Back in February, the Green Venture team prepared a variety of tree starting kits with native seeds/acorns, soil, growing pot, and simple step-by-step instructions. These kits were distributed to classes and community members. Over the past few months, we’ve been watching as these acorns grow up into beautiful saplings. Almost 200 acorns/seeds were distributed across Hamilton to individuals, families and classrooms.
This year, various native seeds/acorns have been generously donated by several seed collectors including Sheldon McGregor and the Green Legacy Program, which included:
- Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis)
- Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)
- Kentucky Coffee-tree (Gymnocladus dioicus)
- Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)
- Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
- White Oak (Quercus alba)
As summer is here, we thought we’d check on how our seeds are doing. Check out our red oak thriving beautifully in the bottom right picture below! Like the red oak, the Kentucky coffee-tree on the top left corner was cared for and grown by one of our community members and is growing beautifully.
During May, the seedlings went through a process called “hardening off” – exposing them to indirect light and gradually moving the pots into a sunnier location as the temperatures warmed up and seedlings got stronger. As we shift from growing indoors to outdoors – exposing them to the outside elements such as wind, sun, and changing weather – helps encourage seedlings to adapt to their new environment. Probably the most important seedling growing lesson was to make sure to guard seedlings against the squirrels when placed outside! Wrapping with chicken wire around the pot or making a tree guard with an old paper towel tube is ideal.
It is normal for seedlings to experience some leaf discolouration or browning for various reasons, such as overwatering or not enough water. You can easily test out if your seedlings need to be watered or not by placing your finger inside the soil to about an inch (soil is cool and moist – no watering needed, warm and dry – your seedlings deserve some water!).
It is important to know that trees are resilient and can withstand various setbacks, as long as they are developing strong ROOTS!
As part of this urban forest growing journey, these seedlings – grown and raised by our community members – will be planted during our community planting events this fall!
After months of caring for and growing these seeds, here are a few words from some of our fellow community members: