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the Set C downy birches
Posted on May 14, 2012 by Ash
Here’s a quick update on the progress of the Set C downy birches. I took the photographs this evening (Day 1160). All twelve trees are looking healthy and they’ve all come nicely into leaf.
I didn’t measure the trees this time around because they’ve not really started this year’s growth yet. To see how they looked in November, and to see a list of all their heights then, check out the last Set C downy birch update.
Posted on November 6, 2011 by Ash
Downy birch No. 1: too branchy!
This is the first update of the Set C downy birches (Betula pubescens) since May! There are now twelve Set C birches altogether: Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 25 & 27; No. 13 has unluckily died since May. I took the photos this afternoon – 970 days or 2 years & 8 months since I planted them all as seeds.
Downy birch No. 2: lovely form and the tallest of the lot at 47 cm.
No. 4: almost-straight stem (apart from that one kink).
No. 5: the second shortest at 22 cm tall.
No. 10: super-straight stem.
No. 14: average.
No. 15: nice, straight stem and the second tallest at 43 cm.
No. 21: doesn’t want to let go of those leaves.
No. 22: nice, straight stem with a strangely disproportionate branch.
No. 23: decent stem above the kink.
No. 25: the runt of the litter; very poor form and by far the shortest at 6 cm tall.
No. 27 – good stem.
The table below displays the approximate heights of all twelve surviving downy birches ranked in descending order. The measurements were made last Sunday – the 30th of October.
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Posted on May 7, 2011 by Ash
Downy birch No. 21.
This post continues from Part One, which featured the other eight downy birches. All photos were taken on Monday (May 2nd) (Day 782).
Downy birch No. 22 – forking?
Downy birch No. 23 – very small.
Downy birch No. 25 – not looking good at all. Last August it had two main stems, but one has died and fallen off.
Downy birch No. 27.
The next two trees – Nos. 16 & 30 – are, I believe, dead. A couple of weeks ago when I carried out the treeblog census I hoped that they were just late flushing, as the buds looked to be OK – but I was mistaken. I don’t think they made it through the winter. Set C is down to thirteen downy birches.
Downy birch No. 16 – funnily enough, I thought this one had died last year (winter 2009/2010) but I turned out to be wrong. I hope I’m wrong for a second time!
Downy birch No. 30, deceased.
Posted on May 5, 2011 by Ash
Downy birch No. 1 – looking grand!
Here we go with the first look at the Set C downy birches since mid-August 2010 (Day 522). In this two-part treeblog update you can see for yourself how well each of the wee fellas are getting on. Thirteen remain alive – and two are recently deceased. I took the photos on Monday (May 2nd), 782 days after I planted them all as seeds. As you can see, some are doing better than others…
Downy birch No. 2.
Downy birch No. 4.
Downy birch No. 5 – very small.
Downy birch No. 10.
Downy birch No. 13.
Downy birch No. 14.
Downy birch No. 15 – it’s put on a lot of new growth already this spring!
The rest of the downy birches will follow in Part Two (to be posted on Saturday.) This post and the next one are ‘pre-written’ and will ‘upload automatically’ because I’m off to France for a week – so I won’t be able to respond to emails or moderate comments until the 10th!
Posted on April 16, 2011 by Ash
I’m afraid I have been rather lax of late in sticking to this blog’s original purpose of charting the development of the treeblog trees. There have been some pretty important developments over the winter, yet I’ve hardly mentioned a thing. I badly needed to turn over a new leaf, so I have carried out a full census of the trees to provide a snapshot overview of the treeblog population as it is today. It may send you to sleep. Here goes :
The two Scots pines (Alpha & Gamma) are alive and well. They last appeared in an update in June. (Nearly a whole year ago?? Can that be right??)
post-Set A willow
The PSAUS is alive and coming nicely into leaf.
Fifteen of the downy birches are alive and coming into leaf: Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27 & 30. Since the last update in August, No. 28 has gone missing from its pot (possibly squirrel-related).
