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The treeblog trees

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treeblog update (Set C, Day 522): the downy birches (Part 2)

Downy birch No. 16.

This post continues from Sunday’s Part 1, which featured the other eight seedlings.

Downy birch No. 21.

Downy birch No. 22.

Downy birch No. 23. In the last Set C downy birch update (Day 426 – 11th May), I was in some doubt as to whether No. 23 was actually alive. In an even earlier update (Day 389 – 4th April), I really did think it had died (along with No. 16). Evidently that was not the case!

Downy birch No. 25: a near-death experience has turned it into treeblog’s only forked birch seedling.

Downy birch No. 27.

Downy birch No. 28: the shortest of the cohort at approx. 2 cm. A few dead leaves suggest the poor chap has had a brush with death.

Downy birch No. 30.

Posted in The treeblog trees

treeblog update (Set C, Day 522): the downy birches (Part 1)

Downy birch No. 1 – the tallest of the birches.

It’s been three months since the last treeblog update on the Set C downy birches. They’ve made decent progress since then. See them as they are today (522 days after I planted them as seeds) in this update and see them as they were 96 days ago in the last update on Day 426. Since then downy birch No. 12 has died. That leaves us with sixteen seedlings - Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28 and 30 – the tallest (No. 1) and shortest (No. 28) of which are about 12 cm and 2 cm tall respectively.

I repotted all the remaining downy birches this afternoon. They were long overdue; many of the seedlings had been paired together in their tiny plant pots since last year, and over the summer loads of self-seeded silver birches had sprung up in the pots. While I was at it I repotted Set A cider gum No. 3 (the Runt), which has been living in the same tiny pot since summer 2007!

Downy birch No. 2 – there was a caterpillar on the stem today, which I relocated onto a mature silver birch. The leading shoot has recently been eaten, probably by the caterpillar!

Downy birch No. 4.

Downy birch No. 5.

Some of the seedlings have tiny yellow spots on their leaves, like No. 10 below. I think these are birch rust (Melampsoridium betulinum), a fungus that causes premature defoliation. The fungi produces spores in the spring from last year’s infected leaves that over-wintered in the leaf litter; these spores infect larch needles, and later in the year the larch fungi produce different spores that infect birch leaves. According to Diagnosis of Ill-health in Trees by Strouts & Winter, “This alternation of the fungus between two unrelated host plants is the classic ‘text-book’, full life cycle of a rust fungus.”

Downy birch No. 10.

Downy birch No. 13.

Downy birch No. 14.

Downy birch No. 15.

* * * * *

That was the first eight seedlings; for the other eight you’ll have to see Part 2!

Posted in The treeblog trees

Set A grey alders update (Day 1180)

Grey alder No. 1 – by far the best of the alders these days. Diameter of main stem at base (øα) = 9 cm. Diameter at breast height (øβ) = 4 cm.

Ye be warned: herein there be bad news... I went on a mission to check up on the grey alders (Alnus incana) on Sunday (Set A, Day 1180). It was a pretty warm day but it wasn’t a patch on yesterday and today (27 °C in Sheffield this afternoon!).

Alder No. 1 looks pretty fantastic. When I planted these four bad boys in April, No. 1 was the tallest of the bunch; I’d say it also ended up getting planted in the best position. It has not been slack in building on these advantages; even though its lower branches have been browsed by sheep, its upper branches are nice and leafy and it has a lovely, straight stem. This straightness was threatened by the development of a fork right at the top of the main stem, but I intervened with a wee prune to ensure a single leader.

Here’s the resulting (neat and tiny) wound at the top of No. 1’s main stem. I removed the left stem at the fork (only about 20 cm long), so the right stem can continue as the main stem, keeping the tree a single-stemmer. I think that’s the first instance of a treeblog tree being pruned!

Grey alder No. 2 – it was the shortest of the alders when I planted them in the wild, being about as tall as I am. It’s still the same height, and it doesn’t really have a whole lot of leaves, but at least the sheep haven’t inflicted any new damage. As with No. 1, No. 2’s lower branches are damaged and leafless, but most of this damage was inflicted in the first couple of weeks after planting. Unfortunately, the tip of its leader has died, but No. 2 has previously had to put up with having its leader nibbled off. øα = 9 cm. øβ = 2 cm.

Grey alder No. 3 – currently the second-tallest of the four, but looking distinctly scraggly. øα = 9.5 cm. øβ = 4 cm. Like Nos. 2 and 4, it is having to compete with quite a bit of bracken (Pteridium aquilinum). It’s also taken quite a mauling from the marauding sheeps:

Here’s a selection of some of the damage inflicted to No. 3’s stem by our ovine friends. The end photos show bark-stripping damage to the lower stem, while the centre photo shows a wound on the upper stem where a branch has been ripped off.

This sorry specimen is grey alder No. 4. Not so very long ago this was miles ahead of its fellow alders and treeblog’s flagship tree. Now it’s just a green stick, stripped of its leaves and dignity by a band of woolly bastards. What a tragedy to befall such a promising young sapling! Its leader is dead too. I have serious doubts that No. 4 will be able to survive in this state for much longer. øα = 9 cm. øβ = 2 cm.

Here’s the very top of No. 4, showing the dead leader on the right and two small and unhealthy leaves (arrowed).

The photo on the left shows bark-stripping damage, along with a few wisps of black wool (evidence). The centre photo shows one of the handful of tiny leaves yet remaining on the tree; as soon as these appear, the sheep must be eating them away. The photo on the right shows a horrible slash on the main stem near its base – could a sheep have done this too?

And there you have it: grey alder No. 4 is totally screwed. Nos. 2 and 3 aren’t doing as well as I hoped. No. 1 is doing fine, but the sheep could strike at any time. Bloody nuisances. I went out of my way to plant these four trees in places where they wouldn’t be touched by the hand of man, but ironically they’re suffering instead at the teeth of sheep. What makes it more frustrating is that Nos. 2 and 3 are in a supposedly sheep-proof enclosure, but I saw three sheep in there! Three sheep that seem to prefer the taste of alder over the abundant and plentiful supply of rowan and birch that’s on offer.

Posted in The treeblog trees

Set A Scots pines update (Days 1162 & 1172). Set D beeches update (Days 232 to 255).

Set A: the Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris)

Scots pine Alpha on Saturday (Day 1172). Look how the next generation of needles have begun to spring out from the new candles!

Here it is again ten days earlier, on Day 1162 (June 2nd); notice how the needles haven’t yet started growing in earnest.

