‘Survivor’: Why Don’t They Show the Tribes Receiving Their Tree Mail Anymore?

If you are a longtime fan of Survivor, you already know what tree mail is and might be wondering why it is missing. If you are new to the show, you know what a hidden immunity idol is, but you probably have no idea what tree mail is.

Now that Survivor 40: Winners at War is underway, let’s take a look at whether or not contestants still receive tree mail. If they do, why aren’t the producers airing the segments?

Tree Mail
Survivor contestants gather around tree mail | Timothy Kuratek/CBS via Getty Images

What is ‘Survivor’ tree mail?

When the game first began, contestants on Survivor opened a scroll message before game-related events such as challenges. The tree mail gives clues about upcoming twists and other events in the form of a poem. 

Fans used to live-tweet about #treemail often because it gave clues to immunity challenges as well as the tribe merge. There is also tree mail at Redemption Island and the Edge of Extinction. 

Back in 2017, runner-up Chrissy Hofbeck tweeted photos of tree mail during her season Survivor 35: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers

“Prolly just not enough time to make the edit, but def a super fun part of our days when tree mail appeared!!” Hofbeck wrote after her season. 

Why did the ‘Survivor’ producers stop showing tree mail?

“They stopped showing it because it takes away from strategic content,” wrote one Reddit user.

As the game began to get more complicated, the producers needed to cut a few things. Sadly, tree mail was one of those items. 

“Or to show literally anything else,” added another fan. “Reading tree mail is not really good content.”

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“The tribe has spoken” #Survivor

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It typically does not further the game in any way, except to allude to what challenges might be coming up next. Some fans thought the poems on the tree mail were reasonably cheesy. Other viewers enjoyed hearing contestants’ responses to it.

“They stopped showing it around Cagayan/San Juan Del Sur, so quite a while ago,” commented a knowledgeable viewer. “Honestly, some of those tree mail had really cheesy writing.”

Additionally, with so many more hidden immunity idols, it’s hard to make time for reading mail. 

Do contestants still receive tree mail during ‘Survivor 40: Winners at War’?

Yes, the Survivor contestants still receive tree mail to give clues about challenges and upcoming events on the islands. Dalton Ross from Entertainment Weekly recently shared a deleted scene of the Sele tribe receiving their tree mail. 

“Classic players, a classic battle,” Boston Rob Mariano reads the tree mail. “Will you cower or lead the fray? Charge hard or get left on the field. Tonight another one goes away.”

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From the cryptic message, the tribe decides that the challenge will be from a previous season. The contestants also note that it indicates someone will be going home at tribal council that evening.

The press writer who often is on location with the show indicated that they never show the scenes anymore, but tree mail is alive and well in season 40. 

Catch new episodes of Survivor 40: Winners at War Wednesdays at 8 pm ET on CBS.

Read more: ‘Survivor 40: Winners at War’: Last Night’s Episode Revealed Why Tony Won and Russell Never Will