I’ve cocked up big-time with the Set C(r) rowans. At the end of June I planted the nineteen ‘Whitwell Moor’ seedlings (Nos. W1 – W15 & W17 – W20) and twenty ‘Upper Midhope’ seedlings (Nos. U1 – U20) out in individual pots. Each seedling was identified with a little flag made out of sellotape and a cocktail stick. Disastrously, during the winter many of the cocktails sticks have rotted through and these flags have blown away. Which means I have a large number of seedlings that could have come from either the Whitwell Moor rowan or the Upper Midhope rowan. Which kind of defeats the object. I think these identity-less rowans will have to be released from under the treeblog umbrella. The remaining identifiable Set C(r) rowans are Nos. W2, W6, W7, W11, W12, W14, W15, W17, W18, W19, U2, U5, U7 & U14: ten Whitwell Moors and four Upper Midhopes. Doh! I think the Upper Midhope population will have to be topped up from the reserves still in the seed tray.
Both the single normal beech and the single cut- or fern-leaved beech remain alive and well. They last appeared in an update in June.
In the last update in May, there were nine Oaken Clough rowan seedlings (O1 – O9) and seven Whitwell Moor rowan seedlings (W1 – W7). Today all nine Oaken Clough seedlings are alive, but two of the Whitwell Moor seedlings have died (W3 & W4). There are plenty of reserves still in the seed trays, so these populations can be topped up.
OK… I think I’ve cleared all that up as best I can. Here’s a quick summary of what is currently alive and accounted for in the treeblog stables then: 3 grey alders (Alnus incana); 2 Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris); 1 cider gum (Eucalyptus gunnii); 15 downy birches (Betula pubescens); 33 rowans (Sorbus aucuparia); & 2 European beeches (Fagus sylvatica)… which gives a grand total of 56 trees spread over 6 different species. [Plus the honorary treeblog tree, the PSAUS, which is a willow - possibly a goat willow (Salix caprea).]
Posted on August 17, 2010 by Ash
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 on August 15, 2010 by Ash
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.
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 on May 11, 2010 by Ash
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.
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.
Posted on April 8, 2010 by Ash
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:
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 on February 18, 2010 by Ash
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.
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.
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.
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 on September 20, 2009 by Ash
Downy birch No. 1 – one of the best.
It‘s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here: the treeblog Set C update that you’ve been missing! Take a gander at the surviving downy birches as they were yesterday, 192 days after I planted them as seeds. Actually, there is no photo of downy birch No. 29 – the tricot – because I no longer know which seedling is No. 29. I presume it’s still alive, but the seed tray where it yet resides is chock-a-block with wee birch seedlings and No. 29 is lost in the horde. That is a problem needing solving.
Downy birches Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5. No. 2 is one of the better performers.
Downy birches Nos. 9, 10, 11 and 12. Nos. 9 and 11 appear to be in their death throes.
Downy birches Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16.
Downy birches Nos. 21, 22, 23 and 24.
Downy birch No. 25 – another one of the top performers.
Downy birches Nos. 26, 27, 28 and 30.
A wee bit of bonus Set A news now. The last fortnight has been very dry, and while the treeblog trees have been kept supplied with water, grey alder No. 4 appears to have been sunburned. The new leaves on the leading shoots are either dead or with dead patches, and the leading shoot itself appears to have died – it feels stiffer than it ought to and is looking more brown than green. This would be the third alder to lose its leader this year; only No. 1 would be left with a perfect main stem.
Posted on July 10, 2009 by Ash
Downy birch No. 1.
Yesterday afternoon, 120 days after the planting of treeblog Set C, I spent some time photographing the twenty-five downy birches. Since the last update in mid-June (Day 95), most of the seedlings have grown a second proper leaf and are now working on a third. Some of them are outperforming the rest (e.g. No. 21) and some are rather underperforming (e.g. No. 17); some look in rude health (e.g. No. 5) and some look rather sickly (e.g. No. 12); but there have been no losses in the three-and-a-half weeks since the last update. For this, the Day 120 update, Downy birch No. 1 has already got us started (I recommend checking out its photo-timeline) – the rest of the squad have formed ranks below and are standing to attention awaiting your inspection. (Most of the seedlings are sprinkled with sand and soil particles splashed there by heavy rains, but that’s nothing to worry about.)
Downy birches Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Downy birches Nos. 6, 9, 10 and 11. No. 9 has only just developed its first true leaf. Lagger!
Downy birches Nos. 12, 13, 14 and 15.