Here’s Scots pine Gamma on Day 1162…

…and here it is ten days later, on Saturday. What a difference! You can check out both pines (and the PSAUS) as they were on Day 1149 in the last Scots pine update.

Set D(b): the beeches (Fagus sylvatica)

It’s the cut- or fern-leaved beech on Day 235 (May 23rd). But is it a cut-leaved beech? Its mother certainly is, but look at its leaves…

…they just look like normal European beech leaves (photo taken on Day 245 - June 2nd). Will future leaves be cut-leaved? Here’s the is it / isn’t it situation as I currently read it:

While there may exist actual wholly cut-leaved cultivars (where every cell contains the freak cut-leaved DNA), it seems that most cut-leaved beeches are ‘chimaeras’. In these chimaeras the inner tissues are identical to the normal European beech, but they are enveloped by the cells of the sport [a sport is defined as ‘a genetic freak’ by the Collins Tree Guide]. In other words, a cut-leaved beech is really a normal beech tree coated in a cut-leaved beech skin. That’s why branches with normal leaves will sometimes sprout, especially after an injury: the freakish skin has been removed and normality has been exposed to the outside world. I don’t know for sure one way or the other – I can’t find an answer anywhere – but I can imagine that the nuts of a cut-leaved beech tree are normal beech nuts wrapped (or not) in a cut-leaved skin. If that’s right, I assume these nuts would grow into perfectly normal beech trees free of a cut-leaved skin. If my assumptions are on the money, it would mean that treeblog’s Set D(b) cut-leaved beech is just a bog-standard Eurobeech. Bah.

The cut-leaved (?) beech on Saturday (Day 255). I think from now on it’ll have to be called the Alpha beech instead.

This little chap is the Set D(b) European beech – definitely just a bog-standard European beech, albeit the miracle offspring of a magnificent mature tree. I first noticed this seedling, the Beta beech, on the 18th of May (Day 230). Here it is rising above the soil two and three days later.

A few days later (the 26th and 30th of May) and this tiny beech was standing erect.

By the 2nd of June (Day 245) its cotyledons had opened…

…and by Saturday (Day 255) its first pair of proper leaves were forming. Bravo, Beta beech, bravo. The last Set D(b) update has photos of Alpha beech from Days 213 to 228 and the first photos of Beta beech along with the story of the ‘miracle’.

PSAUS: hopefully a goat willow (Salix caprea)

The PSAUS on Saturday.

Photos from May 30th and June 2nd taken by my father.

* * * * *

This month’s short but sweet Festival of the Trees, hosted by Casey of Wandering Owl Outside, has been up for a fortnight. Go read!

And as June is already half-spent, it’s probably a good time to think about your submission for July’s festival, which will be hosted by Yvonne of The Organic Writer.

Posted in The treeblog trees

Set A cider gums update (Day 1149): Nos. 8 to 15

(Photos taken on Thursday the 20th of May – Set A, Day 1149). Carrying on from where the first part of this update left off…

Cider gum No. 8: while the bud of its leading shoot has been killed by the frosts, more than half of the terminal buds on its branches are doing fine.

No. 8’s damaged leader, surrounded by new shoots.

Cider gum No. 9: must be particularly resilient to frost damage, as the terminal buds on all its upper branches are intact.

A healthy leader.

Cider gum No. 10: while it looks healthy from a distance, up close you can see that all terminal buds along with the leading shoot are dead, and – disturbingly - there is no new growth noticeable. Uh-oh.

No. 10’s dead leader. Notice the lack of replacement shoots.

Cider gum No. 11: I thought this one was stone dead in the last cider gum update, but I was wrong. Like No. 6, No. 11’s roots survived and two new shoots have now sprouted from the base of the stem. The rest of the tree is dead, however.

Shoots! From the roots!

Cider gum No. 12: while the terminal buds on the lower branches are dead, those on the upper ones are alive...

…as is the leader.

Cider gum No. 13: most of the terminal buds are dead, but those on the upper branches are OK.

No. 13’s leader is fine too.

Cider gum No. 14: a Class I gum. Again, most of the terminal buds are dead, apart from some on the upper branches. The leading shoot is alive and well.

No. 14’s leading shoot.

No. 14 also developed flower buds last July, but to date they’ve yet to bloom. I’m doubt they ever will.

And finally, another death: cider gum No. 15 is no more, destroyed by the harshest winter for many a year. Let us remember the life and times of one of treeblog’s smallest cider gums and pay our respects to the departed:

Cider gum No. 15 (2007 – 2010)

* * * * *

I’m off up to Scotland this afternoon to do the Skye Trail. No posts for a week!

Posted in The treeblog trees

Set A cider gums update (Day 1149): Nos. 1 to 7

(Photos taken last Thursday – Set A, Day 1149). Winter 2009/2010 was the harshest for years. It wreaked havoc upon the poor, poor cider gums…

Cider gum No. 1: it’s dead, a victim of the winter of doom. This is quite sad for treeblog - the first Set A death in three years. But instead of mourning, let us celebrate the life of No. 1 by looking back over its photo-timeline:

Cider gum No. 1 (2007 – 2010)… this is Goodbye

Cider gum No. 2: one of the tallest. A true Class I gum. Frost damage: the terminal buds at the tips of all its branches are missing, except for the leader at the top of the tree, which is happily intact!

No.2’s healthy leading shoot – most of the other cider gums weren’t this lucky.

Cider gum No. 3: one of the three Class III gums (the runts). Last Thursday I was 99 percent sure that No. 3 was a goner, but a green stem and that little bit of green remaining in those two leaves gave me hope.

Yesterday my optimism was rewarded! A bud! Cider gum No. 3 is alive! I tell you, it may only be tiny, but this is one stubborn tree. Last year it refused to give up the ghost after the winter of 2008/2009 killed most of it. Don’t write it off just yet! (Photo taken this evening.)

Cider gum No. 4: although appearing largely unscathed by the frosts, some of the terminal buds are missing, along with the leading shoot.

As you can see, while the leader has died, a new shoot is ready to take up the mantle and assume leadership.

Cider gum No. 5: suffered heavy frost damage. Most of its leaves are dead along with all its terminal buds, including the leader. In the last cider gum update, at the beginning of April, I wrote that I thought it could be dead.

Thankfully I was proven wrong; there is plenty of regrowth at the top of No. 5.

