It’s seed gathering time - How to grow a tree

It’s seed gathering time - How to grow a tree
A glorious oak sapling (Photo: R Francis/WTML)

Grow your own tree from seed

Seed Gathering Season, a month-long festival organised by The Tree Council, began on 23 September. One of the aims is to encourage people to grow more trees from seed. Why not have a go?

You will need:

  • a plant pot – make sure it has drainage holes in the bottom
  • some small stones
  • compost
  • a tree seed, such as an acorn, conker or helicopter from a sycamore
  • some wire mesh

What to do

It’s a good idea to plant several seeds as they don’t always germinate (start to grow).

  1. Put some stones at the bottom of the pot and fill it with compost almost to the top.
  2. Plant the seeds about 2cm deep, then press down the compost and water it thoroughly.
  3. Put the pot in a shady corner outside. It’s a good idea to put some wire mesh over the top so squirrels or birds can’t dig up the seed.
  4. Check it every week to make sure the soil hasn’t dried out. Don’t make it too wet though.
  5. You’ll need to be patient as you’ll have to wait until spring to see if your seeds have sprouted! If they have, you’ll need to put each in a bigger pot as it grows. When a shoot  gets to about 40cm, you can look for a suitable place to plant it outside. Good luck!

Facts about seeds

At this time of year, the fruit and flowers of lots of plants are turning to seeds. And they have all sorts of cunning ways to make sure their seeds spread as far as possible and have a good chance of growing into new plants.

Poo-eee! Some plants, such as blackberries, produce fruit that’s really tasty so animals and birds eat them and then poo out the seeds. Check out animal poo you find on your next woodland walk to see if has seeds in it. Remember: never touch poo as it has lots of bacteria that could make you ill. Instead, break it up with a stick to see what’s inside it. Find out more with our poo spotter sheet.

Hide and seek. Some animals collect seeds and bury them to eat later, and then forget where they put them! This means the lucky seeds can germinate.

Floating on the breeze. Dandelion flowers turn into hundreds of little fluffy white parachutes. Other seeds have wings, such as the little helicopters produced by the sycamore tree.

Hitching a ride. Some seeds are sticky or covered with lots of little hooks so they can attach themselves to passing animals or humans.

Pop! Some seed pods swell up until they explode and scatter the seeds. Others, such as poppy seeds, come in little pepper pots with small holes in so the seeds get shaken out in the wind.

How many different types of seeds can you find on your next woodland walk? Download our fruits and seeds spotter sheet to help you.

You can find out more about Seed Gathering Season and search for events near you on The Tree Council website.

Which seeds did you plant?

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