Tree seeds

Tree seeds

As with most plants, trees also produce seeds, which they release into the environment, inside fleshy fruits, solid pine cones, berries, winged samaras. Most tree seeds are quite large in size, but not always: many trees produce minute or very small seeds, in large quantities. Think for example of a fruit tree, such as the cherry or the apple tree, which produces thousands of fruits every year, within which we find one or more seeds. Most of the seeds produced by the trees are protected within thick shells, so that any ingestion by the animals does not damage them irreparably: once they have escaped with the faeces, they can germinate, far from the tree that produced them.

Why sow a tree

Generally, garden trees are purchased in the nursery, already developed up to 60-100-120 cm in height; to obtain a small tree from seed, it usually takes a few years of patient cultivation. But this does not stop gardening enthusiasts or bonsai enthusiasts, who try their hand at planting trees of various types. Generally the seeds of treesthey are made to sprout in order to better observe the growth of these plants, to be able to enjoy the development from its beginning, instead of buying a small tree already done. But often the sowing of trees also depends on the desire to obtain exotic plants in pots, seen during an excursion to a remote place, impossible to find in the nursery: gardening enthusiasts are often stimulated by challenges, more than by the cultivation of ordinary plants and common. Also, tree seeds are usually cheap, and on a walk around town we can find hundreds of them simply by picking them up from the ground.

How a tree is sown

In nature, many tree seeds are protected by a water-repellent, hard and thick skin; this is to avoid that the digestion by the animals damages them, or that the permanence on the ground during the winter months compromises their germination: for a tree to come to life, it is often important that its seed is far from the mother plant (which would shade it excessively), and that the water gets inside. If you have collected acorns or chestnuts from the ground, you can simply place them in a seedbed, as they are. If, on the other hand, you have collected seeds of maple, fruit trees, conifers, it is necessary to slightly remove the thick cuticle that covers them; generally sandpaper is used, or for the more experienced a diluted solution of acids that dissolve the coating: it is not necessary to completely crack the peel, just thin it, so as to allow the water to penetrate. This operation is called scarification.

An artificial winter

If you have collected seeds directly in nature, it is important to evaluate the vegetation cycle of the plants from which you have taken them. Many trees produce fruits and seeds in summer and autumn: the fruits and seeds will be carried by the wind or will fall to the ground near the plant, or will be ingested by various types of animals; afterwards they will spend the whole cold season outdoors, on the ground, and then germinate when the spring heat arrives. If you have seeds picked from the ground in autumn, avoid sowing them immediately, you will have to let them overwinter first. To simulate the passing of winter, it is important that the seeds have a few weeks at low temperatures. Then, after having possibly scarified the seeds, place them in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts, well dry, placed in a tightly closed plastic bag. The bag should be placed in the refrigerator, at about 4 ° C, for at least a month, in order to simulate the winter season. After 4-6 weeks, take out the bag and sow your tree.

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