Cider gum No. 6: another of the Class III gums, and another of those that I thought had kicked the bucket. Virtually all of the tree is dead…

…apart from the root system, which means No. 6 has cling to life and squeezed out a couple of tiny buds right at the base of its stem. It’s alive!

Cider gum No. 7: the tallest of all the cider gums, but unfortunately struck hard by frost damage. All terminal buds including the leader are dead, but there are signs of new growth at the very top:

I spotted this impressive branch scar low down on the main stem of No. 7. Is it big enough to call a trunk yet? I guess not, but it looks a lot like one in miniature here.

Posted in The treeblog trees

Set A Scots pines update (Day 1149)

Scots pine Alpha on Thursday evening (Set A, Day 1149). Those candles are getting pretty long now…

…but back on the 24th of April they weren’t really candles at all; more glorified buds.

A week later, on the 1st of May, and good progress had already been made.

Here they are again on the 11th of May…

…and this is an almost up-to-date view from Thursday (the 20th of May). Not be long until the needles appear now!

In addition to the candles on top of Scots pine Alpha, each of its three little branches has a candle on the tip (seen here on Tuesday).

With less candles than its stablemate, here’s Scots pine Gamma. It currently shares its pot with an ash and a sycamore seedling.

Not a Scots pine, but here’s the PSAUS a.k.a. the post-Set A unknown seedling a.k.a. a goat willow.

And last but not least, here’s the ash that germinated last year in grey alder No. 3’s pot: a real tree in minature.

Speaking of the grey alders, I wonder how they’re getting on. I think we’re due another visit soon, you & I. But first things first: the next two updates will deal with the cider gums. Yes, there have been deaths. But there has also been reincarnation!

Posted in The treeblog trees

Set D round-up: the beeches and the rowans

1. The cut-leaved beech (Days 213 to 228)

The terrific Set D(b) cut-leaved beech on the 1st of May (Day 213)…

…the 11th of May (Day 223)…

…and the 16th of May (Day 228) – Sunday. Here come the first pair of true leaves!

2. A beech miracle

On the 11th of April, my impatience at the lack of any seedlings in the Set D beech and sweet chestnut seed trays got the better of me and I began to rummage. I didn’t find a single germinated sweet chestnut, but I did find three germinated beechnuts. Two of these were cut- or fern-leaved beeches (Fagus sylvatica ‘Aspleniifolia’), one of which was still stuck inside its woody cupule (and to date has yet to appear above-soil, if it is still alive); the other is alive and well and was the star of the first part of this post. The third germinated beechnut was the only one out of the normal beech (Fagus sylvatica) I planted to do so… but in my rummaging I accidentally went and broke off its root. Shit.

I thought there was no hope, but I replanted it anyway.

(You can see where this is going, right?) Well, my optimism was rewarded! I checked on the treeblog stable this very afternoon (Set D(b) Day 230) and look what miracle awaited me:

Yes!!! The only germinating beechnut collected from the beech at Wigtwizzle has survived!

3. The Set D(r) rowans (Day 36)

I feel like the Set D(r) rowans are playing second fiddle to the Set C(r) rowans, mostly because I planted them thinking that Set C had failed to produce anything other than downy birches. But I was wrong, and now I have four lots of rowans: Set C(r) Whitwell Moor, Set C(r) Upper Midhope, Set D(r) Whitwell Moor, and Set D(r) Oaken Clough. I’m happy to be growing the offspring from three different trees, but does treeblog really need two years of seedlings from the rowan on Whitwell Moor?

Oaken Clough rowans Nos. 1 to 4 (O1 to 04).

Rowans O5 to O8.

Rowan O9 and Whitwell Moor rowans Nos. 1 to 3 (W1 to W3).

Rowans W4 to W7.

Photos taken on Sunday (Set D(r) Day 36).

When I planted (/replanted) the Set D(r) rowans on the 11th of April, I had nine Oaken Clough seedlings and twenty-two Whitwell Moor seedlings; of these all of the Oaken Clough offspring have survived, but only seven of the Whitwell Moor seedlings are still with us. Further seedlings have appeared in the seed tray since – I’ll transplant these soon.

Posted in The treeblog trees

treeblog update (Set C(r), Day 369): the rowans

Whitwell Moor rowan No. 1 (W1).

Well, it’s not the most fun job in the world, but someone’s got to do it. It’s a labour of love. It’s another treeblog Set C(r) update (photos taken this afternoon – Day 369).

Happily the Set C(r) rowans (Sorbus aucuparia), last paraded before the world five weeks ago, are all healthy and vigorous. They’ve all got their first true leaf and the majority are showing off their second. Their progress is a pleasure to behold!

Rowans W2 to W5.

Rowans W6 to W9.

Rowans W10 to W13.

Rowans W14 to W17.

Rowans W18 to W20 and Upper Midhope rowan No. 2 (U2).

Rowan U1.

Rowans U3 to U6.

Rowans U7 to U10.

Rowans U11 to U14.

Rowans U15 to U18.

Rowans U19 and U20 and Whitwell Moor tricot rowans Nos. 1 and 2 (WT1 and WT2).

Rowans WT3 to WT6. The sixth tricot is still in the seed tray with all its feral brethren, awaiting transplantation.

Posted in The treeblog trees

treeblog update (Set C, Day 426): the downy birches

Downy birch No. 1 – one of the very best in class. Notice that the leaves have many lobes.

It’s been over five weeks since the last Set C downy birch update. The last we saw of our little birchy friends, they were mere matchsticks. But throw a little spring into the mix and we’ve got leaves! A wee bit of bad news and a couple of bits of good news: No. 26, alive in the last update, is now dead; No. 16, “dead” in the last update, is now alive; No. 23, “dead” in the last update, might actually be alive… or it might really be dead.

Now before we plough on with the rest of the photos (taken today, 426 days after I planted the Set C birch seeds), I heartily recommend that you take a quick look at the last update – Day 389 - so that you can really appreciate the difference a month makes. Progress may have been a little slow thus far, but once summer kicks in these bad boys should be sizzling.

No. 2 – another one of the finest performers.

Nos. 4 and 10 – both decent little seedlings.

No. 14 – another birch in the cream of the crop.

Nos. 12, 13, 15 and 21 – all sort of common or garden, nothing special, middle-of-the-road seedlings. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Nos. 22, 23, 27 and 28 – again, all Johnny Averages.

No. 30 – one of the better-off middling birches – but notice how few lobes its leaves have compared with the better performers’, like No. 1’s.

