in the world. Trees provide shade and shelter, timber for construction, fuel for cooking and heating, and fruit for food as well as having many other uses. In parts of the world, forests are shrinking as trees are cleared to increase the amount of land available for agriculture. Because of their longevity and usefulness, trees have always been revered, with sacred groves in various cultures, and they play a role in many of the world's mythologies.

View More On
  1. O

    VIC Neighbours swimming pool drained into our property has killed trees

    We have a recently arrived neighbour that we have not yet met, who has purchased an adjoining property, who appears to have drained a salt water swimming pool into our garden. I looked over the fence and saw a hose running from his now empty salt chlorinated pool up to our fence which is...
  2. F

    NSW Retaining wall, dividing fence and trees - a trifecta of neighbour disputes

    We have a dispute relating to a dividing fence between us and neighbours on the lower side. The neighbour wants to build a front fence perpendicular to the dividing fence and claims that the dividing fence is tilting so they can't build their front fence. The neighbours claim the dividing...
  3. D

    NSW Neighbour planted bamboo after we moved in and this is now ruining my enjoyment of my pool due to large volume of leaf litter

    Hi, moved into our property about 7 years ago, in NW Sydney (Baulkham Hills Shire Council) and all was good. We became good friends with the people on our back boundary. Their property level is about 1m higher than ours so our back fence is 2.8m high. About 3-4 years in they planted bamboo. It...
  4. L

    NSW Tree fell on my car. What insurance should cover it?

    Hi, I’ve been renting current house for 2 years and last month a huge gumtree in front yard fell on the house and my car. The car, a 2008 Toyota Prado, ended up with dents all over the bonnet (like large hail stones) and on one panel between the window and windscreen. Although I haven’t got my...
  5. J

    WA Overhanging tree

    Hi Everyone, Just wondering, who is financially responsible for pruning or cutting a tree if it is hanging over a neighbours fence? The neighbour or the owner of the tree? We purchased this property and it already had a tree in the yard BUT the owner of the house behind us bought theirs also...
  6. R

    NSW Law regarding right to cut down overhanging tree

    My neighbour has several palm trees which are planted hard up against the fence. The curved nature of the trunks of this type of palm means that at a height of several metres, the entire head of some of the palm trees is on our side of the boundary line. We are endlessly collecting and disposing...
  7. A

    TAS Tree neighbour issue

    Neighbour has 2 trees at edge of property next to ours. One tree dead, one shedding branches onto our land and almost dead. Each is 30-40 metres high. Five weeks of asking neighbour to remove trees due to safety issues and that we wish to build on our property but trees posing danger so cannot...