Regrowing a Forest

lemiwinksApril 25, 2014

My local Cub Scout camp has had a lot of bad luck with the past hurricanes, losing over 700 trees.
What I would like to do is collect seeds from the trees on camp and cultivate them to regrow the forest. The types of trees I know are on camp are Locust, Black Walnut, White Pine, Cherry, Rock Maple, Northern Ash, Whitewood. Beyond that, I dont know know more specifics, I'm in New Jersey If it helps.
What I don't know is:
1) What part of the tree makes up the seeds (what do I collect)?
2) Do they need stratification/germination?
3) Can the saplings be planted within the woods? In the clearings where the old trees fell or will the stumps and roots kill them?

I would love to organize this in a grander scale if possible, getting the local scout troops to help out if possible

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Neat project...

Walnuts will grow readily from discarded well, walnuts lol.

skip the ash if it is a real Fraxinus family ash tree. Emerald Ash Borer is headed your way.

Don't plant RIGHT on or at the stumps but I bet a meter or two away would be fine. Look how close them forest trees grow anyway.

I would go the bare root method if I could dedicate or collect a couple hundred dollars and get a few helpers. Never done a project on this scale before though. Wonder what others would say.

Your state looks like it has similar state sponsored small tree sales to mine. 100 of any one species is a few. They list black cherry which you listed. Tulip poplar is IMO a very under rated tree. Red, white and scarlet oaks are all winners also I feel. As are redbuds. The dogwoods and black gums are desirable but I find them to be a difficult transplant.

Good luck, let us know how it goes.

Here is a link that might be useful: New Jersey DEP Bare Root Site

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 11:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

1.) Locust produces bean like pods...the seeds inside are the seeds. Walnuts are the the seeds of black walnut. The White Pine's seeds are inside the closed pinescones...put large unopened cones in a paper bag and when they open they will release seeds. The seeds of the Cherry are the Cherry Pits. You have to remove every bit of the fruit for the seed to sprout. The little spinny propeller things have the maple seeds in them.
3.) The stumps and roods of dead trees won't harm saplings. The shade of living trees may, and competition for water with the roots of living trees may.

Check with your local county soil conservation office and conservation groups to see if you can get plugs and bare root trees in bulk.

Timing matters. You either want to plant the trees right now, or grow them in greenhouses and plant them outside in the Fall.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 11:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your state forestry dept. may offer seedlings for sale. Typically these are sold when they are dormant and can be planted bare-root. I would check with them if available. Growing trees from seed takes at least a year and would take more effort. Typically you would plant the seeds in pots and transplant after first year in dormant season. Each tree and its seeds have different requirements.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

every county in the US has a COUNTY agricultural extension office ...

find yours.. and contact them ... they should offer you assistance in this


    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 8:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If this was an actual forest and not mowed lawn among the trees, there should already be a bunch of seedlings growing in the understory.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 9:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Ditto. There should already be a pile of small trees racing to the light in the clearings. They stay small, about 2-3 ft tall until the space shows up. Anything you plant is going to be at a disadvantage regarding the established saplings.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 10:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

And again - natural regeneration should occur if mature trees are removed. The babies, released from the gloom and competition are already poised to grow up and replace the parents. At least they should be.

However, gathering and growing tree seed would be a good project and would do no harm, providing you chose species suitable for the area.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 4:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A number of the stumps may put out new growth. I wonder to what extent this will contribute to new forest formation?

As to this:

" The stumps and roods of dead trees won't harm saplings."

While true in the direct sense, I believe, the rotting high-carbon dead wood may tie up considerable nitrogen from the soil. Whether this has a significant impact on nitrogen availability that may impact new plantings I don't know.

It may be that instead of trying to replant a whole forest, you guys could choose a number of 'specimen trees' to plant, focusing your efforts on several individual trees. Choose different species and it becomes a learning experience.

After all, why would someone choose, oh, say, red oak over white oak, or either over sugar maple, and where does black gum fit into all this, and if tulip poplar grows so fast, big and tall and looks good why isn't is more 'popular' (couldn't resist), etc...?

It's be interesting to have different scouts or scout groups research different tree options, including on here, sticking to native species, and 'make the case' for different trees in different habitats, and maybe even have them vote on choices.

Even if you demand a mix, let's say you were going to plant 10 of 1 tree, 8 of another, 5 of another, 3, 2 and 1. Maybe they could pick which tree got more plantings?


