A Guide on Growing Trees: Part 1

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Here in this article I am going to touch base on what exactly is crucial when growing trees. Now many will struggle often on what exactly you need to grow a tree. Now the pic above is of a Hibiscus Tree. You will find that there is no “one answer that meets all” for trees, for example the Hibiscus Tree is going to have different conditions that need to be met compared to an Oak Tree or a Maple Tree. A tropical Chinese Hibiscus or Chine Rose (H. Rosa- Sinensis) can grow up to max of 15 feet or 4.5 meters and will always need a tropical environment for the best results but if that is unavailable and you are like many people reading this who want to grow one some where else then you will need to adjust the environment for where it is placed and make sure the temperature doesn’t go below 50 degrees F(Fahrenheit) at night. In my own personal philosophy you can grow any plant anywhere so long as you have the ability to adjust the environment for that plant. You could have an avocado tree for example and have a great first year growing it by making your bedroom hot enough and it will come out of it’s seed quite fast. I’m going to make this in sections, for trees so that way you have a good idea for which environment or settings is needed for which tree and this is because again there is no one answer meets all for growing trees. Simply, “What is the best route I should take for growing this tree?”, as every tree and every plant will indeed vary on type. For now I will give a few out, as there are several trees out there and this would be a never ending blog if I tried to do every single tree so I will make this in parts covering various trees that I have grown, and know how to work with best.

Oak Tree

– Every type Oak Tree is grown from an acorn as most know this haha, but there are many different types of acorns and they can be used for making gluten free type of flour mix. The Oak Trees are underrated compared to others. Pretty much any good acorn can be used and no don’t worry about accidently running into Poison Oak’s acorns as the Poison Oak (Also known as the Pacific Poison Oak – Toxicodendron diversilobum) isn’t even a true oak tree as it’s from theĀ Anacardiaceae family being more related to the Sumac and cashews so poison oak cannot even make an acorn to begin with. Being from the family Fagaceae the Oak family will have a variety of different oaks to choose from such as the Red Oak, The White oak, Black Oak, Water Oak, Pin Oak, and the Bur Oak which has a cap that looks like a wild crazy hair doo, making it look very cute. In the west you have the Blue Oak, and the Coast Live Oak which is very unique looking acorn. There are many different ones but these are some of the more popular ones I named. For example the White Oak tree is associated with many Druids and Vikings and had been loved for centuries and is the official Illinois state tree. The White Oak can grow to be 100 feet tall (30.48 meters) and it grows in moist or dry soil, but prefers rich, well-drained uplands, slopes. Mature trees occur in full sun to shade, but young white oaks thrive only in full sun so they don’t enjoy the shade and therefore do not regenerate in heavy shaded areas due to the lack of the exposure to the sun or light. Now to think this is just details on one of the 400 roughly species that exist of Oak and there are about 200 in North America

– Luckily most and almost all Oaks will operate the same for growing. You find acorns on the ground first, they will be the mature and ready but you have to check them first to see if they will grow or not, so in other words you want one that is viable. First you check and see if it has any holes in it, and if not it is looking like a keeper. Typically you will have insects like the weevil plant it’s off-spring in an acorn so it may grow there as a baby grub and chill there for a bit until it’s ready to come out of it. So if you cracked one open that had a hole in you would usually see a grub inside of it. So that acorn will be no good for growing. If you don’t see a hole in and would like to still see if it would be defective or not to grow then you will place it in a cup or container of water. The rule of thumb here is that if it floats it is no good and if it sinks they may be used for growing or eating. You will remove the caps of the acorn and soak it in water for about 24 hours. You can soak as many as you can if you want in the same containment so long that it fits. If you do not wish to plant during the spring, you find them and decide to wait till next spring then cover them with damp sand in a plastic sealable bag in the refrigerator for the most ideal results. When you decide to plant them after a good soak over night ideally you will put them in a one gallon sized container or at least a container that can get 12 to 15 inches deep with a drainage system as a start. You can always transplant them later. In your container you will want at ideally 2 inches of soil above or on top of the acorn. So plant 2 inches deep with your acorn. Keep the soil moist and it will sprout up within a few weeks. Full sun or light is deal for most Oaks. There is no special requirement for soil, the Ph scale should be 7.0 but the Pin Oak can easily tolerate 6.0 – 6.5 Ph and A Swamp White Oak enjoys it’s hydromorphic soils and peat moss in it’s soil. Special Sands can raise the Ph scale and lemon juice or vinegar can lower it.

Maple Tree

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  • – Alright so here we have all seen what we call “helicopter wings” when we were younger. A lot of us didn’t know what these were once upon a time but they are actually maple tree seeds and they will grow into Maple Tree seeds once they are planted. In my own experience they grow pretty quick often being seen in one week sprouting up. They will grow in any type of soil really. The most popular ones of the maple tree family Sapindaceae and of the genus Acer are the Sugar Maple, Black Maple, Red Maple due the high sugar content in it’s sap for making maple syrup. Any Maple Tree can be used to make syrup as well. Some corporations out there that make syrup also at times won’t even use sap from Maple Trees but other trees and sometimes not even sap from trees at all but instead corn syrup, but this why authentic maple syrup is so amazing in taste. The Silver Maple Tree and Japanese Maple Tree are so very popular as well.