The underperformers: Nos. 5, 16 (back from the dead!), 23 (back from the dead?), and 25. New growth (or in the case of No. 23, possible new growth) has been circled.

Coming soon… updates for the Set A Scots pines and cider gums, the goat willow formerly known as PSAUS, the Set D(b) cut-leaved beech, and the Set C(r) and Set D(r) rowans – the Set C(r) rowans are looking awesome!

Posted in The treeblog trees

Set D(b) cut-leaved beech update (Days 206-209). Set A grey alders update (Day 1123).

The Set D(b) cut-leaved beech has appeared above ground! Here it is on Saturday (Day 206), the first time I’d seen it poking up through the soil. A couple of Saturdays previously I was searching through the Set D beech seed trays when I noticed that this wee tree had sprouted a long root – that was Day 193.

Beech seedlings don’t hang around. Here it is a day later, on Sunday….

…here it is yesterday…

…and here it is this evening. Its cotyledons should open up over the next few days. This is the first beech I’ve ever managed to grow!

* * * * *

As well as discovering this young beech, Saturday also saw me off on a long walk to check up on the recently released Set A grey alders – 1123 days after I planted them as seeds. The good news is that they are all still in situ and doing well. The bad news is that three of them have been munched on by sheep! (I planted Nos. 2 and 3 out in the wild on the 2nd of April (Day 1101); Nos. 1 and 4 were planted out on the 14th of April (Day 1113) – see this post for the details.)

Grey alder No. 1 – this one lives next door to No. 4. Some of the lower branches have been cut back by browsing sheep – I know who the culprits are because they left some wool behind. Nevermind. Those lower branches wouldn’t be kept by the tree for long anyway, and I’d already given thought to pruning them off.

Grey alder No. 2 – this one lives next door to No. 3. No. 2 is the only one of the alders to remain unscathed by sheep.

Here’re some of No. 2’s brand spanking new leaves (all of the alders have them now!). They’re perfect.

Grey alder No. 3. (Sorry about the photos of the alders – I couldn’t get any good ones with their superb camouflage for blending in with the background).

Here’s the tip of one of No. 3’s branches after being nibbled down to size by an ovine fiend. Disgraceful.

Grey alder No. 4 – leading the competition in the leaf department.

Taken back home in the garden on Saturday evening, this photo shows how another Set A tree – Scots pine Alpha – has begun expanding its buds. These little brown columns are lengthening noticeably with each passing day; soon they will be great, long candles. Then it won’t be long until they blast out 2010’s needles!

Posted in The treeblog trees

Set A grey alders released into the wild! (Operation Alder)

It’s been over three years since I planted the Set A grey alders as seeds, and in that time they’ve outgrown the garden where I’ve been keeping them in giant plant pots – the smallest (No. 2) is almost as tall as me; the tallest (No. 1) is a foot or so taller! Something had to be done before the 2010 growing season began – who knows how big they will be by the end of the summer – but what? How do you transport four man-sized trees, and where do you plant them if you don’t own a wood?

It turns out that the alders could just fit inside my car, and when they were taken out of their pots and most of the soil was removed from their roots they were light enough to carry reasonably comfortably. And I got around the whole not-owning-a-wood problem by hatching an audacious plan to plant them in the wilderness under the cover of darkness.

Introducing Operation Alder- a series of covert night missions carried out by a pair of crack treemandos!

Part One
Close to midnight on the first of April, the treemandos bundled grey alder No. 2 into my car and sped off towards their secret destination. Arriving in the pitch black, No. 2 was taken from the vehicle and hidden in a dip in the ground, behind a Scots pine. The treemandos returned home to collect No. 3 and dropped it off at the Scots pine next to No. 2.

Part Two
At the crack of dawn (or not long after), the treemandos were back to collect the two alders and carry them off on a back-breaking trek into the wilderness. Arriving at the pre-determined final destination, the alders were set down and digging implements were made ready. A hole was dug in a suitable spot and grey alder No. 3 was planted at around 0700 hours on the second of April (Day 1101). A second hole was dug close-by and grey alder No. 2 was planted at around 0730, a stone’s throw from its sibling. The planting was carried out under the cover of a fortuitous heavy fog.

Grey alder No. 3 in its new spot. Notice how there is no disturbance around the base? Thanks to careful soil-management and bracken-placement, you wouldn’t be able to tell from a glance that this tree had been planted only minutes previously. Those treemandos were pro-style.

Grey alder No. 2.

Part Three
A week and a half later, on the night of the thirteenth of April, the two alders remaining in the garden were transported to a different location. The treemandos then carried the two young trees, grey alders Nos. 1 and 4, on another arduous trek out into the wilderness in the dead of night. The trees were hidden in a wee dyke and the treemandos headed back to base.

Part Four
The treemandos returned to the trees late in the morning of the fourteenth of April (Day 1113) and collected them in daringly bold daytime mission. They carried the alders even further into the wilderness to another pre-determined destination. Upon arrival, a hole was dug and grey alder No. 4 was planted at 1315; a second hole was dug nearby and grey alder No. 1 was planted at 1340. The treemandos were successful in planting all four grey alders far from Man’s prying hands.

Grey alder No. 4

No. 4 was covered in tiny leaves!

Grey alder No. 1.

(I apologise for the lack of clarity and definition in the photos of the alders, but it isn’t easy to capture a small, leafless tree against a busy natural background!)

Now the alders have been released into the wild without mishap, I can breathe a big sigh of relief. They can now go mental expanding their roots and grow as big as they want. The only trouble may come from things that might want to eat them: voles, rabbits, hares, sheep, etc. There are a lot of browsing mammals out there and the treeblog alders are young, tasty and defenceless. Until they develop some nice thick bark and grow plenty of branches above the reach of grazers, they are very vulnerable. They have also got to adapt to their new physical environment.

Will they survive out there in the real world?

Posted in The treeblog trees

Set C(r) rowans transplanted. Six rowan tricots. Set D rowans planted. The fate of the Set D beeches and sweet chestnuts.

The transplanted Set C(r) rowans (Sorbus aucuparia) yesterday, minus the tricots.

Yesterday was a busy day for treeblog

1. Set C(r) rowans transplanted

(Set C(r), Day 334) I transplanted forty of the Set C(r) rowan seedlings - U1 to U20 (the progeny of the Upper Midhope rowan) and W1 to W20 (the progeny of the Whitwell Moor rowan) - from the unordered, overcrowded seed tray to a regimented ‘plug’ tray, where each seedling gets its own little space to breathe. There they all are in the photo above, happy as Larry.