Downy birches Nos. 16, 17, 21 and 22. No. 17’s another underperformer but No. 21 is doing great.
Downy birches Nos. 23, 24, 25 and 26. No. 24 is doing well here.
Downy birches Nos. 27, 28, 29 and 30. No. 29 – the tricot – is doing well. It’s still in the birch seed tray for the time being.
In other news… Set A’s grey alder No. 3 was beheaded last weekend by these nasty, secretive pests that have been plaguing the alders for weeks. No. 4 was almost beheaded in mid-May, No. 2 was beheaded in mid-June… and now No. 3. The photo below shows the not-quite-fully-severed leading shoot hanging limply to one side. Unbearable.
Grey alder No. 3: demasted.
Posted on June 15, 2009 by Ash
Downy birch No. 1 yesterday (Day 95).
Downy birches Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Downy birches Nos. 6, 9, 10 and 11. No. 9. Poor old No. 9 is the least developed of the lot – it’s hardly changed in three weeks! No. 6 has also been unfortunate. It had fallen over, hence its vertically-aligned leaf.
Downy birches Nos. 12, 13, 14 and 15.
Downy birches Nos. 16, 17, 21 and 22.
Downy birches Nos. 23, 24, 25 and 26. No. 24 had also fallen over; No. 23 is another poor developer.
Downy birches Nos. 27, 28, 29 and 30. No. 29 is the super-special tricot!
The Set C birch seed tray and the anonymous horde! No. 29 is in there, just right of centre. You’ll probably need to click on the photo and look at the bigger version to better make out the seedlings.
Posted on May 27, 2009 by Ash
I mentioned a few posts back that I’d photographed the potted Set C birches. A lot of those pictures were out of focus so I tried again on Monday and met with rather more success. There are twenty-six Set C birch seedlings I’m keeping track of for treeblog at the moment: Nos. 1 to 7, 9 to 17, and 21 to 30. No. 29 - the tricot - is still in the seed tray along with about a hundred more or less anonymous other birch seedlings; the rest were plucked out and popped into pots on the 10th of May (two to a pot, except No. 21 which is on its own). Take a look at these lovely little seedlings, most of which are now progressing well with the development of their first true leaves:
Birch No. 1...
…and birch No. 4 – two of the best specimens so far.
Birches Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 6.
Birches Nos. 7, 9, 10 and 11.
Birches Nos. 12 to 15.
Birches Nos. 16, 17, 21 and 22.
Birches Nos. 23 to 26.
Birches Nos. 27 to 30. It’s an honour to have a tricot on board!
I have moved grey alder No. 4 - who has been so cruelly savaged by some invertebrate fiends of late, despite numerous applications of pesticide – to a different part of the garden in an apparently failed bid to hide it from its attackers. Whatever it / they are that are chewing through No. 4’s stems and petioles (wasps?) still seems to be at it, while the rest of the alders remain bizarrely unscathed. I keep searching the alder but I’ve yet to glimpse one of the perpetrators. So infuriating!
Posted on May 11, 2009 by Ash
I spent some time yesterday transplanting twenty-five birch seedlings out of the seed tray and into small plant pots, two per pot. Which twenty-five? All of the birches from No. 1 to No 30 except No. 29 – the tricot – and Nos. 8, 18, 19 and 20. Why those twenty-five? I decided to transplant just the first thirty birches for reasons of time, space, and their delicate nature. I’m not sure transplanting them at so an early stage is such a good idea, which is why I’ve left tricotyledonous No. 29 in situ for now – I don’t dare risk disturbing it. Nos. 8, 18, 19 and 20 I can no longer tell apart from each other and surrounding seedlings, so they’ve been left behind in the seed tray, lost in their own tiny forest. All the other seedlings in the birch tray, for the time being, will be left to their own devices.
Birches Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 7, mid-transplant (all to the same scale). These four had particularly long roots which were fairly free of soil.
I also sifted through the ‘Whitwell Moor’ rowan tray and removed all of the berries (sixty days after I planted them on the 11th of March), a course of action explained in this post from a week and a half ago. Before doing this I had to transplant the only seedling in the tray into a pot. It was very tiny and I’m quite sure it wasn’t a rowan. Still, it might be interesting finding out what it is.
