What is a Burl exactly?
Let’s start with an example, shall we. Do you see that bulbous lump at the bottom of the Scots pine in the picture to the left there? Hard not to notice, isn’t it? That my friend is a burl. It is an abnormal growth on a tree caused by some form of stress. The stress might be due to injury, a fungus, insect infestation, or perhaps even from a virus. While most often they can be found underground on the roots of trees, only to be discovered once the tree topples or dies, the ones that are noticed more frequently are the burls that grow on the trunks of trees. They grow under the cambium level and can look like a massive malignant growth from the outside, especially when they grow to larger sizes. Inside they are a contorted mass of twists and swirls. In actual fact though, burls do not harm the trees that they are attached to.
Why Are Burls Interesting?
Burls are prized for their interesting and often beautiful markings. As you can never predict where or when a burl will form, they are highly sought after by artisans and furniture makers to turn into intricate burl bowls, table tops and unique sculptures. Be forewarned though, their scarcity makes pieces made out of burl wood rather pricey!
Can You Find Burls in Canada?
Excellent question and the answer is yes! Burls can be found in pretty much any kind of tree all over the world. In fact, the burl in this picture is located in Port McNeill, BC and claims to be the largest burl in the world. Weighing in at approximately 30 tons, measuring 6 metres tall and a whooping 6 metres in diameter, makes this giant world renowned. Not bad for a Canadian burl, eh!
For more information on burls, you can read this article by Premiere Tree Services, check out the entry on Wikipedia, look at the beautiful photo gallery by Trees for Life, or give CLC Tree Services a call directly and ask us more about burls.