Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Smaller Than Acorns

Whoever first marvelled that great oaks grow from little acorns probably wasn't familiar with eucalypt seed.

This is a river red gum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis:
Note people on the path for scale. The tree grows to 40-45m tall, and lives for hundreds of years.

And this is the seed of the river red gum:
Seeds are about a millimetre long. (Acorns are several centimetres long.)

Today I sowed the last of my TreeProject seeds; one box of candlebark, Eucalyptus rubida, and two of river red gum. For once I remembered to take photos of the whole process, so here are the steps for the river red gums.

First, thoroughly mix a measured amount of native fertiliser through a measured amount of potting mix:

Then fill 48 tubes with the mix, to within a centimetre of the top of each tube:

Then add a label to the box, and a pinch of seed to each tube:

There could be 100 or more seeds in each tube. The goal is to end up with one healthy seedling in each tube.

These seeds are so tiny that they don't need a layer of potting mix over the top of them. The next step is to sprinkle smoke-infused vermiculite over the seeds, so they will think there has been a fire:

Then a layer of gravel to act as mulch:
Add water and wait! If all has gone well, river red gum seedlings will begin to appear in 3 to 5 weeks.

Once I had finished these, I had a good look at all the previous boxes, but there are no visible seedlings anywhere yet. Stay tuned!

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