A handful of exhumed berries before rinsing. There were way more than the few seen here!
The fruits of my labour, or maybe the labour of my fruits: the rowan seeds in submerged. Not one had germinated so far as I could tell.
The waste product heap. This handful of slimy rowan berry mush went in the compost bin.
This big grub or maggot, about four centimetres long, was lurking in the rowan tray’s soil along with a smaller grub, several small earthworms, and a long orange centipede. The surface of each seed tray is also home to numerous springtails.
Posted on May 9, 2009 by Ash
Birches Nos. 29, 32, 46 and 53 this afternoon (Day 59).
Exciting tidings! One of the birch seedlings has turned out to be a tricot! Birch No. 29 (in the above photo) has three cotyledons, not the normal amount of two. I have previously found two tricotyledonous seedlings (both sycamore, Acer pseudoplatanus): one near Edinburgh in spring 2005 and another in the Ewden Valley in spring 2007. The first one died a couple of days after I collected it because I had nowhere to plant it as I was staying away from home. The second one (which appeared on treeblog back in the day) died mysteriously a month or so after I collected it. That was a bit upsetting so I hope it’ll be third time lucky with my birch tricot, the first one I have seen.
In case you were wondering, this is what a birch (either Betula pendula or Betula pubescens) looks like when it is a few years old. This one was found growing in the garden a couple of years ago by my father.
Any idea what these are? I found a few of them lying on top of the soil in the Set C seed trays today. At first I thought I was seeing some new kind of seedling because of their similarity to a pair of unopened cotyledons, but I was wrong. They also look a bit like anthers, so perhaps they have blown in off some flowering plant. Then again, they don’t appear to have any pollen on them. Another treeblog mystery!
Posted on May 1, 2009 by Ash
Before we get stuck in to the main course, would Reader like a starter? Another two seedlings were observed in the birch tray yesterday (Day 50), bringing the total to twenty-six. On top of that, a Set C first: two seedlings were discovered in sweet chestnut territory! But are they really sweet chestnut seedlings or just weed impostors? I’ve never seen a sweet chestnut seedling before, but I had a mental image of them being, uh, beefier. At least they’re not nettles…
The Set C birch seeds. I collected them from an impressive tree on Whitwell Moor. Those catkins (more correctly “strobiles”) were chock-a-block full of seeds too.
The Set C sweet chestnuts. I collected them from a magnificent old tree at Wigtwizzle.
…some very small seeds, such as willow and poplar, and some very large fruits, such as oak, sycamore, sweet chestnut and horse chestnut, die quite soon after being shed from the tree – one of the last properties you would normally associate with seeds. The fruits are killed if they dry out and at present there is no known method of doing anything more than slowing down their rate of deterioration. It is therefore only worth collecting seeds of these species if you can sow them fairly quickly, or are prepared to suffer significant losses over, for example, one winter’s storage.
Great. It goes on to describe chestnuts as recalcitrant – highly perishable. One thing you can’t do is to let these things dry out: “if they are frozen or dried, they die”. I didn’t have anywhere humid to store my chestnuts, so I stuck them in the shed all winter. The air in the shed is certainly not as dry as that in the house, but I wouldn’t exactly call it humid. At least I didn’t put them in the freezer.
I collected these, the majority of the Set C rowan berries, from a tree on Whitwell Moor. A further eighty or so berries were collected from a tree near Upper Midhope.
Fleshy fruits are also some of the most awkward and certainly the messiest to process. …very occasionally a little fermentation can help. However, for seeds such as hawthorn, holly and rowan, fermentation can be significantly harmful or even fatal and is therefore to be avoided. Subsequently, most seeds will need repeated washing not only to remove the clinging remnants of sticky flesh, but also as a means of removing chemicals that have the potential to inhibit germination.
Germination-inhibiting chemicals? Oh no! (At least rowan seeds, like birch seeds, are “orthodox” so can be dried and frozen for storage. My berries experienced the same storage conditions as my birch seeds.) Anyway, once your rowan seeds are nice and clean with no tarrying trace of berry, they can enter pretreatment hell. The guide describes pretreatment as “Only partially effective: even with the longest pretreatment durations and/or several pretreatment cycles”! Still, it recommends 2-4 warm (about 15°C) weeks and 16-30 cold (about 4°C) weeks of pretreatment. Awesome.
