Shapes for Various Applications
trees come in all shapes and sizes. Even though all of our trees
are hand made one at a time, it is impossible for us to create every
possible shape and size. Therefore, we encourage the modeler to
alter the trees so that they do not all look alike. If you purchase
20 trees, of the same size, they will look quite similar until you
"mess them up a bit." The following information will help
in this process.
of the Box: All ScaleTrees have been designed to be the
shape of the full mature tree of its prototype. The White Oak species
was the prototype for our first release of our ScaleTrees. The shape
of the tree at left is the general shape of our ScaleTrees Complete
and also the shape of our ScaleTrees Without Foliage.
green outline represents the foliage canopy. Notice how the foliage
canopy is around the outside of the branching structure. Leaves
need sunlight to grow. Tree branches need leaves to
grow. If no light reaches a branch, then leaves will
not grow on that branch. If leaves do not grow on a branch, the
branch will not grow. This is a simple way to describe the growth
of a tree and the growth of leaves. As interesting as they may be,
diagrams of the photosynthesis process, and the molecular structures
of plant cells are not necessary to model trees well.
tree shape in figure 1 above represents an "out
of the box" ScaleTree Complete. It makes a beautiful stand
alone mature deciduous tree. A stand alone tree is one that is not
competing with other trees, buildings, storm damage, or other structures
When two or more trees compete for sunlight, several
things occur. When their limbs begin to grow into the same space,
they will form a single canopy of leaves. This is illustrated in
figure 2 to the right. Notice that there are no
leaves on the inner branches. Also notice how the inner branches
not continued to grow, or have withered due to the absence of
adjoining trees can easily be modeled by cutting away the BranchBunches
and their foliage with scissors, and then clipping the limbs with
wire cutters. Of course, always save the scraps to use as sapplings,
bushes, hillside brush, or on a distant hillside.
you bought the model and it is yours. Feel free to bend, cut, trim,
thin and change it to be what you want. Do not be afraid to alter
them. We encourage it.
how the inner trees of a close grouping are shaped due to the
of the surrounding trees. This is illustrated in figure 3
to the right with three trees. The middle tree only has foliage
on the upper crown of its branch structure, and the two outside
trees do not have mature limbs underneath the leaf canopy above.
a tree is next to a building or other obstacle, it will do what
it can to utilize the available space. Again, it will have foliage
only in the areas where it can receive sunlight.
plant trees, they typically don't plant them out in an
in the middle of the yard,
but close to a building so that it can provide shade. The tree
in figure 4 would almost appear to
be a half tree if the building were removed. This is a very
typical scene in the real world and therefore should be a natural
scene to model, especially in urban settings. Even in large
mostly concrete jungles,
will be many
trees that have either been planted or have volunteered to
grow. Look around any town or city, and you won't find many
streets that are without any trees.
tree in figure 5 has grown to be taller
than the building with which it competes. When this occurs, the
tree again tries to resume
its natural shape by trying to fill whatever space it can wherever
it can receive acceptable sunlight. This is an easy tree to model
by simply using wire cutters to clip away the branches that
compete with the obstacle, and then by cutting the BranchBunches
with scissors. The clipped away branches can be used for excellent
The tree in figure
6 to the left has found its self in the way of progress.
A tree like this can fall into two categories; 1) the
tree was there before the powerlines were installed, 2) The tree
grew to compete with the powerline. Either way, for safety reasons,
the tree needs to be trimmed to allow the powerlines their space.
The easy thing about modeling a tree such as this, is that is looks
great even if you mangle it and make it look really abused. A tree
like this has had a rough life, and examples are easy to find in
any area where modern civilization co-exists with trees.
A tree covered
road is always an interesting feature. The trees in figure
7 had a setback in their growth due to the installation
of a roadway, but they have overcome their challenge.
If the trees
there before the roadway, then
would have cut away the trees that were in the way. This would have
left a gap in the leaf canopy due to the missing trees. As time passed,
the canopy gradually filled in to take advantage of the new sunlight
beaming through the gap in the leaf canopy. Since the roadway is
narrow enough, the leaf canopy from the two sides grew together
this makes an excellent method for hiding backdrops if the roadway
takes a turn to dissapear behind the trees.
trees always grow straight upwards?
are many factors that affect the shape and posture of a tree.
be shaped and changed
by wind, sunlight, erosion, soil conditions, water, pests, people,
etc. One tree tilted
model scene may seem out of place, or appear as if it needs to
be fixed, but by following the prototype, it can appear natural.
8 shows how a simple hillside can produce
trees that have less than a vertical posture. A prototype hillside
is an easy place to spot trees that have a lean to them. This
occurs when the hillside gradually slides down hill over
time. Imagine that the hillside in figure 8 is
made of ice cream.
When the ice cream begins to melt (erosion of soil and gravity),
the tree begins to slide down the slope with the ice cream
to slide down a slope without leaning, but if the roots are
anchored into slower moving or non moving soil and rocks, the
increasingly lean down hill. As the tree leans, the weight
of the tree also amplifies the effect. Imagine the weight of
that tree that is leaning the most in figure 8.
Now imagine how much force is produced by gravity trying to
pull that tree
down the slope. If the soil moves quickly enough, the tree
without a large sloping hillside, erosion can take its toll on
a large tree, and pull the rug out from under its feet. In figure
9, the tree that is on the right side edge of the
creek is in the process of falling. Its roots have become exposed,
its very foundation has been eroded away. If its remaining covered
roots are strong enough to hold the tree up, and gather enough
nutrients, the tree can continue its life. This particular tree
has a helpful friend across the creek that is helping to support
him. By the looks of it, the tree on the left side of the
creek also needs this partnership since erosion is trying to
take his foundation away as well.
Remaining Trees After Deforesting Land
10 is an example of a typical tree shape found
after a forest has been thinned, or when trees are left after
has been cleared of its trees. This is often seen when a
new housing subdivision is built and the land developer clears
most of the land and leaves a few mature trees standing.
the upper crown of the tree was receiving light, there
are only mature limbs at the top. There may be a few immature
limbs on the lower portion of the trunk, but the mass
is concentrated at the top.
Anatomy of a Forest
There are many components
to a prototype forest. In order to affectively model a scale
forest, it is important to include these components. Some
of the components (starting from the ground up) that can
be found in figure
11 are; land terrain with drainage routes,
erosion, dead trees laying on the forest floor, florest floor
clutter of fallen leaves, brush, weeds, mosses, rock if indigenous
to the area, saplings, trees leaning due to soil movement
and erosion, a single leaf canopy for the forest. a gap in
the forest canopy where a tree is not currently present,
a gap in the canopy, a large mature tree that has died. Trees
at the edge of the forest have mature limbs with leaves all
the way down the trunk.
NOTES: 1. It
is possible to have more than one leaf canopy. This secondary
canopy that is lower than the top canopy is made of trees that
require less light. 2. In modeling
the land terrain, all land has drainage routes. Even the flat
part of Kansas has drainage ditches. Landscape architects design
parking lots to have a slope in order to control water flow.
If it rains in an area, there are drainage routes.