– To grow maples you will need your maple tree seed and any good dirt for soil. It can be Top Soil, or soil mixed with mulch in it but really with soil it’s anything and should be looked at like an experiment where you can add certain things into it to give it more nutrients for a specific type of plant so that way it can grow. The Maple Tree like the Oak is not too picky it likes any soil even some sand in it’s soil will do nicely along with a drainage system if you are going to plant in a pot. Keep the soil moist but there is no need to over water it. This is one of the easiest trees to grow and under the right conditions these trees can grow up too 80 feet (24.384 meters). The ideal Ph scale for soil in Maples is 6.5 to 7.5, though the Japanese Maple prefers less than 7.0.

Avocado Tree

Avocado pit

– The Avocado Tree is yes, as we all may know a more tropical plant but they are pretty much sub-tropical trees. It can grow up to 40 feet tall under the right conditions. While they grow in a tropical environment you can grow them any where as long as the temperature remains above freezing level. Ideal Ph scale ideal is 6.5 once planted in the soil, but you can do 2 parts regular soil and 1 part sand and mix in your container. There is no dormancy phase for Avocados so if they die, they are probably dead for good. Some Avocado trees will bare fruit in 4 to 5 years after it is planted, others can take as long as 15 years before the first fruit appears.

– Here displayed in the upper-right is an avocado pit that I made, any cup will do and you put the avocado seed in there and attach 3 to 4 tooth picks in into each with a downward slant. The tip of the avocado seed must be pointed up to do this correctly and the more roundish part at the bottom. Most seeds should germinate in this pre-germination method. You will see it sprout up after you see a “tail” as I call it appear below it which would be the root. To do this right you need to change the water in the cup or container ideally once or twice a week so that way it doesn’t mold and then peel off any dead skin of the seed that is peeling off. Do this correctly you could get this going within 2 weeks instead of a month. Once the root hits the end of the cup you need to take it out and plant it in a pot bare that’s a minimum of 12 inches deep. You may need to transplant it around the second year. If the leaves turn yellow early or begin to fall off while it is in a warm environment then you will need to transplant it fast. This applies to almost everything you grow as well. Honestly screw small pots or containers for starting trees in, you will be wasting your money, those should be used for herbs only because they restrict growth room when your plant needs to grow. Buy the biggest pot possible for growing trees especially the avocado so that way you don’t have to worry about transplanting it later unless you decide to outside. If you are up north, or live in a colder region though you will need to cover it during the winter with a specialized type of canopy or thermal blanket, it is also always good to fertilize or add nitrogen to the soil, this will help the Avocado tree build up a tolerance to cold stress or any damage that may occur. There are 3 main types of Avocados as well. The Mexican Avocado, Guatemalan avocado, and the West Indies variant. The Mexican Avocado is the most ideal for growing up north as this one can withstand temperatures as low as 25 degrees but still would need to be covered. You would need to build a frame, and heavy blankets or thermal blankets. Do not prune any damaged branches until the cold weather is gone for good that year. If you have the option to take your avocado tree indoors do that then if possible. What is also important is building up your avocado tree while it is young to strong winds so that way if you ever do put it outdoors in the future it will resist the winds or any storms and not break apart so definitely leave it outside if it’s in a pot with a drainage system for the summer and bring it back in before winter. Personally though if you live in a colder region I would wait till it’s much older and have no choice but to transplant it outside permanently, so that way it has it’s bark and is strong enough for that. In a few months it should look like this below:

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Dormancy Phase

Lastly let’s talk about dormancy really quick, in this phase it will be winter, yes winter not anytime before if your seedling or sapling isn’t looking too good before that then it means it is dying from something else. Sometimes your tree may even skip dormancy phase if it is indoors. Remember Avocadoes have no dormancy phase they just grow slower in the winter, they should not die. However some trees may not come out of dormancy and do die completely during the winter, these unfortunate events can happen from a prior condition like a fungus or mold. Sometimes the young trees don’t make it or dry up completely. It is important to give your trees water before the first frost comes of that year for winter, especially willows. Watering some trees is optional once a month for certain trees during the winter. Each Tree would vary as well. Sometimes a tree will also be alive but not come back out of dormancy during a year. This means you need to really water it more and give it additional sun, as this experience can happen to younger trees during their first times in dormancy. There is a way to check and see if it is alive or dead by doing a test, you will take a knife and peel a layer of bark off to see if it is still green. If it is. then your tree is alive and if not, then well it’s dead and may most likely not come back. Here below the test is done on a young maple tree and don’t worry about the tree it will quickly regenerate it’s bark in a matter of a couple days.

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