    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 5:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all the input, I'll have the ranger of the camp help me wander the area and see how many sprouts are developing. I figured that would happen, but I know some of the trees came down in places that get trampled by scouts looking for firewood and just general wandering, so I figured planting seeds or sapling gives me some control and knowledge of where growth is happening and where we need to rope off for a while.

I'll look into the available material from the parks department, it looks like they have the seedling packets available.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 6:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

natural regeneration defeats the purpose of him earning some badge thru scouts ...

he needs to discuss this with the extension office.. so they can provide some ideas ... perhaps even a reference to a state forester ...


my soil conservation office ... which is associated with the extension office.. offers one foot pine trees.. and other trees.. for less than a dollar a piece .. at proper planting times ... the parks department mows park grass ... if you get my drift ..

i am not sure you told us where you are.. but see link.. for how i would approach this in MI ....

good luck

Here is a link that might be useful: first link has info on how to contact an expert .. second link lists the offices by county .... historically.. the land grant colleges are know by the word STATE .. as in MI STATE/OH STATE/etc .. and that is usually which state school has a forestry program.. which is associated with the Extension offices... not a hard and fast rule... but pretty close

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 9:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
famartin(z5 NE NV)

If I was in your shoes, I would allow natural regeneration to take its course. However, it would be wise to comb the area sporadically in order to make sure invasive species like Ailanthus altissima or Acer platanoides don't take the opportunity to invade. Hell, even Acer palmatum can invade forests in New Jersey, I've seen it with my own two eyes.

Of course, you'll need to be able to identify invasive species, so a course at Rutgers or some intensive self-study of tree identification guides would be useful.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 4:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

deer/rabbits are going to be the biggest hurtles you will have to face. Every tree you plant will need to be protected in some way to prevent them from being eaten or damaged.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 5:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Consider the wildlife food potential of different tree species. I've heard the term 'mast' used in this regard. Oaks churning out lots of acorns come to mind.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 5:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

what greenthumbzdude said. I recently went to the Broad Creek scout camp. This is a very large BSA property. The understory is absolutely scoured of vegetation. This camp has a large deer herd.
Last week I heard a great talk about reintroducing American Chestnuts to four locations in Pennsylvania. By far the greatest hurdle was protecting each and every tree with shelters until it was too high for deer to reach. This requires a commitment over many years.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 8:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
famartin(z5 NE NV)

I think those situations (where the understory is scoured by deer) are a bit different. Under a full canopy, understory vegetation can't deal with the shade AND the deer, but with opening providing much greater light, I think the situation would be a bit different. It would allow for natural regeneration at least. Now, if the OP still wants to plant their own selection of trees, then yeah, I'd protect them, but I still find that a bit of a waste of money.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 8:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Natural recruitment, as so many have already stated, should be your first or primary source for the "new" forest. This goes on all the time in nature.

Then, as also already mentioned, two issues could still cause issues: If buckthorn, Tatarian honeysuckle, etc. is present, these will have to be eradicated. Cut/treat applications in the fall are the best bet for this task. And deer could influence what species are able to recolonize the site. You'll just have to watch over time and see what's happening there. For example, you didn't mention hemlock (And yes, you're in the HWA area) but if this were in my part of the world, I'd be watching to see if the ambient deer herd was allowing that tree to join the others in forming the new stand of trees. I offer that just as an example. Your details may vary. But above all, the genetics of what you had there before is already in place, coming up on the forest floor. It would be counterproductive to not work with this. Maybe your merit badge can be reworked somehow to accomodate the reality of the situation.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 2:27PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Temporary Potting Small Trees - Central Florida
I have a small Magnolia tree, about 2 1/2' tall, and...
Rutgers Dogwood/Azaleas for corner lot feature - Venus a good one?
Went to a local nursery and finally found some Rutgers...
Snapped Fiddle Leaf Fig
Hi All, This afternoon I took my Fiddle Leaf Fig to...
Belle Roberts
My Yoshino cherry tree hasn't bloomed yet
I live in GA and have a Yoshino cherry tree that I've...
Vulcan Magnolia
Just purchased a 4.5 inch "Vulcan"
Sponsored Products
Stencil Dining Side Chair Set of 2 in Blue
$159.00 | LexMod
Patio Living Concepts Outdoor Lighting. San Juan 34 in. Bronze Outdoor Table Lam
Home Depot
LZF | Linkchain 4 Suspension Light
River City Clocks MD420-13 Dancers with Waterwheel & Girl on Rocking Horse Black
$867.30 | Hayneedle
Black Forest Eight-Day Musical Antique 14-Inch Cuckoo Clock
Teak Espresso Doormat
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™