burl(redirected from burls)
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a distinctive excresence of the trunks, branches, and roots of leafy and, more rarely, coniferous trees. Burls apparently develop as a result of the damage done to trees by fires, fungi, and pasturing cattle. They appear where there is an overabundance of shoots and where dormant buds and adventitious buds grow closely together. In these areas of the tree there is also an intense development of cordate rays with the formation of tracheidal flexures and wood fibers (cross-grained wood). The wood in a burl grows 1½ to 3 times faster than the normal wood of a tree; it is also heavier and harder. The planes exposed after cutting have beautiful patterns. Burls are used by joiners, carvers, and turners as material for the production of small articles. The wood from burls is also used for veneers. Walnut burls, which reach a diameter of 1.5-2 m, are particularly valuable. In the USSR, walnut burls are found mainly in Middle Asia and, occasionally, in the Caucasus. Birch, linden, and alder burls are used in the production of particularly small items.