Growing a Shrub or Tree from Seed the Natural Way

Have you ever tried to start a tree from a seed? It can be a very rewarding activity. Tree seeds, though, typically require more preparation than a lot of other seeds from flowers or vegetables.


The easiest way to start a seed is through the natural way. To do this, you can either sow seeds directly into the ground in the fall or assist the germination process through planting the seed in a pot and keeping it indoors until it is ready to be transferred outside.


Of course, for many thousands of years, seeds have been sprouting and trees have been growing all over the world. The “natural” seed germination for trees is to just let nature take its course. When sown in the fall, most seeds from any plant will start to germinate the very next spring. You will need to plant them at the recommended depth. If you plant the seeds too deep, the germination process may be delayed or not happen at all. There are some varieties of seeds that will spread the germination out over several years, while others may germinate in the first spring. Some seeds just take longer to break their dormancy and germinate.


Many species of trees were originally grown in climates that were cooler, where the seeds would drop to the ground and be covered by the fall leaves. Throughout the winter, the seeds would remain covered in this cool and moist environment. When the warmth of the spring weather would arrive, the seeds would begin their process of germination. The embryo inside of some seeds is immature and not able to germinate until it can mature in this manner (called dormancy). This delay in the process of germination is imperative for the tree species to survive. If the seeds in a natural forest were to germinate immediately when they fall to the ground in the late summer or fall, the seedlings would likely die during the cold of the winter weather.


Regardless of how you prepare your seeds to plant, the important thing is to plant them. By everyone working together to plant more trees, the environment and the people in it will all benefit.

How to Remove a Tree

Having a tree removed from your property is a big decision that should never be taken lightly. There are many reasons to remove a dead or dying tree such as aesthetic purposes, safety, and help. There are some instances when healthy trees should also be removed. Some of these essences are when the tree interferes with utility wires, driveways, buildings, and other trees. Carefully consider this, though, because once a tree is removed, it takes a very long time for it to be replaced.

If you’re dealing with a large tree, or need tree removal Fort Smith, you should call the professionals. They have the mechanical equipment and guide ropes that may be required for removing the larger limbs before the trees fell. If you are removing a tree because it interferes with utility lines, you must contact your utility company first.


Once you have decided to remove a tree, there are certain steps that you need to follow to keep the process safe and give you a successful removal of the tree. Below are the steps.


  1. Check the area around you for any obstacles that may be in your way. Remove anything that you can that may be damaged.
  2. Step back and notice how the tree is leaning naturally. If you can fall the tree based on his natural growth angle, that would be best. Check to see if there are any hazards on the tree itself, such as dead branches. See if the tree trunk has any open wounds that could indicate that the tree is hollow or rotten. If the tree is hollow or rotten, it is best to leave those to the professionals since you cannot control which way it will fall. It is also a lot more likely to fall prematurely, which can endanger you and the others around.
  3. Establish two routes for escape that can be used as the tree is falling, with one route on each side of the tree that leads away from your expected fall line.


After the preparation work is done, you are ready to fell the tree. You can use a handsaw for smaller trees or a chainsaw for the larger ones. Remember to always have someone with you for safety reasons.

How to Use Scarification on Your Seeds

Sometimes, to get more consistent results when planting seeds, you must use scarification on them. This is a process or breaking or reducing the coat on the seed so that it can be penetrated with moisture and the embryo can start the process of germination. If you have a seat with the dense or hard shell, scarification is often required. The seeds of a lot of trees do not need scarification, and when they do, a simple water soak is the most common treatment.


When a seat has a hard coat there are a few ways that it can be broken down. Below are the methods and how they are done.


