Saturday, September 06, 2008

'Growing Trees From Seed'

A practical guide to growing native trees,vines and shrubs
by Henry Kock
with Paul Aird,John Ambrose and Gerald Waldren.

This is not a picture book although there are many illustrations. It is a practical guide.

It has plans for obtaining the seed.
One of which is...
"Fruits that squirrels drop to the ground can be picked up if your timing is right. High crowns make it hard to obtain some seed without help."

Reasons to plant seeds...
Preserving stress-tolerant trees and shrubs.
"Our indigenous trees and shrubs are in the early stages of developing a seed bank of mature,stress-tolerant individuals on disturbed sites."

Advise on how to tell when the fruit is ready to collect.
"Fruit maturity is associated with a shift in color. For large seeded species cut a few fruits open (using a good pair of pruning shears) to assure seeds are sound and have not been eaten by weevils. "

Stuff to carry with while seed seeking ...
envelopes and paper bags for dry fruit and seeds
plastic bags for moist seeds and cuttings
a compact umbrella to catch seeds shaken or tossed
pencils and tags
a swiss army knife
pruning shears
a water bottle
fiels notebook
a container to carry everything

Planting strategy...
"Natural soil developes in layers and root systems have evolved to exploit those layers. Mixing the soil disturbs this natural process."
"It is the decomposition process at the soil surface that is important, not the final product."

And many pages of individual species information...
"Clematis flowers are a rich source of nectar and are bee pollinated, the fruits mature in October.
The embryo is not fully developed when the fruit is ripe and natural germination is delayed until the second spring. Treatment requires a 24 hour soak,a 30 day warm moist, then 60 day cold moist stratification."

In the preface Henry Kock states his aim "to pass on knowledge of native woody plants and to inspire the gathering and growing of seeds to help restore and sustain the precious diversity of our natural heritage." He died before the book was finished but with a little help from friends and his wife the book was published.

Thank you Henry Kock.

Henry Kock

picture of a tree planted 18 years ago by Henry Kock


Naturalizing your city backyard - A visit with Henry Kock
by Walter Muma

Henry Kock is an Interpretive Horticulturist at the University of Guelph. He transformed his own urban backyard into a woodland with over 100 tree, shrub and herbaceous species along with stumps, logs, a marshy hollow and a brush pile. In this yard, there is abundant life and food with no feeders. The daily foraging of predators prevents possible outbreak of pests.

KOCK Reflections on protecting our trees

All trees have associates and defences. Predators and parasites keep insect pests in check (like gleaner fish on a dolphin) and the defence mechanisms of a tree's immune system protect it from diseases. Biodiversity is necessary for these systems to work well. When a new insect species, like gypsy moth, forest tent caterpillar or fall cankerworm, migrates into an area, it takes a few years before predators and parasites such as birds, mammals and other insects, discover and develop a "taste" for the new organism, and learn to find it frequently. It may take a while, but it always happens. Insects, like animals, are subject to a whole range of viral and bacterial diseases as well and it takes time for these disease organisms to adapt to a new host.


Blogger Cheryl said...

Lovely post and so informative......this autumn I will be given 25 native trees for my garden...........because I garden for wildlife they will be a gift from a local council.....I shall receive them in late October.....I am going to plant them as a native hedge in one part of my garden.....

7/9/08 5:53 AM  
Blogger Gloria said...

25 native trees...wish I had room on this urban space for that many.
Please let us know what you get and how they do.
Thanks for stopping by.

7/9/08 5:15 PM  

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