The first five Upper Midhope rowan seedlings, U1 to U5, en route to the plug tray.

The plug tray as a bird would see it. May they live long and prosper.

2. Six rowan tricots

Set C(r) has produced six tricots so far! They are all progeny of the Whitwell Moor rowan. The sixth one I only discovered today, but the other five were transplanted into a plug tray just like their cohorts. I’ve labelled them as ‘WTn’, where WT stands for Whitwell Moor tricot. This is an exciting development for treeblog! I’ve previously found two tricot sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) seedlings; both died. I’ve also grown a tricot downy birch seedling (Betula pendula) in Set C; I lost it. Not a good track record then, but how can I lose with six rowan tricots?

The first five tricots, WT1 to WT5, en route to their plug tray.

A closer look at WT1…

…and WT2 and WT3 and WT4 and WT5. Marvellous.

3. Set D rowans planted

I collected more rowan berries last September, again from the Whitwell Moor tree, but also from a gigantic, ancient, collapsed rowan growing up on the moors near a tiny valley going by the name of Oaken Clough. Once I’d extracted the seeds from the berries, I pretreated them over the winter before planting them yesterday - (Set D(r), Day 0). I planned to use three different methods of pretreatment, outlined in this post from October, but I ended up only following one of the methods accurately: the easy one, where all you do is bung your seeds in a pot of soil and leave them outside over the winter.

So yesterday I gathered up all of the Set D rowan seeds to check for any germination. Sure enough, several of the seeds pretreated the easy way had germinated. I planted them into the same plug tray as the Set C(r) tricots. After a couple of casualties injured when extracting the germinated seedlings from the pretreatment plant pot, there remained nine Oaken Clough seedlings and twenty-two Whitwell Moor seedlings. I planted all of the ungerminated seeds in a couple of seed trays.

The germinated Oaken Clough seedlings, freshly removed from the pretreatment plant pot and ready for planting.

4. The fate of the Set D beeches and sweet chestnuts

(Set D(b), Day 193 / Set D(c), Day 183) I had a feeling that none of the beechnuts I planted in September or the sweet chestnuts I planted in October were going to germinate, so I went on a major rummage. I emptied fifty percent of the sweet chestnut seed trays (actually plug trays – to make room for the rowans!) and found that fully one hundred percent of the chestnuts were dead. I have yet to check the remaining half, but I am resolutely pessimistic with regards to the outcome.

I also rummaged through both of the beech seed trays – one containing standard European beech (Fagus sylvatica) nuts, the other containing cut- or fern-leaved beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Aspleniifolia’) nuts – and this is what I found:

F1: one germinating cut-leaved beech nut. Yes!!!
F2: a second germinating cut-leaved beech nut, trapped inside its rock-hard cupule. How the hell is it ever going to get out of there?
W1: how’s this for a total tragedy. Out of the all the standard beechnuts I planted, only one germinated and I bloody accidentally snapped its root off when I was looking through the seed tray. How crushingly depressing is that? I feel really, really terrible about it. What an idiotic mistake to make.

These three germinated beechnuts I planted in pots. The damaged beech will just shrivel and die; it has expended all of its energy on a root that is now not there. The cut-leaved beech trapped in the cupule will probably die from being unable to escape its prison. Now all of treeblog’s beech hopes and dreams rest on the shoulders of one cut-leaved beech. No pressure or anything.

Posted in The treeblog trees

treeblog update (Set C, Day 389): the downy birches

Grand news tree fans! Most of the Set C downy birches (Betula pubescens) have made it through the harsh winter and are now beginning to unfurl their first leaves of the year. The last time I posted a Set C birch update, in September, there were twenty-two seedlings left to follow. Today, that number is down to seventeen. Seventeen tiny birches, and you can see photos of each of them below. But first, a little bit of clarification on the current status of each seedling:

Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 & 30 - These are the seventeen seedlings that are alive and well today, all nicely labelled up in little plant pots, and all on display below for your inspection.
Nos. 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 16, 17 & 23 - These eight seedlings are all dead – but just in case you are morbidly curious as to what dead one-year old downy birch seedlings look like, there are photos of most these below as well. Sick. (No. 7 died sometime between the 25th of May 2009 / Day 75 and the 14th of June 2009 / Day 95; Nos. 6 and 17 died sometime between the 9th of July 2009 / Day 120 and the 19th of September / Day 192; Nos. 3, 9, 11, 16 and 23 all died sometime between Day 192 and Day 389.)
Nos. 8, 18, 19 & 20 - As I’ve decided that treeblog will only follow the first twenty Upper Midhope and Whitwell Moor rowans in Set C(r), so I decided that treeblog would only follow the first thirty birches that had germinated in Set C. When I came to transplant the lucky thirty (marked with little flags) from the horde of anonymous seedlings in the seed tray, some of the thirty (Nos. 8, 15, 19, & 20) could no longer be distinguished from their anonymous brethren. They were… left behind.
No. 29 - When I transplanted the rest of the thirty from the seed tray to plant pots, I left No. 29 behind because it was special and I was fearful of killing it by transplanting it at such an early stage. It was special because it was a rare genetic mutant: a tricotyledonous downy birch, i.e. instead of having two cotyledons it had three. Unfortunately, while it was easy to spot as a tricot when it only had cotyledons, it wasn’t as easy to tell it apart from the rest when it grew its first real leaves. And then it too was lost in the raging horde, sometime between Day 120 and Day 192: perhaps my biggest treeblog regret. Like the other seedlings left behind in the seed tray, it may since have died. Or it could still be alive and well. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this year it will once again stand out from the horde and claim its rightful place by my side!

Now for le photos – taken on Sunday (Day 389).

Who’s this, then? It’s downy birch No. 1!

Downy birches Nos. 2 and 4.

Downy birches Nos. 5 and 10.

Downy birches Nos. 12 to 15.

Downy birches Nos. 21 and 22.

Downy birches Nos. 24 to 26 and No. 30.

Downy birches Nos. 27 and 28 - disappointingly prostrate.

And now for the dead ones. At least, they certainly have the appearance of being dead. But you never know… Maybe one or two of them will stage an unlikely comeback? Trust no-one!

Dead downy birches Nos. 3, 11, 16 and 23.

Dead downy birch No. 6.

