What Causes a Burl in a Tree in Leesburg, GA?

Keeping your tree looking its very best is likely high on your priority list. Are the large, knobbly burls most trees develop potentially ruining your tree’s beauty? If these common features are causing you some concern as a tree owner, you’re in the right place.

What are burls? What causes a burl in a tree? Are these strange lumps a threat to your tree’s good health or longevity?

Read on as Leesburg’s trusted tree service looks at the formation of tree burl excrescences, including some key factors contributing to burl growth.

Burls in Trees: Origins and Influencing Factors

With burls coming in all shapes and sizes, they’re not that easy to describe. However, if you notice large, rounded swellings that develop near the base or on the trunk of your tree, you’re likely looking at tree burls. 

These growths can form on any tree, large or small. They tend to occur mostly in the following species, though:

  • Elm
  • Oak
  • Cherry
  • Ash
  • Maple
  • Walnut

Understanding Tree Burl Development Better

Considering how unsightly these growths usually are, you might be wondering, “What causes a burl in a tree?” You may be surprised to learn that tree experts don’t actually know. They haven’t yet been able to pinpoint the exact cause of burl formation in tree bark, though they have some theories.

For example, many believe that burls occur when stress disrupts a tree’s growth hormones and causes abnormal cells to develop. Instead of creating a normal branch when they divide, these dormant cells form the rounded shape of the burl. The precise source of the stress might result from the following situations:

  • Insect infestations
  • Mistletoes
  • Fungi or bacteria growth
  • Environmental injuries like freeze damage
  • Mechanical wounds

Another way to strain your tree and potentially cause tree burls is pruning excessively, which affects its ability to photosynthesize and heal from the pruning cuts.

Should You Remove Tree Burls?

Seeing woody lumps on your tree bark can make you question your tree’s health, but removing these burls will do just that. Tree burls do not harm your tree in any way. In fact, they actually aid your tree’s survival because they seem to form over tree wounds.

Those burls will keep diseases and insects at bay, which keeps the tree alive and thriving. Removing them could leave behind quite a large wound. If the tree can’t seal the wound, the unwanted stress could even cause the tree’s death.

Why not embrace the interesting colors and unusual grain patterns as part and parcel of your tree’s unique appeal?

Get Reliable Tree Care in Leesburg, GA

What causes a burl in a tree? The short answer arborists give is that it happens due to stress on the tree, which could be anything from insect infestations or mechanical wounds to fungi. 

While the causes of abnormal tree growth—burl—are largely unknown, providing your tree with consistent care may avoid them. Fortunately, we can help you with that.

Call Green Acres Tree Service & Land Clearing today at (229) 881-2538 to get your free estimate on tree services and more!


We provide the best professional tree care services for residential  and commercial tree care in Albany, and surrounding areas of Southwest GA.


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