Trees are generated structures of wood and leaf blocks, created when a map chunk is generated or grown from a planted sapling. They are found in most biomes, and are abundant in forest-related biomes. There are 4 different types of trees – oak trees, spruce trees, birch trees and jungle trees. All can grow in many shapes and sizes.
Their natural height varies widely, but most have a minimum height of 5 blocks (4 wood and 1 leaf), ranging up to 30 blocks for the "giant" Jungle trees. Trees can also be placed on top of each other by a Player, but dirt has to be placed for the sapling to grow.
The tree canopy is composed of leaf blocks, and grows 1 block higher than the highest wood block (This does not apply to the giant oak tree, as the leaves grow 3 blocks higher). The canopy may begin from the ground, (for the shorter "bush trees" in the jungle) and go up to 6 blocks from the ground (for the tallest trees). Tree canopies appear to be generated from roughly spherical clusters of leaves about 5–7 blocks across, centered on sections of trunk or branches. Leaves must be supported by an adjacent trunk (or leaf blocks connected to the trunk), otherwise they will wither and disappear.
Giant oak and giant jungle trees grow branches (wood blocks connected horizontally, vertically or diagonally to the trunk or other branches). Most of the time, a single tree will have between one and six branches, and each branch will have between one and six wood blocks. A few trees can have many more. Branches support a much larger canopy than a tree with a single trunk. Birch and spruce trees cannot grow branches. Jungle biomes has a special type: "bush trees" (one block of jungle wood completely covered by leaves).
Growth and characteristics
Trees are grown from saplings, which have a 1/20 chance of dropping from leaf blocks when they are destroyed or decay. Some players harvest wood from high-efficiency tree farms. As of release 1.2 saplings now occur in four separate varieties: oak, birch, spruce, and jungle.
The sapling must be planted on a dirt or grass block, and must have a light level of at least 8 in the sapling block. A sapling will uproot with light level 7 or less in the sapling block itself unless it has an unobstructed view of the sky (except by glass or other fully transparent materials). The sapling must also have at least 4 blocks of space above it; see the individual sections below for space requirements, as they vary between the different types of trees. If there is a ceiling above a sapling, this will limit the maximum height of the tree that can grow from that sapling.
All trees in the active chunk radius around the player make attempts to grow at random intervals. For any given tree this can work out to about 3 attempts per minute, but a tree will usually not grow until nearly 30 minutes have elapsed since planting. When the tree attempts to grow it first checks that it has enough light, then chooses which type of tree to spawn. For oak trees, it will choose either small or large; for spruce trees, it will choose either short, tall, or very tall. Birch trees only have one type.
Now that the tree has passed a light check and chosen a size to attempt, it checks if there is space to grow into what it has already (randomly) chosen to become. If it encounters an obstruction during this check, it fails to grow and must wait for the next pass before it can attempt to grow again. This means that a tree in an open field with enough light will grow quite quickly (usually right around the 30 minute mark), but a tree in a tree farm that stunts its size may make several attempts before finally growing.
If you are standing on a sapling when it turns into a tree you will be trapped inside and begin to suffocate. You can escape by moving or digging. Sometimes this death results in deletion of items.
Bone meal forces the tree to grow if right clicked as long as all of the normal checks are in place (i.e., light, space, dirt, etc.). It does not guarantee a tree will grow, but forces it to attempt to grow, regardless of light level. The tree must still pass the space check for its randomly chosen type, before it grows. This is important to remember when limiting tree height, as the tree may attempt to grow a tall variant and fail even when all other requirements are met.
Leaves of small oaks (but not large ones) will destroy fences, glass, paintings, stairs, pistons, torches, buttons, ladders and doors due to a mismatch between the tree's actual and test forms. While tree trunks will not grow through solid blocks, the branches of large oaks may grow through (replace) any blocks that are not directly above the trunk, including chests. Oak leaves are unique in being able to grow through leaves of other tree types.
All saplings will grow normally in The Nether and in The End, although they must be planted in dirt transported from the Overworld. Leaf blocks in the Nether have the same color as if they were placed in a desert biome.
