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Little Trees

No, it’s not a variety of exotic teas…


…it’s future bonsai trees!

Anyone who has ever grown anything knows how hard it is to get tree seeds to sprout…though you couldn’t tell that to the collected Florida maple seeds I rescued from my garden beds and had sitting in a baggie on my desk, awaiting the Husband’s pleasure.  Three or so days they spent in that baggie, with random papers, mail and/or cameras set atop them, and today, TWO of them had already sprouted.  But that’s a FLORIDA maple – a member of the maple family, sure, but seeing as how it’s native to Florida, is in growth habit the nearest thing to a deciduous weed.

Anyway, normal trees require a period of scarification, then stratification, before they have a prayer of sprouting.  Scarification is the opening of the seed coating, sometimes done by nicking the outside with a sharp knife, but it can also be done by heating the seeds, as we’re doing here with hot water.  These guys will soak for 24 hours, then go into baggies with some moist peat, and spend between 90 and 120 days in the fridge in the garage.  That part is called stratification, and mimics the natural period of dormancy seeds undergo after falling off the tree, and *is* necessary if you want a good germination rate.

Yeah, we won’t be actually planting these guys (with the exception of the crape myrtles, which do not require stratification) until March, but it’ll be well worth it in the long run.  We’re starting Cotoneaster, Ilex serrata, Crape Myrtle, Chinese Elm, Korean Hornbeam, and Acer palmatum, Acer p. “Viridis”, Acer p. “Bloodgood”, and Acer buergerianum (trident maple).  So if you’re interested in bonsai, give us a ring in about five years and we should have some nice stock for sale.