I went into German woods near Berlin and I saw hundreds of trees that look like this:

tree with 'V' chevron patterns

What is this? Why are people doing that? I tried to google for wood patterns, but these keywords don't show any meaningful results.

  • There's a couple of options - harvesting something (e.g. sugar for maple syrup and rubber harvesting patterns look similar), but that is a silver beech tree (could easily be mistaken on that), or it could be trail markers, though very large and damaging for the tree for that purpose.
    – bob1
    Commented May 16, 2021 at 21:26

1 Answer 1


Very cool picture! That pattern must be quite old, I guess. I'm quite sure this tree is some kind of pine, judging by the bark, so this seems to be a remainder of resin harvesting, which was a common thing a hundred years ago because pine resin was an important resource for certain products (e.g., for pitch tar, turpentine, rosin).

The techniques vary; the patterns I know from Austria look a bit different, since there small wooden "blades" are inserted into the tree. The north German/Polish variant seems not to do that. The diagonal grooves would be for "funnelling" the resin into the middle channel; and probably the small horizontal slots are where the collection bucket would have been placed.

Note that, if done professionally, the harvesting does not kill the tree. One tree can be harvested for many years and will heal afterwards (as I have been told by a guy still doing this the traditional way) — healing wounds is the natural purpose of the resin, after all. (The timber from such trees severely decreases in quality, though.)

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