Oak trees are unique in several ways compared to birch, spruce, and jungle trees. Oak trees have a much smaller space requirement, and while birch, spruce, and jungle trees can only grow through other leaves of their own type, oak trees will grow into any other leaf block.
They come in four variants with widely different properties:
- Small oak trees are the most commonly encountered, and resemble birch trees in their shape and size. They require no horizontal clearance at the base, 1 block around the main trunk, 2 blocks from the top of the trunk up to the ceiling and 6-8 blocks of vertical clearance. Thus, a small oak tree can grow in a 1 deep hole, but not a 2 deep hole. Just as jungle trees, their growth will not be hindered by wood, leaves, dirt and saplings.
- Large oak trees are more uncommon, and have a distinct look and different growth requirements. They often have "branches", outgrowths of wood on the sides of the trunk, or even freestanding and surrounded by leaves. They require 4-14 blocks of open space directly above the sapling to grow (Air or Leaves only) but can otherwise be completely enclosed on all sides.
- A large tree form exists with a single leaf block layer above the minimal 4-block trunk, allowing a tree to rarely grow in a vertical space with a height of only 5, but otherwise the maximum trunk height is 2 less than the vertical space, making the practical minimum height 6.
- In swamp biomes, naturally occurring oak trees tend to grow in the water. Unlike oak trees in other biomes, which typically have a slightly conical or pointed canopy, all swamp trees have round, flat topped canopies, and may have vines hanging down. If a sapling grows in a swamp biome, however, it won't include vines, and there is no way to grow a tree under water, giving players no way to naturally grow "swamp trees". Since they are composed of existing tree components, however, one can simply grow a normal tree and add the vines manually, and submerge them after the fact. Jungle trees, on the other hand, have vines both if they're naturally occurring, and if they're grown using four saplings (see below).
- As noted above, some biomes (prominently jungles) have "bush trees", with one block of wood completely covered by leaves. As with the swamp trees, their saplings will grow into normal oaks.
Spruce trees, also known as pine trees, grow from spruce saplings and have growth patterns and requirements very similar to birch trees, though they look very different. They are only found in the Taiga biome. Spruce wood has the same texture as oak wood, but it is a darker shade of brown, while its leaves are more dense, with a darker and more blue-ish tone to them.
There are three different forms of these trees that may grow from any spruce saplings:
- A short variant with height similar to oak trees.
- A tall, thin variant with leaves at the very top.
- A "tall pine" variant, with a height limit of 17 rather than the usual 14.
The leaves of the short variant tend to grow in discrete rows rather than the more "spherical" arrangement of oaks and birch trees, while the tall variants tend to have very few leaves, concentrated at the top.
Like birch trees, they do not grow branches, and have a larger space requirement than oaks. This minimum space requirement is one block taller than the birch, at 5×5×8 blocks, and as with birch trees, they will not grow if any blocks occupy this volume.
On the Redwood Biome, more exactly located near the Extreme Hills you can find large spruce trees which are just like the Jungle trees, 2x2. This will be updated once 1.7 is out.
Birch trees, the least common type of tree, look fairly similar to oak trees in terms of height, and with leaves of a paler color, however, they stand out with their unique, white bark. They are most commonly found in forest biomes.
There is only a single type of birch tree: a straight trunk that never grows branches, like a small oak tree. The trunk will grow to be 5, 6, or 7 blocks tall. Birch trees always have leaves at least 2 blocks above the ground, whereas oak trees may be as low as 1 (at least when in forest biomes). See below for how their leaves grow. Because there is only one type, birch trees are the preferred type for automated tree farms.
The smallest birch tree requires a 5*6 (diameter*height) volume of free space, whilst the tallest tree requires 5*8 volume. The volume starts at one meter above the base of the sapling, that is completely empty of anything but leaves of any type. The topmost 5*5 layer above the tree is always empty space. Birch trees will not grow if this space is obstructed by other blocks (including torches). This behavior is different from oak trees, which will grow regardless of obstructions (usually not growing into the obstructed area). Dark wood trees behave similarly (see below).
Birch trees may grow faster than oak trees. A birch tree has been seen growing from sapling to fully grown tree in under 1 day. It looks like they skip the 30 minute delay entirely; in very rare cases they even grow within one minute. This has been reported for SSP and SMP.
