A tree stump in New Zealand that should be dead, was found alive. Martin Bader and Sebastian Leuzinger, professors at the Auckland University of Technology discovered the tree stump during a hike in West Auckland. The stump didn’t have any foliage, which according to Merriam-Webster dictionary is
a cluster of leaves, flowers, and branches“. The two professors decided to investigate how the nearby trees were keeping the stump alive. It was found that the water flow to the tree stump “was strongly negatively correlated with that in the other trees”. It was then found that roots of the stump were grafted to the surrounding trees. These grafts, (“thick underground roots that are pressed together”) are solely what was keeping this stump alive. But now the question is why would the other trees want to keep this stump alive? There might be a possible explanations. Professor Leuzinger says that grafts were formed before the tree became a stump. Trees do this in order to access more nutrients from other trees. When this tree became a stump the grafts stay in tact. So when the other trees are receiving nutrients they are transferring to the stump unknowingly to keep it alive. This discovery could change the way scientists deal with survival of trees throughout climate change as well as the ecology of the forest.


Trees constantly go through photosynthesis in order to survive. Photosynthesis in trees takes place inside the chloroplasts that are in the mesophyll of the tree. The leaves pull in carbon dioxide and water and use energy from the sun in order to feed the tree. The carbon dioxide and water are then converted into chemical compounds, like sugar, which fuels the trees life. Trees that have grafts then take the nutrients and transfer them to surrounding trees. The trees surrounding the tree stump took the nutrients gained from photosynthesis as well as nearby water to feed and keep the stump alive.

Adansonia digitata

Print Friendly, PDF & Email