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growing trees from seed

Posted by campanula UK Cambridge (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 21, 13 at 5:23

Who does? I have 5 acres of neglected poplar wood (almost 300 trees), most of which will be felled over the next 5-10 years. Although I am going to replant with natives (90%), I still would like to grow a few specimens such as sequoia gigantea (which grows well around here), metasequoia glyptostroboides and my favourites - sorbus sp. I have already sown hornbeam (carpinus), alder, black pine (another which grows locally), betula pubescens, linden and acer campestre....and have various seeds on order. However, although I grow perennials from seed, trees, simply because I never had space, are new to me. Anyone else doing it? do tell, especially such useful stuff as timeframes and pros and cons of seeds vs 1/2 year old trees.
On a side note, which trees have been successfully propagated from hardwood cuttings? (I have black poplar and willow on the go - how about hazel (corylus avellana?)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: growing trees from seed

Is there any hazel already in your wood? If so you can layer it. I find that hazel is also quite a frequent self sower on my allotment.


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RE: growing trees from seed

Growing the trees from seed is by far the best way for quite a number of reasons. The main one being genetic diversity. Many of not all "named" trees we get are all grafted clones of the same tree. If that one tree has any maladies, then those will be shown in all of the clones. Think of the apple industry. You will get one of a kind trees which are suited to the area where the seeds were harvested. When growing from seed you should try to get as localy sourced as you can. Diversity is the main ammo in the battle against deforestation and disease.

The only real down side is the time it can take to get some of them to attain any real size. A butternut can take 10 years to reach fruiting size. Hickories take longer. A ginkgo can take 10 years to attain any real size. Sequoia are a good choice because they can reach 20 feet in less then 10 years ( also for metasequoia).

Alder is a great choice because it tends to process atmospheric nitogen and bring it to the soil. It basically fertilizes the land. They should be interplanted amung the other trees to aid in growth.

The only thing you may need to keep in mind is stratification. This is a period of cold to break down germination inhibitors. This can be anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months, depending on tree. THis can mean planting them on site, or using a fridge.

Another thing to keep in mind is that soem trees will be sensitive the first year after germination, and need to be up potted mid summer and protected in winter, then planting while dormant, or here in zone 4 its after last frost.

You should also maybe think of getting your native oaks.


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RE: growing trees from seed

How I envy you, I would love to plant acres of land by seed! I agree with canadianplant that one of the big advantages is genetic diversity. This is an advantage not only for avoiding disease problems, but provides visual diversity as well, in terms of growth habit and fall color. If I was doing this, I would harvest seeds from a variety of local trees that appeal to you for whatever reason. Mail order is fine as well, but getting seeds from various sources will increase the genetic diversity.

If you can plant the seeds in place, the tree will have the advantage of never having their roots disturbed, and you can avoid some of the potential root issues that arise from growing in containers (such as circling roots that eventually girdle the tree)

The problem with planting the seeds in place is that you will probably get a much lower germination/survival rate, depending on how much care you can give them.

Alex


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RE: growing trees from seed

I put some two hundred chestnuts in the soil a few years back, but only two germinated. I think the rodents found most of the other and ate them. That is always a risk with putting precious seeds in the ground without guarding them.

I do also have some land that I am replanting by a wide variety of trees. Some froom seed, most from saplings. It is quite an unusual hobby but very rewarding.


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RE: growing trees from seed

FWIW,
My tree addiction leads me to try something in way of seed every year. Some seed I collect locally, so I have ordered. I grow them out for a couple years in pots, then plant. Nearly all of them I give away, so can't say I have tried to plant acres by this method. However, I will say that many species grow surprising fast by this method.

Arktrees


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RE: growing trees from seed

There surely is, Flora, but nothing like as much as I would like. I was going to try hardwood cuttings with 'em and also planting nuts because layering, supposedly easy-peasy, is always a bit tricky for me - probably doesn't help to trip or tread over the carefully layered branches.
I have been sourcing seeds from here and there - from my local botanic garden, the other nearby woods, my local cemetary, and an agro-forestry site for things like hickory. If I can find something for free, I will definitely plant it (this tight-fistedness is de rigeur amongst allotmenteers - right, Flora?) I am sowing seeds in my usual seed mix, a pretty free draining loam, in deep pots, stacked against the greenhouse. Netting should, I hope, keep the insanely nosey blackbirds and other marauders out of the pots.
Yep, growing trees is an epic feeling for took me by surprise.