Birch trees yield a type of wood that can be made into unique white Wood Planks, and other trees yield planks of different shades of brown.
Birch leaf distribution
|3rd and 4th rows|
Birch trees will always grow an absolute minimum of 50 leaves, which bodes well for the player considering the 1-in-20 chance for those leaves to drop saplings. If one is lucky, a birch tree may grow a maximum of 60 leaves. The leaf distributions are shown visually to the right, each table cell representing one 'slice' of the tree viewed from above. The glass blocks represent a barrier, while the cyan flowers represent areas where leaves may grow, but do not always. The growth pattern, in detail, is as follows:
- The topmost row is one above the height of the tree, and always has exactly 5 leaves: one above the wood block and four orthogonally adjacent to it, forming a + shape.
- 5 leaves
- The second row is the top of the wood trunk, and also has 4 leaves adjacent to it. Diagonal to the wood block will be a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 3 additional leaf blocks.
- 5 - 7 leaves
- The third row has the wood in the middle, surrounded orthogonally and diagonally by leaf blocks. Those 8 leaf blocks are also surrounded orthogonally, for an additional 12 leaf blocks. One can think of this as a 5×5 space where every block has leaves except the four corners. These corners are randomly filled with between 0 and 4 leaves, though having all four filled is very rare.
- 20 - 24 leaves
- The fourth row generates with the same rules as the third, and thus has a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 24 leaf blocks.
- 20 - 24 leaves
- The fifth and sixth (bottom) rows contain no leaves, only the wood block in the center. If the tree is 6 or 7 blocks tall, the additional 1 or 2 rows at the bottom will also be just a wood block.
- No leaves
Jungle trees are exclusive to the Jungle Biome and have a unique growth system. Jungle tree leaves drop jungle tree saplings, which appear tall and skinny like the jungle tree itself. When planted in grass or dirt they grow into a jungle tree with a 1x1 trunk, unlike the occasional jungle trees with a 2x2 trunk that you find naturally in the jungle biome. For these trees to grow, there must be no blocks adjacent to the sapling up to the height of the tree.
In order to grow a 2x2 jungle tree, four jungle saplings must be placed adjacent to each other. For growth to succeed, there may be no blocks adjacent (even diagonally) to the north-western sapling (which is considered the center of the tree) up to the final height of the tree, as well as no blocks 1 block away except at the same level of the sapling (even diagonally). Which sapling the Bone Meal is used on is irrelevant. Large jungle trees can grow up to 32 blocks high; trees as short as 9 blocks have also been observed.
Some materials (including wood, leaves, dirt and saplings, but not vines, farmland, or tall grass) do not block the growth of jungle trees.
2x2 jungle trees will not grow within two spaces of the trunk of another 2x2 tree directly north and west direction of the existing tree. On the south and east directions it will not grow within 3 blocks.
Tree harvesting is an essential first step for any player in Survival mode. The wooden blocks can be harvested for wood, without requiring tools (although an axe quickens harvesting). Each wood block can be crafted into wooden planks and sticks, which are used for crafting tools.
When leaves are harvested, or decay naturally, there is a chance they will drop a sapling, which can be planted to grow a new tree. Decaying oak tree leaves also have a 1/200 chance of dropping an Apple. Destroying leaves does not require a tool; a sword destroys leaves negligibly faster, but this quickly wears out the sword. Using a hoe to destroy a leaf block will not wear it out, but is the same speed as your hands. (However, on Pocket Edition, using a hoe will wear it out.) Since Beta 1.7, Shears have been added to harvest leaf blocks quickly, and will drop a usable leaf block for the player to pick up. One final method for destroying leaf blocks quickly is to set them alight with the Flint & Steel , which spreads fire across the leaves and burns them all quickly. Trees with enough leaves can be used for homes, which will require 3 ladders, and a trapdoor to keep the mobs from getting in.
