How physically strong are plants and trees?

Most of us have probably noticed saplings which have pushed themselves through thick tarmac or even cracks in concrete - and not to mention root systems. So, how strong is this vegetation? And could the force be compared to man-made engineering such as hydraulics? Was hydraulics/pneumatics in engineering founded on... show more Most of us have probably noticed saplings which have pushed themselves through thick tarmac or even cracks in concrete - and not to mention root systems. So, how strong is this vegetation? And could the force be compared to man-made engineering such as hydraulics? Was hydraulics/pneumatics in engineering founded on the pure fact of studying nature?

How do plants create such forces in energy? How do they do it? How can this true force and power be measured?
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