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RE: growing trees from seed

Campanula - acorns are a cinch and there's been a massive crop this year. Just pot them up, protect from animals and wait. I've got several young oaks in my wood which I did that way.

Our parks department dumps the leaves from the local parks and botanical gardens on our allotments so we get quite a few random seedling trees appearing. I have two baby red horse chestnuts in pots which showed up in the leaves I was using as mulch.

You are quite right about the shoestring ethos of allotmenteering. The most hilarious thing I know of is two plots where the people pay a gardener to do their allotments! Totally against the true make do and mend ethos.


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RE: growing trees from seed

You should plant at least one Holm oak. It is illegal to ship the tree or it's seeds overseas to other countries. I think that there is a grafted variety that can be shipped out of Europe, but I am not 100% sure. There is one at Cardiff Castle that I was lucky enough to see in 2001, when I vacationed to the UK. I think it is worth growing, it grows into a grande tree.


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RE: growing trees from seed

Holm Oak self sows in Norfolk but Campanula's ground might be a bit too wet for it. (Do I remember aright that that's where you are Campanula?)

Here is a link that might be useful: Holm Oak in Norfolk


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RE: growing trees from seed

Many trees do well in a deep pot made from a milk carton, 2 litre size, with lots of holes in the bottom. I do oaks and chestnuts that way, maples too. This gets around seed predators eating the nuts/seeds and you can hold the seeds in a bag of damp soil in the vegie drawer of your fridge till a month or so before it's time to plant outside. Here, I can plant tomatoes the first of June, so I hold acorns and chestnuts till mid April or so and pot up. They get some size on them before it's time to harden them off like tomatoes and the milk cartons are easy to tear when it's time to get the tree out to plant it. If you have plastic milk jugs, just cut them down two sides with scissors or a knife, when it's time to let the tree out to plant it. Use good soil from your garden, or from the woods you are going to plant them in. garden soil may need some bark chips or something else added to make a loose mix...lots of air.


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RE: growing trees from seed

Holm oak is actually doing well around my woods and will deffo be on my list. Although the ground is wet along the south east side, it is also shelly sand and very well drained so I will be planting downy birch and river birch with the sallow along the river edge of the wood but dryer species on the rising ground towards the north and west sides. Pedunculate oak, is our next most common tree, along with hazel, alder and white poplar (am trying black poplars from cuttings as the seeds are so recalcitrant with a viability of about 30minutes (it feels). Oh yeah, goat willow and a couple of hornbeams are trying to survive so will be trying more carpinus. Obvs, ash is out of the question now that chalara is everywhere in Norfolk but Zelkova serrulata maybe?
Just for fun, have seeds of Parottia persica, cladrastus and tilia on the go....and various laburnum for the turning timber. along with a couple of redwoods (Sequioa grows really well here). I am using long pint size disposable tumblers as they allow for a decent rooting length as well as letting me see the roots.


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RE: growing trees from seed

If you have Goat WIllow I think that will be everywhere when it gets a chance. I had Japanese Knotweed in my wood. When that had been tackled Buddleja came in by itself and now Goat Willow is succeeding it - but I do have heavy soil and springs. Amongst the GW ash is self sowing and I have planted oak. FIngers crossed no signs of ADB yet.

Oh - did you mention Acer campestre? Got to have that one. And Spindle.


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RE: growing trees from seed

Oh yeah, spindle - I already have the little E.alatus compactus (which stubbornly fails to do the wild pink leaf thing) and have a little stash of E.europaus seeds (apols for dodgy spelling) and yep, definitely acer campestre (along with A.ginnala and A,saccharum (I have been sorely tempted to save seeds fronm a gorgeous silver maple nearby - I love the saccharinums). Although, I have to say, the two words which always pull me up - Double Dormancy - are written there, in the seed databases re. acers.

Gotta rail myself back....but fortunately, this is a long term project.


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RE: growing trees from seed

Most of my trees now are ones I grow from seed. Usually plant several seeds in 5 gallon pots in fall and leave them outside for natural stratification. Will prune to one if several germinate. Bur Oak, Live Oak, Cedar Elm, pecan, Eastern Red Cedar, Arizona Cypress, and Bald Cypress are the ones I have planted from seed. I prefer trees from seed vs cloning, because you never know exactly what you are going to get. (this is precisely the reason some people prefer clones!) Mine are usually about 18" high when planted out, which is often the second year.


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RE: growing trees from seed

Sounds like you are going to have fun with your little trees. Be sure and post pictures when you get them started. The rest of us would enjoy them almost as much as you will.


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