Spring Pruning

Today was a very nice and sunny day – at least in the afternoon. So, I let the seedlings take their first sun bath with the balcony door open. As you can see on the thermometer, it was warm enough.

Sunbathing Seedlings

Sunbathing Seedlings

Furthermore, some days ago, I had pruned (I do hope this is the right word) some of the seedlings which I felt had become too tall. And they’re already developing new buds.

Close-Ups of Leaves

Image

Last week, I got the macro lense I had ordered primarily for my RaspberryPi Camera Module, but it is actually a lense to use with your smart phone. I will have to create some kind of an adapter to use it with the RPi.

So, today I took some amazing (at least I think so) pictures of some of my seedlings:

Some Thoughts about Seeds

Where to get seeds to grow trees from

Risking to state the obvious, I’m just going to say: Don’t buy seeds for trees that either grow in your neighborhood or you can buy fruits of. If you want to try and grow trees from local species, just go on a walk and collect them. If you are into bonsai, you might spot a nice example of an interestingly shaped tree which can inspire you on how to shape your bonsai tree. If you’re more interested in exotic trees, don’t go and buy seeds online. Go to your supermarket and buy the fruit. First of all, you can enjoy the fruit AND you get the seeds which makes it more of a holistic experience (without wanting to sound overly esoteric here). I imagine that when you try to grow trees with children, that it is an interesting experience for them as well to see where the seeds come from and what you can use them for. Obviously, this method only works for fruits, because with nuts the fruit IS the seed. Then just buy/ collect some more (hazelnuts, chestnuts), eat some and use the rest for breeding.

Here’s a table which might help you to find out when which fruit/nut is in season. Green means main season, yellow means low season:

Season Table for Fruits and Nuts

Season Table for Fruits and Nuts

Another argument for using seeds fresh from the fruit is that you might be more successful, i.e. you will have a higher germination rate. I could only compare dwarf pomegranate and pomegranate, because I had dwarf pomegranate seeds in my bonsai starter set and got a fresh pomegranate later, but I think the data speaks for itself (see table below). For some species, using fresh seeds might also have an influence on the germination period. But that would almost literally be comparing apples and pears, because I didn’t have seeds of the same species to compare.

Here are the results of my seeds – germination period of lemons*, pomegranates* and myrtle as well as germination rate.

Species
Latin name
seed or fruit used
no. of seeds germination period germination rate
Dwarf Pomegranate
Punica granatum nana
seed
31 10 to 33 days 23%
Pomegranate
Punica granatum
fruit
28 9 to 36 days 79%
Lemon
Citrus x Lemon
fruit (non-organic)
6 5 to 49 days 100%
Lemon
Citrus x Lemon
fruit (organic)
22 13 to 46 days 88%
Myrtle
Myrtus communis
seeds
32 12 to 34 days 31 %

* They might not be done germinating yet, I will adapt the table accordingly, when more seeds germinate. Temperatures above 21°C are highly recommended.

An overview of all seeds I got to germinate successfully can be found here (WIP).

Stratification

english oak seedling

English Oak (Quercus robur)

With some species, you will find that most texts suggest to use stratification to get them to germinate. As I have just put my medlar seeds into stratification and into soil, I cannot say whether it is really necessary in my experience yet. However, I have tried to get oak (Quercus robur) to germinate without stratification and it worked. I also don’t really believe that it is necessary for medlars, because they are much more common in the Mediterranean than North of the Alps nowadays and I doubt that they get three months of low enough temperatures. Anyway, we will see when my medlar seeds germinate (or not).