Dead downy birch No. 9 – photographed yesterday (Day 392), a few days after its fellow cadavers. I, uh, missed it the first time around or something. The blue slug pellets should tell you two things. 1) No. 9 is exceedingly tiny; and 2) Now that winter is over, the slugs and the snails are oot and aboot again so I’m getting Vietnam flashbacks to June 2007, when the Set A seedlings where mullered by slugs. You ain’t getting your 27,000 teeth on my seedlings this time, you malevolent molluscs!

* * * * *

Set C(r) news: On Tuesday (Day 329), three new Upper Midhope rowan seedlings appeared: U3, U4 and U5. Yesterday, (Day 330), a further two Upper Midhope rowan seedlings appeared: U6 and U7. I think I’ll have to transplant the Set C(r) seedlings from the seed tray into plant pots rather soon…

Posted in The treeblog trees

A potted history of the Set C(r) rowans to date. treeblog update (Set C(r), Day 327).

Excellent news! The rowans (Sorbus aucuparia) that I planted 328 days ago are sprouting in droves! This afternoon I counted around forty seedlings growing where I planted seeds from the Whitwell Moor rowan and two seedlings growing where I planted seeds from the Upper Midhope rowan. That’s a lot of seedlings, and treeblog can really only follow so many – so I’ve picked twenty of the Whitwell Moor seedlings to follow, along with as many Upper Midhope seedlings that germinate (up to twenty). That’s still a lot of rowans, and I’ve yet to even plant the Set D rowan seeds I collected last year (which I’m going to go ahead and plant anyway to see which of the three methods of pre-treatment used worked best).

There are photos of the chosen twenty-two seedlings later in this post (taken yesterday – Day 327). But first here’s a potted history of the Set C / Set C(r) rowans, starting right from the beginning…

On the 15th of August 2008 I went to collect berries for treeblog Set C (to be planted spring 2009) from this rowan near the hamlet of Upper Midhope:

The skeletal Upper Midhope rowan, seen here on the 24th of August 2006.

But when I reached the spot where the rowan grew, it had sadly fallen over!

It must have collapsed fairly recently as, luckily for both me and the tree, there were a few clusters of ripe berries hanging in the canopy. These berries I collected, and they were last fruits this amazing tree every produced, for it was cleared away sometime between mid-February and late May 2009.

On the 26th of September 2008 I collected berries from this rowan growing on Whitwell Moor:

The Whitwell Moor rowan on the day of berry collection.

Along with some downy birch seeds and some sweet chestnuts, I planted both lots of rowan berries as treeblog Set C on the 11th of March 2009. I mistakenly planted the berries whole – but apparently you’re supposed to remove the seeds from the berries before planting.

On the day of planting. The Upper Midhope berries occupy the upper third of the top-left tray; the Whitwell Moor berries occupy the bottom-right tray.

After realising my mistake, I exhumed the berries and removed the seeds on the 10th & 11th of May 2009 - what a messy procedure! I replanted the cleaned-up seeds on the 12th of May, calling them Set C(r) (r for rowan) to distinguish them from the rest of Set C, which didn’t need replanting. [11th March 2009 = Set C Day 0 / 12th May 2009 = Set C(r) Day 0.]

The Whitwell Moor seeds after cleaning, prior to replanting.

A month later, in mid-June, several seedlings appeared in the Set C(r) seed tray, but they turned out to be self-set willows, not rowans. (Some of the willows are now dead; the rest I tried to kill by ‘coppicing’ them so that they wouldn’t compete with any future-sprouting rowans - I couldn’t just pull them up because their roots were so extensive I’d have messed up the whole seed tray. Of course, these tiny willow stumps survived and are now budding up!)

So no rowans germinated in 2009, but the long wait has turned out to have been well worth it! Just look at these bad boys (notice how some of the seedlings still have their seed coat attached):

The two Upper Midhope seedlings (designated by ‘U’): U1 & U2.

…And the twenty Whitwell Moor seedlings (designated by ‘W’):

W1 to W5.

W6 to W10.

W11 to W15.

W16 to W20.


Posted in The treeblog trees

treeblog update (Set A, Day 1102): cider gums. Set C(r) rowans are sprouting!

On parade today are all fifteen Set A cider gums, lined up and ready to be inspected for the first time since August! These poor young eucalypts have been ravaged by the harshest winter for many a year, and it looks as though six of our comrades have fallen (and most of the survivors have frost-damaged tips) – yet there may be still be hope. The previous winter (2008-2009) looked to have dealt fatal blows to cider gums Nos. 3 and 15, but they somehow managed to crawl back from the precipice of the grave. Hardy buggers. Can this miracle be repeated in 2010? (Photographs taken yesterday, 1102 days since I planted Set A.)

Cider gum No. 1 – looking very dead. Has it fallen into the endless abyss?

Cider gum No. 2 – one of the tall Class I gums.

Cider gum No. 3 - one of the three Class III runty gums. The dead upper part of No. 3 was killed off by the previous winter, but the winter-just-gone looks to have put paid to its recovery efforts.

Cider gum No. 4.

Cider gum No. 5 – another one of those that may now be At Rest.

Cider gum No. 6 – another Class III, another cadaver?

Cider gum No. 7 – the tallest of all the cider gums. A real Class I über-gum. It now shares its pot with a brassy young sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) that has recently sprouted.

Cider gum No. 7’s new roomie.

Cider gum No. 8.

Cider gum No. 9 also has a new roomie: a wee clump of what look to be rushes.

I hope it’s Juncus effusus!

Cider gum No. 10.

Cider gum No. 11 – another victim of winter.

Cider gum No. 12 - Class I.

Cider gum No. 13 – the only treeblog tree still on crutches. Some of the other gums are looking a bit leany or loose in the soil, so support canes will probably be making a comeback.

Cider gum No. 14 - Class I.

Cider gum No. 15 - Class III. Has this winter managed what the previous one couldn’t? Poor things looks dead as a door-post.

* * * * *

Set C news: There are Set C(r) rowans sprouting by the bucketload! These beauties will be the subject of the next post, but I’ll tell you right here and now that yesterday I counted thirty-three seedlings in the Whitwell Moor section and two in the Upper Midhope section. I photographed them this afternoon, along with the Set C birches, which are just beginning to put out their first leaves of the new year. treeblog is in a good place!

Posted in The treeblog trees

An early spring wander (21st March 2010) (Part Two)

A dead and rotting birch (Betula). I think the little bracket fungi you may be able to make out are birch polypore (Piptoporus betulinus), but they’re pretty poor attempts at fruiting bodies.