|0.0.14a||Added trees, they were only available as oak trees with a single foliage color.|
|???||Added tree growth.|
|1.2||Birch and pine trees introduced. Trees predating this update would appear to have multiple types of leaves, as the data indicating tree type was previously used for decay calculations.|
|1.5||Birch and pine saplings became available. Post-Beta 1.5 oak-type saplings will not stack with pre-Beta 1.5 saplings.|
|1.8||The Swampland biome was added, with a new tree design (made of the same blocks as oak trees), which are of more uniform size and have vines growing on them. There is no way to grow these trees; oak saplings will grow normal oak trees. A bush-shaped variety of oak tree was removed.|
|1.9pre4||Trees can sometimes be found growing on blocks of sand. This has been observed in swamp biomes.|
|1.1||Oak leaves were given a 1/200(0.5%) chance of dropping an Apple when they are destroyed or decay. This is useful as now golden apples can be created without the player needing to find a dungeon.|
|1.2.1||The Jungle tree became available. A bug existed that transformed saplings in a 2×2 square with jungle saplings into other jungle saplings if the growth of a giant tree fails. This would not be revealed until the block graphics were updated, such as when a block is placed or destroyed nearby. The bug was exploited to rapidly create jungle saplings from other saplings using bonemeal, since they do not drop as frequently.|
|1.2.4||Fixed sapling bug. Different tree logs have slightly different colors, and make different colored planks. (e.g., Birch tree logs are turned into a lighter plank texture when crafted into planks.) Neither blocks nor planks from different types of tree will stack with each other, but they can be freely mixed in crafting. Crafted items (notably sticks) no longer remember what sort of wood they came from. In particular, a smashed boat always produces oak planks (and some sticks).|
|1.3.1||12w18a||Jungle trees were given a chance to drop cocoa beans from their leaves.|
|12w19a||Jungle leaves no longer drop cocoa beans. Instead, small jungle trees can generate with the new Cocoa Plants already growing on them.|
|1.3.2||Large oak trees now generate with sideways logs.|
|July 30, 2013|
|Cherry trees have been mentioned to be implemented by Patrick Geuder|
- Trees can be rarely found with nothing underneath them.
- If you grow an oak or jungle tree (spruce and birch trees don't work.) above a dirt block, the tree will grow but the dirt block will stay between the logs.
- Trees can sometimes spawn on sand.
- Trees may even get spawned on stone, if they get generated close enough to a surface lava pool (this is very rare)
- When growing a giant jungle tree, some of the leaves furthest from the trunk will start to decay immediately after the tree appears.
- Sometimes, one side of a jungle tree will not generate.
- In 13w01b a little bit of bumping in and place with trees, if you look around you might see floating leaves or grass without trees or half a tree. Sometimes they are fully invisible and you have to quit the world and get back on to fix it.
Tips on cutting trees
- When trying to cut a big tree (tall spruces, large oaks, jungle giants), the best technique is usually to get up to the top and cut the wood from there going down (the same applies to tall trees). Climbing to the top using a ladder is probably more efficient and safer than dirt "staircases", especially for very tall trees.
- Alternatively, you may choose to use the torch and sand method: Place a torch on the ground, then place a block of sand or gravel onto the torch. Place a block beside the torch, and then climb onto the one above the torch, and then jump while placing sand/gravel under yourself. Once you reach the top of the tree, you can cut it from the top as above. When you're back at the bottom, destroy the block suspended above the torch, the other blocks should fall on the torch and be converted into resources.
- It's worth clearing foliage and collecting the saplings and apples for later—you may want to reforest some areas. Don't use a tool to bash leaves, as a block or bare hands will do just as well without wearing out your tools.
- If you've got plenty of daylight and you'll be hanging around for a while, you can just chop the wood out and wait for the leaves to decay. If there's any question of time, bash or shear the leaves (or at least most of them) first.
- Shears do wear out, but will be much faster. The leaves won't drop saplings or apples when you shear them, but you get to take the leaf blocks home and break them at your leisure (or use them for something else).
- The largest jungle trees may look difficult, but there are several ways to handle them, and they offer up to two stacks of wood. Collect the saplings too, because you can carry them to other biomes and grow them with bone meal as above.
- Note that especially without shears or with stone axes, this is most of a Minecraft day's work. Plan ahead—you may want to wait out the night 10 or 15 blocks up atop the trunk. Every so often, go back down to the ground to collect fallen wood and saplings—if you try to leave them until you've finished, some of the first logs and saplings will reach their 5-minute expiration.