  1. Water soak: simply places seeds and water and allow them to soak for 6 to 24 hours. This is normally done with water that is room temperature. Glass containers are best used for this method. Only use hot water if required per the instructions.
  2. Mechanical/physical: for this method, you will need to rub the outer layer of the seed with a small file or sandpaper to reduce the density of its, thus allowing more moisture to penetrate and reach the embryo. You must be careful to not damage the embryo in this process.
  3. Chemical wash: this method is normally only used by commercial growers and not for home gardening. The basic guidelines for this are as follows:
    1. Always wear goggles and gloves, as well as other protective clothing. If any of the chemicals spill on your skin, was immediately.
    2. Find a large glass jar to use
    3. Put seeds in the jar
    4. Add a concentrated sulphuric acid that is around two times as much as the seeds volume
    5. Stir well with a glass rod
    6. Check the seeds periodically for the thickness of the coat by pulling out a few seeds and cutting them in half.
    7. After the seeds are finished soaking, rinse them well with cold water
    8. Spread the seeds out well on paper and let them dry to room temperature.


Only use scarification if the seed packet says it is required. Otherwise, the natural method should work just fine for your seeds to germinate.

Best Practices for Seed Planting

There are many ways that you can go about planting seeds. One thing you should always do is make sure that you plant the seeds at the recommended soil depth. Generally, tree seeds require a shallower depth than most other annual seeds do, but that is dependent upon the size of the seed as well. The best thing to do is to follow the directions printed on the seed package to know the right depth for planting. You should use vermiculite or peat moss, or some other well-drained medium, to plant your seeds in.


When you’re ready to sell your seeds, fill the seed tray or container up to around half an inch from the top with the moist soil. Shake our tap container gently to level the medium.


If you are working with a larger seed, those that are over one third of an inch tall, push half of it into the soil. If you are working with smaller seeds, lightly sprinkle them over the soil surface. Use a fine layer of sand to cover the seeds that is about the same thickness of the seed itself.


Once the seeds are planted, you will need to water them gently and keep them moist. Do not allow them to get too wet. You will need to maintain relative humidity and high moisture to germinate the seeds. To increase the humidity, you can enclose the seed tray in a tent of plastic. Be certain to put some holes in the plastic cover, though, to keep good air circulation. The trays will need to be kept in a warm location that is dimly lit.


Some seeds will germinate quickly as in a few days, but others can take several months. This depends both on the species and on the conditions in the environment. After the seeds have germinated, move the small seedlings to a location that is bright. You may need to keep the seedlings inside for several months before you plant them outside. Tried to give the seedlings as much sunlight as you possibly can.


By following these steps in seed planting, you should be able to get good results. The most important thing is to follow the directions given for each package of seeds that you use.

Caring for Trees in the Winter: Cold Stress

Winter weather can take a toll on trees all throughout the northern states of North America. For species that are native to the colder regions, this can still be a stressful time. The weather can be particularly stressful for the more isolated and expose trees in the residential landscape. Some of the stress the trees face is completely unavoidable. We cannot control the climate we face. There are some things we can do to minimize the damage caused by cold stress, though.


Cold stress can be seen in many ways. On mature trees, the main effect comes from the change between the heat in the daytime the freezing at night time. The variation in temperatures causes stress within the tree between the inner wood in the outer bark that leads to cracks. This is called southwest injury or frost cracking. There is usually little that can be done to prevent this problem. In most cases, the tree repairs itself. The area that is cracked remains vulnerable and any future cracking it happens at the same place is more likely to cause major damage. With younger trees and those considered tropical, the owner should wrap the bark of the tree in the fall. There are cold weather tree blankets available specifically for this purpose.


Another issue with cold stress is when there is an early frost on growth that is late. When a tree has late growth, it is vulnerable because it has not had time to prepare for the cold. The cell walls can be ruptured by ice crystals that are growing on the new tips of the branches, causing them to die in the next season. To keep this from happening, you should wait to prune after the tree has become dormant in the fall. If you pruning too soon, new growth will be encouraged and will increase the risk of damage from frost. Also, never use the fertilizers that come with the quick release nitrogen in high amounts. With proper fertilization in the fall, your trees will be benefited, but it is important to know what you should and should not use on them.


Hopefully these tips will help you your trees healthy during the cold of winter. Cold stress can be a huge issue with trees, but by taking preventative measures, you can protect your trees.