* * * * *
Raising trees and shrubs from seed is a great little guide. It provides a host of advice on collecting, preparing, storing and planting seed. You can download it free from here: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/fcpg018.pdf/$FILE/fcpg018.pdf
Posted on April 29, 2009 by Ash
At the last count, at half five this afternoon, there were twenty-four seedlings in the birch tray. I think it’s reasonable to assume that at least the majority of these seedlings really are birch, as opposed to self-seeded weeds, considering that there isn’t a thing growing in either of the other three trays (which contain sweet chestnuts, rowan berries, and half sweet chestnuts, half rowan berries respectively). Innovation! I’m keeping track of the seedlings by planting a little numbered flag next to each one; this will allow the future trees to be photographically tracked back to their very earliest days of germination. This might seem (be) pointless or anally retentive, but I regret having not done the same thing with the Set A seedlings. I have photos of cider gum and grey alder seedlings from the early days, and I don’t know whether those seedlings were eaten by slugs/snails* or are still in the treeblog stables today. Which slightly irritates me.
The birch tray earlier today: lots of flags, lots of blue slug pellets, and lots of birch seedlings (only a few of which are visible).
Set C’s birches: the story so far…
treeblog’s most pointless image ever? I said I thought it would be good to have photos of all the seedlings from their earliest days, but really? I can make out bugger all from here, and the large version isn’t much cop either.
Nevermind. Here’s a nice big close-up to make it all better again:
Birch No. 1. That red spot between the cotyledons looks like more leaves are on the way!
Posted on April 25, 2009 by Ash
Great joy! Checking the Set C seed trays yesterday (Day 44) I found what I have long waited for: the first proper seedling! A pair of little green leaves was poking above the soil in the birch seed tray, and upon closer inspection a further two seedlings were partially covered up just an inch away, right at the edge of the tray. And then I noticed a fourth seedling just beginning to poke through an inch from the first. What’s more, when I checked the trays today, I saw what looks like a fifth birch seedling coming through!
Aaw, isn’t it cute? I might be jumping the gun a little (what if it dies / gets eaten / isn’t a birch), but this can be birch No. 1. By the way, I’ll keep these photos labelled as “Betula sp.” until I ID the parent as a silver (B. pendula) or downy (B. pubescens) birch. [Update (5 July 2009): These seedlings are all downy birches!]
And these can be Nos. 2 and 3. No. 1 is just in frame on the right.
Birch No. 4. No 1 is in the photo again, this time in the bottom left.
Now for a bit of history to put the timings of these germinations into perspective. In 2007 Set A was planted on the 28th of March and we had seedlings sprouting in force thirty days later, Day 30 being the 27th of April. In 2008 Set B was planted on the 14th of March but it only produced one seedling, also a birch, which unfortunately died within a couple of months; that seedling was first noticed on the 10th of May, fifty-seven days after planting. So now for 2009: Set C was planted on the 11th of March, and the first seedlings were noticed forty-four days later on the 24th of April. A rooted rowan berry with no stem or leaves has been seen (one and a half weeks ago) – so rowan seedlings shouldn’t be too far away. As for the third Set C species, sweet chestnut, I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that they grow. Sweet chestnut was also a failed Set B species.
Posted on March 11, 2009 by Ash
Day 0 (Set C).
One hundred and one weeks since the planting of Set A and fifty-one weeks since the planting of failed Set B, I planted treeblog’s Set C today in a private garden ceremony. This latest set is represented by three species: rowan (Sorbus aucuparia L.), sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.), and birch (either silver (Betula pendula Roth) or downy (Betula pubescens Ehrh.)). Whereas a single tree provided me with all my chestnuts, and another with all my birch seeds, my rowan berries were collected from two different trees.
Another (more aesthetically pleasing) view of those chestnuts.
The planting process was straightforward. I half-filled four seed trays with compost. Into one tray went all the birch seeds, into another went the Whitwell Moor rowan berries, into the third went half of the sweet chestnuts, and into the fourth went the rest of the chestnuts and the Upper Midhope rowan berries. All nicely spaced out likes. Then a light covering of more compost and a good watering.
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