- If you're using stone axes, bring a spare, as you will probably use up the first one. If you want to collect all the leaf blocks, bring an extra pair of shears.
- As above, top down is easiest, so get up there first.
- You may not even need ladders, if you can reach the top by climbing the vines, bashing/cutting through leaves, and perhaps using your axe to cut a footing at the top of the trunk. Note that unlike the ladders, you won't get vines back when you chop the wood blocks from under them. You can also use shears to harvest some vines from other sides of the tree, to fill in a complete path to the top.
- It is also possible to carve the tree into a spiral staircase. First cut the three lower blocks of one corner of the tree, then three blocks one block above ground of the neighboring column, the up one and harvest three at the third column, and so forth, going around the tree as you ascend. You should end up cutting your way up to the top of the tree - and from there you can then cut away the "staircase" as you descend again. As a bonus, if you run out of daylight while doing this, you should be quite safe atop the tree.
- If you do need ladders, but haven't got them, you can take a block or few of wood in a column (that is, a groove up the trunk), use those to make some ladders, and run the ladders up the groove, making more ladders as needed and as you mine the tree. (You might need to make a Crafting Table with the first block.)
- When you reach the top, you will find that the trunk has one block reaching above the other four. Chop that one to start the canopy decaying. If you're willing to spend extra time or an extra pair of shears, you can be methodical about clearing all leaves above your foot level. Otherwise, just clear away layers of leaves so that the drops (wood, leaves, saplings) will fall down to the ground. Clear leaves away from the trunk to speed decay, and clear through bushy sections to expose and chop the branches. As you open up the canopy and clear branches, work your way down the trunk. Try to gather drops as you go, and at least once go back down to gather drops from ground level.
- Once past the branches, you'll be standing on a fairly high 2×2 pillar of wood. Go collect drops from the ground again. This is often a good time to take a break, as you wait for the last leaves to decay, fetch another axe, go home to sleep, or wait out the night atop the tree. Then you can easily collect the rest of your wood.
- Trees will only grow if they are planted on a chunk of the map that is loaded into memory. If you plant saplings and then explore another more distant area of your world for a few Minecraft days, they will still be saplings when you return.
- It seems with the addition of different types of lakes above ground, you may have floating trees. This happens since the tree is spawned when the chunk loads first. Then, the lake is spawned afterward. This leaves the tree floating above the lake.
- If a sapling is surrounded by a 2 block tall tube it guarantees that it will, eventually, grow into a big tree. The tube forces the small tree growth to always fail each attempt. However, this takes far longer to produce a mature tree, due to the low chance that a sapling will try to grow into a big tree.
- Trees can grow to encase the player in leaves. This may allow them to see through the world.
- Two regular saplings planted near each other have a chance to grow above their normal height limit of 14. (Example: 16 tall with 57 wood)
- A tree standing over a lava pool may catch fire from the lava. These fires can be very dangerous, burning down entire forests. Though an effective way to prevent this is to avoid trees that are near lava, or cover the lava, and so on to prevent the forests from burning down.
- Trees can naturally spawn on stone, sand, and clay. It is unknown if this is a bug.
- Large jungle trees have dirt generated under them if they spawn with part over air or leaves.
- Oak trees drop red apples on occasion, so naming them oak trees is botanically incorrect.
- On rare occasions, jungle trees can sometimes exceed cloud level. (Y-coord 128)
An underground tree farm.
- Leaves Difference.png
3 of the 4 different types of leaves.
- 2012-03-08 15.52.33.png
Time-efficient tree farming (for oak and birch trees).
- 2011-10-23 20.16.20.png
A birch tree that was generated growing on nothing above a lake.
A group of spruce trees.
A giant, floating treetop, formed when the player set it ablaze with a Flint and Steel.
- 2011-10-11 18.48.25.png
Sugar cane that naturally generated though a tree.
- 2011-10-17 17.37.55.png
Trees can even generate in ravines.
A tree spawned on stone, over a lava lake.
- 2012-06-14 20.29.48.png
A tree generated on a sand block.