sap·​wood | \ ˈsap-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce sapwood (audio) \

Definition of sapwood

: the younger softer living or physiologically active outer portion of wood that lies between the cambium and the heartwood and is more permeable, less durable, and usually lighter in color than the heartwood

Examples of sapwood in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web First, the woodpeckers drill through the resinous sapwood, stopping occasionally to let the sap build up on the exterior, which forms a protective plate around the two-to-three-inch-wide entry hole. National Geographic, "How wildfires have helped these woodpeckers make a comeback," 17 Sep. 2020 The construction-common and deck-common grades of redwood decking are both streaked with sapwood and contain knots. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Choose The Right Material For Your Deck," 7 June 2020 The RegisTree—a knotty trunk with a computer, camera, and printer embedded in its sapwood—presented me with options: aqua, digi, mycoverse, bee, seedling. Michael Calore, Wired, "Duuuuude. What Happens If the Earth Gains Consciousness?," 11 Feb. 2020 Eight of the 13 samples were narrowed down to be dated between 40 and 60 A.D., using the sapwood present. Fox News, "Ancient Rome 'built on timber imported from more than 1,000 miles away,' study finds," 7 Dec. 2019 These girdling roots cause compression of the stem and sapwood. Rebecca Jepsen, The Mercury News, "Bay Area gardens: How to cope with Japanese maple dieback," 28 Aug. 2019 This can also occur when trees are planted too deep, as adventitious (growing sideways from the stem) roots grow against the stem and squeeze the sapwood. Rebecca Jepsen, The Mercury News, "Bay Area gardens: How to cope with Japanese maple dieback," 28 Aug. 2019 If the swing is true, there will resonate from the tree — through still-growing sapwood to the compressed cells of the dying core — a deeply satisfying, percussive boom, scattering birds and startling deer. Jonny Diamond, Longreads, "Lumbersexuality, a Sport and a Pastime," 8 June 2019 The evaluation assesses the tree’s vigor, the thickness of its sapwood shell, its disease stresses, the state of the roots and the like. Adrian Higgins, idahostatesman, "Old trees will tell you when their time is up | Idaho Statesman," 17 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sapwood.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sapwood

1791, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for sapwood

Time Traveler

The first known use of sapwood was in 1791

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Last Updated

24 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sapwood.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for sapwood


sap·​wood | \ ˈsap-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce sapwood (audio) \

Kids Definition of sapwood

: young wood through which sap travels that is found just beneath the bark of a tree and is usually lighter in color than the heartwood

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