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How old does a tree need to be to bloom?

Posted by smord NJ z6 (My Page) on
Wed, Dec 30, 09 at 15:05

Hi! As I'm planning to landscape my backyard, I'm wondering how long i should expect to wait before new baby trees I plant will bloom. Since I've had so much luck ordering perennials (through bluestoneperennials) and such bad luck with my local nurseries, I assumed I would do the same for small flowering trees (forestfarm.com anyone?) - maybe some dogwoods, redbuds, hammelis....

Should I plant little mail-order trees and then plant flowers to keep me happy until the trees are old enough to bloom, or should I buy bigger older trees from nurseries figuring they'll bloom sooner?

Thanks!
-Sarah


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How old does a tree need to be to bloom?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 30, 09 at 17:09

Grafted named selections often flowering already when brought home from garden center. Specimens raised instead from seed will take some years to bloom.

Plan on having both flowering trees and herbaceous (non-woody) plants in finished design. A good balance is a few widely spaced trees, some shrubs and a lot of herbaceous plants - where you have the interest, money and time to maintain substantial areas of herbaceous plants. Otherwise use all shrubs (and trees) instead. Smaller-growing shrubs can be used where the perennials, annuals and bulbs might have been planted to give a similar general effect with less work.


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RE: How old does a tree need to be to bloom?

flowers are all about sexual maturity ...

when that will happen is left to the fates .... and the size you begin with ...

redbud.. e.g. .. if you buy a 6 to 8 foot.. 2 inch caliper tree .... which might be 10 years old... it will likely flower the first or second spring ...

if you start with a seed or a mail order 2 year seedling ... or a graft .... you will have a long wait ...

you are the new mom form the other post ???? .... your question is akin to asking when your babe will hit the same point in time ... who knows ...

if you ask about a specific plant.. and a specific size .. we might get you in the ballpark ... but it will still be all speculation ... in other words.. if you buy bigger.. something that is already mature... it will just be a question of getting over transplant shock .. which can sometimes interfere with flowering ...

make sense .... ???

ken


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RE: How old does a tree need to be to bloom?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 30, 09 at 18:09

Grafts may and often do bloom in quite small sizes. In fact, flowering trees not having begun flowering may sit unsold in garden centers here.


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RE: How old does a tree need to be to bloom?

"(forestfarm.com anyone?) "
I love forestfarm. I call them to place my orders. They have a great selection of a wide variety of plants and they pack what they ship WELL! My in-laws gets glass plates and bowls delivered less well packaged than forestfarm packs their plants.

If you're just looking for a dozen of a more generic red maple there are bound to be cheaper sources. Even your state department of forestry. Forestfarm really hits the nail on the head letting me order a variegated holly or two plus some form of purple beech and this and that.


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RE: How old does a tree need to be to bloom?

The general age at which a tree blooms depends on the species and how is was propagated. Many trees can take decades to flower and fruit, but some nursery grown trees usually bloom at a very young age because they are propagated vegatively. Red buds and dogwoods growing from seed in the wild usually take less than 10 years until first blooms. I'm unfamiliar with hammelis.


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RE: How old does a tree need to be to bloom?

In Spring 2002 I planted a 1 yr old Cornus kousa seedling. It bloomed for the first time in Spring 2007, when it was 6 years old. That might be on the early side for a seedling.


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RE: How old does a tree need to be to bloom?

I've had Hamamelis flower from seed in three years. But they are still small plants and the impact isn't huge. Unless you're into the native species (which aren't as spectacular as the x intermedia types), you'd never want a seed grown witchhazel anyway. The flowers are usually much smaller and less colorful than the cultivars. No one sells seedlings even if you wanted them.

If you want a dogwood on the East Coast, you'll need an anthracnose resistant variety. "Appalachian Spring" is the cultivar I hear most often for this. Whether purchased locally or by mail-order, it will be a vegetatively produced clone and will bloom quickly, if the plant is in good health.

Redbuds could be from seed or from vegetatively produced sources. A seed grown redbud grows fast and blooms young. Not a huge issue.

ForestFarm is great. I like their selection and their plants are usually pretty good quality. But their plants are small and shipping to the East Coast is very expensive. If I can find a plant from a local nursery, it's usually a better all around value to buy it there. For something rare, ForestFarm is a great resource.

Scott


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RE: How old does a tree need to be to bloom?

Sarah, since you are in NJ, you should see how close you are to Fairweather Gardens or Rare Find Nursery, both super fine mail order nurseries with very knowledgable owners. I order woodies from them almost exclusively, but you could buy on site and get larger plants. Both have fabulous collections of magnolias, as well as huge choices of other trees and shrubs.


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RE: How old does a tree need to be to bloom?

when i wrote my response.. i think. in the back of my head.. i was thinking about conifers ....

which can take upwards of 10 to 20 years to cone .. sometimes ....

cones.. flowers... its all about the seed production.. and when the plant gets to that age ...

ken


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