This picture is classic Millstones Wood through and through: all rocks and twisty beeches.

This particular beech (Fagus sylvatica) has a splendidly green trunk thanks to a coating of enthusiastic leprose lichen.

I rediscovered this larch (Larix, probs decidua) wound. It hasn’t changed much since the last time I remember seeing it, on the 3rd of January 2008. I first saw the wound on the 4th of April 2007 when it was still very fresh.

Blue sky, shadows, Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris), rocks, and bilberry. What more could you want?

This dead branch reminded me of the chair in ‘Jacob’s’ cabin…

I suppose that to most people this is just a photo of a dirt floor - or more precisely, a photo of a woodland floor covered in old pine needles and bits of pine cone. But I hold a sort of weird fascination for this shining gold-silver pattern.

At one end of Millstones Wood, before it peters out into a grassy, trig-point-topped Salter hill, there grow a few stunted Scots pines and larches. Over the stone wall on the right of this photo there is a field full of gorse (Ulex europaeus) that has recently been completely burned, presumably with a view to control / eradicate it. Whether purposefully or accidentally, the fire spread over the wall where it destroyed several of the stunted pines and seriously singed a few more.

This poor pine is like one giant piece of charcoal now.

Pine cone. Victim.

* * * * *

Early this morning, under the cover of fog, treeblog history was made: grey alders Nos. 2 & 3 were released into the wild in a special covert op! Parts 3 & 4 of Operation Alder shall commence next weekend, all being well, and after that I shall produce a post detailing the daring exploits of these guerrilla plantings!

* * * * *

The April 2010 edition – #46 – of the Festival of the Trees is now up at Vanessa’s Trees and Shrubs Blog. Go and drink your fill of this monthly pleasure!

Posted in Gone for a walk + The treeblog trees

Third Anniversary of the planting of treeblog's Set A. treeblog update (Set A, Day 1096): Scots pines & grey alders.

That’s right! A whole three years have passed since I first planted the Set A seeds. I started it all off with a packet of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) seeds that I was given at a careers fair, a packet of cider gum (Eucalyptus gunnii) seeds that I borrowed from uni, and a handful of grey alder (Alnus incana) seeds that I collected on a field trip. To demonstrate just how much the Set A trees have changed since I planted them on the 28th of March 2007, I’ve assembled three mini-timelines. The Scots pine and grey alder assemblages of are followed by normal-sized contemporary photographs, taken this afternoon. I haven’t photographed the cider gums yet, but I expect to get them later in the week. I’ll give them a separate treeblog update of their own.

To represent Pinus sylvestris, here’s Scots pine Alpha:

Day 0 - 28 March 2007

Day 47 - 14 May 2007

Day 55 - 22 May 2007

Day 62 - 29 May 2007

Day 95 - 1 July 2007

Day 154 - 29 August 2007

Day 409 - 10 May 2008

Day 432 - 2 June 2008

Day 458 - 28 June 2008

Day 515 - 24 August 2008

Day 605 - 22 Nov 2008

Day 731 - 28 March 2009

Day 782 - 18 May 2009

Day 822 - 27 June 2009

Day 1096 - 28 March 2010

…and here’s the other Scots pine, Gamma. The buds on the Scots pines haven’t started swelling yet, but I’m anticipating another massive growth spurt in May.

To represent Alnus incana, here’s grey alder No. 4:

Day 0 - 28 March 2007

Day 47 - 14 May 2007 (unknown g.a.)

Day 62 - 29 May 2007 (unknown g.a.)

Day 74 - 10 June 2007

Day 95 - 1 July 2007

Day 154 - 29 August 2007

Day 196 - 10 October 2007

Day 264 - 17 December 2007

Day 409 - 10 May 2008

Day 432 - 2 June 2008

Day 515 - 24 August 2008

Day 731 - 28 March 2009

Day 754 - 28 April 2009

Day 781 - 17 May 2009

Day 822 - 27 June 2009

Day 875 - 19 August 2009

Day 1096 - 28 March 2010

… and here are the rest of the grey alders. This is No. 1 - the tallest of the bunch. The black bar is to mark the maximum height of the tree, as the leading twig doesn’t really stand out very well from the background. I apologise for the miserable colours (I upped the brightness and contrast), but it was the only available plain(ish) backdrop big enough to do the job!

Grey alder No. 2 – the shortest alder.

Grey alder No. 3. The buds on Nos. 3 and 4 are just beginning to open.

This is one of the very first leaves to make an appearance on alder No. 4.

And here’s a look at the bark on No. 4’s trunk. It’s awesome, isn’t it, the way the outer layer of bark peels back from around the lenticels to form all those little diamonds?

To represent Eucalyptus gunnii, here’s cider gum No. 7 (with some of his cohorts):

Day 0 - 28 March 2007

Day 47 - 14 May 2007 (unknown c.g.)

Day 62 - 29 May 2007 (unknown c.g.)

Day 81 - 17 June 2007 (c.g. No. 1)

Day 130 - 5 August 2007

Day 196 - 10 October 2007

Day 397 - 28 April 2008

Day 432 - 2 June 2008

Day 480 - 20 July 2008

Day 497 - 6 August 2008

Day 558 - 6 October 2008

Day 731 - 28 March 2009

Day 785 - 21 May 2009

Day 876 - 20 August 2009

(More on the cider gums in the forthcoming update.)

These have been the first photos of the Set A trees on treeblog since August last year! That is a pretty poor show on my part, but to be honest the growing season had near enough ended by then so the trees have changed little in the intervening period. Well, the alders lost their leaves, but deciduous trees have a habit of doing that.

The Scots pines are doing well. So are the alders, but they have outgrown the garden and need to be planted somewhere asap before the growing season is upon us. Where though? Some of the cider gums have been damaged by frost, and some of them need larger pots. Nos. 6 and 15 look to have been killed off by the frost, but I said that about Nos. 3 and 15 last year but they bounced back. And the post-Set A unknown seedling, now thought to be a goat willow? How’s that doing?

The Artist Formerly Known As PSAUS.
It’s doing just fine.

Posted in The treeblog trees

First signs of spring: alder and hazel catkins. A brief update on the treeblog trees.

Male catkins on hazel (Corylus avellana).

Winter’s grip on the countryside is finally loosening! The weather may still be nasty, but the days are getting longer and the local alders and hazels have been blasting out their male catkins. The hazels in particular look rather spiffing, their pale yellow lambs’ tails creating welcome splashes of colour in an otherwise bleak treescape.

