In this article, we will teach you 3 ways to find directions using trees. Knowing these tips can be helpful when you are lost in the forests or when you don’t have a compass.

For sure you know that there are 4 main geographical directions. North, South, East, and West. If your face is to the north, your right is east and your left is west and behind you is south.

So by understanding one of the main directions, you can find all the directions. Don’t miss these 3 cool ways.

#1: Finding Direction With Truncated Tree Trunk

If you look at the cross-section of the cut tree, you will see a number of concentric circles. Each of them represents one year of tree life. A tree that exposed to the sun permanently, the circles that represent the life of that tree grows closer to one side and stays away from the other side.

The sides that are farthest from each other is placed in the South direction (due to the high sunlight and more growth) and the sides that are closer to each other is the north side.

Keep in mind that in the Southern Hemisphere situations will be the opposite.

If you find a truncated tree trunk, you can find easily all directions. But be aware that the tree used for orientation must be placed in an open and wide area. It should not be sheltered by hills, other trees or buildings. Test some of the nearby trees.

#2: Finding Direction Using Tree Bark

The nature agents like wind and sun do not affect all sides of tree barks equally. Sometimes these agents create some patterns on the tree barks that we can use them to find direction. On the other hand, the tree’s growth reflects some geographical directions.

For example, in most cases, the direction of bending of the trees indicates the direction of the prevailing wind in the area. So you can identify four main directions by knowing the direction of high winds and looking into the trees.

But let me show you a cool way.

The London plane tree (Platanus Hispanic) is one of the most common trees in most parts of the world. This tree tolerates pollution by shedding its bark in small plates. You can see growing new bark of this tree that has a lighter color.

See the picture below.

Also, we recommend this article: What is wood made of.

Plane tree bark
Plane Tree’s Bark

London plane tree barks are the easiest way to identify directions. Sunlight result in not shedding of tree barks equally on all sides, it sheds more on the southern side.

Notice that this case is in the northern hemisphere and the opposite is true in the southern hemisphere.

london plane tree bark

#3: Finding Direction With Moss On Trees

As you saw in the previous section, there are several cool methods of finding direction by knowledge about tree bark.

There are also other ways that focus on the organisms growing on the surface of the bark, like mosses or lichens, not the bark itself.

Mosses usually grow in shades and humid places.

These conditions exist on the north side of the trees (in the northern hemisphere) and on the south side of the trees (in the southern hemisphere). Of course, you can’t find these mosses everywhere.

If you get lost in a wet forest, look for mosses on trees and find directions.

Moss on Trees for finding directions

Here we’ve reviewed 3 ways to find directions using trees, while there are many different ways with other things.

Always try several ways to make sure you have got chosen the right path.

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