More male hazel catkins, or lambs’ tails. These photos were taken beside Broomhead Reservoir on Tuesday.

This year’s developing male catkins (cigar-shaped) and last year’s woody female catkins (egg-shaped) on an overhead alder (Alnus glutinosa) branch.

* * * * *

And now for a brief update on the treeblog trees, neglected on this blog for far too long. Sad face.

Set A

The two Scots pines look fine. The four grey alders are covered in buds; the top of grey alder No. 4 is dead, as suspected in September. Most of the cider gums look alright, although a few of them have picked up a bit of a lean. Cider gums Nos. 1 and 15 look like they have suffered some serious frost damage. Will they survive? No. 15 took a lot of frost damage last year and survived… The post-Set A goat willow (the seedling formerly known as PSAUS) has some nice big buds.

Set C

Most of the downy birches have just started opening their tiny little buds. A few of them may have died, and some of them look to have had their roots exposed over the winter, so some replanting may be in order this weekend.

Set C’s downy birch No. 2 on Tuesday (16th February – 342 days after planting), standing a fine one-inch tall.

Set D

None of the sweet chestnuts or beechnuts, planted in the autumn, have sprouted yet. I’m aiming to plant my rowan seeds, the other component of Set D, in March. They are currently undergoing pretreatment.

* * * * *

P.S. It was treeblog’s third anniversary on Sunday!

Posted in Gone for a walk + The treeblog trees

treeblog Set D: pretreatment of the rowan seed

So I’ve (1) collected and (2) pre-pretreated treeblog’s Set D rowan seeds. Now they are undergoing (3) pretreatment before I (4) plant them in the spring. The last time I planted rowan seeds – for treeblog Set C – I neglected to pretreat them and my folly was rewarded by a total absence of germination. (So far… A year of ‘natural pretreatment’ and they may yet germinate alongside the Set D seeds!) This time I am boosting my chances of success by trying out three different methods of pretreatment advised by the Forestry Commission in their Practice Guide Growing trees and shrubs from seed by Peter Gosling (2007) [available online in .pdf format here].

Rowan seeds are classed as orthodox, deeply dormant seeds – ‘orthodox’ meaning easily stored and ‘deeply dormant’ meaning they ‘remain outwardly inactive under all conditions’, i.e. they require pretreatment to bring about germination. In the wild, rowan seeds would remain dormant for a year or two before germinating – the ‘natural pretreatment’ I mentioned above.

You’ll remember that I collected seed from two different individual rowans: a tree on Whitwell Moor and a tree above Oaken Clough. I kept each seed collection separate to find out if there is any difference in growth or form between the seedlings of the two trees. I also divided each collection into thirds so that the seeds of both trees will undergo all three of the pretreatment methods recommended by Growing trees and shrubs from seed. I’ve provided an abridged version of each of those methods below:

A. “Easy: natural (outdoor) pretreatment / sowing with medium”

1. Prepare a moisture retaining medium by mixing one part organic material (such as peat or decomposed leaf litter) with one part coarse particle material (such as sand or grit).

2. Mix one part seeds with one part moist medium and place in a container which is open to rainwater at the top and has drainage holes at the base.

3. Pretreatment: place container outdoors for thirty (16 – 30) weeks, positioned so as to receive exposure to seasonal temperature changes whilst avoiding daily temperature fluctuations.

4. Inspect seeds regularly (weekly to fortnightly) and if necessary re-moisten the stratification mix or remove decaying seeds to prevent the spread of fungal infections.

5. Remove and sow germinating seeds (or sow all seeds when 10% have begun to germinate).

A. On Saturday I filled two small plant pots with a one part compost, one part sand mix. Into one pot I mixed a third of the Whitwell Moor seeds; into the other I mixed a third of the Oaken Clough seeds. I’ve placed the two pots outside where they are open to rainwater but should avoid large fluctuations in daily temperature. There they shall remain until spring. Sixteen to thirty weeks from the 10th of October gives us a planting window open from the 30th of January to the 8th of May. I’ll probably plant all of the Set D rowan seeds proper in March.

B. “Moderate: artificial (temperature controlled) pretreatment with medium”

1. Prepare a moisture retaining medium by mixing one part organic material (such as peat or decomposed leaf litter) with one part coarse particle material (such as sand or grit).

2. Mix one part seeds with one part moist medium and place in a container, leaving a gap in the top.

3. Pretreatment: two (2 - 4) weeks warm followed by thirty (16 - 30) weeks cold. Use the main compartment of a refrigerator for the cold phase.

4. Inspect seeds regularly (weekly to fortnightly) and if necessary re-moisten the stratification mix or remove decaying seeds to prevent the spread of fungal infections.

5. Remove and sow germinating seeds (or sow all seeds when 10% have begun to germinate).

B. On Saturday I filled two empty yoghurt pots with a one part compost, one part sand mix. Into one pot I mixed a third of the Whitwell Moor seeds; into the other I mixed a third of the Oaken Clough seeds. I’ve placed the two open-topped pots in the fridge where I’ll ensure that they remain moist until spring.

C. “Skilled: artificial (temperature controlled) pretreatment without medium”

1. Place seeds in a loosely-tied woven bag and rinse / soak in cold (+4°C) water for forty-eight hours to remove any chemical inhibitors.

2. Drain seeds in a sieve to obtain imbibed, surface dry seeds.

3. Transfer seeds to a polythene bag. Leaving an air gap above the seeds, loosely tie the neck of the bag with a finger-sized hole to permit gaseous exchange but retard drying.

4. Pretreatment: two (2 - 4) weeks warm followed by thirty (16 - 30) weeks cold. Use the main compartment of a refrigerator for the cold phase.

5. Inspect seeds regularly (weekly to fortnightly) and if necessary re-moisten the stratification mix or remove decaying seeds to prevent the spread of fungal infections.

6. Remove and sow germinating seeds (or sow all seeds when 10% have begun to germinate).

C. On Saturday the 3rd of October I started separate 48-hour soakings of the Whitwell Moor and Oaken Clough seeds. I rinsed the seeds two or three times during the 48-hours. A week later (last Saturday), I transferred the surface-dry seeds to two small polythene bags and placed them in the fridge.

* * * * *

So there you go. Will the seeds make it through the winter? Will any of them germinate next spring? Will there be any difference between the Whitwell Moor and Oaken Clough seedlings? Which method of pretreatment will be the most successful? Only time will tell!!!

Posted in Dendrology + The treeblog trees

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