Planting trees is a rewarding experience for everyone involved. You get the satisfaction of caring for the Earth and future generations get the satisfaction of sitting in the shade you made for them! What’s not to love?
Planting trees is a fairly simple process, but like a good recipe, there are certain steps you have to take in order for a little tree seed to grow into a big, strong, healthy, long-living tree.
One simple way to grow a tree is to plant a pine tree from seed. Pine trees are evergreens, meaning they keep their green needles all year ’round. This makes them excellent windbreak trees in the winter and adds splashes of greens and blues to the landscape
Here’s how to plant a pine tree from seed:
The best time to collect pinecones for seed extraction is in the autumn. During the fall months, between September and November, the pinecones open up and drop to the ground, releasing their seeds.
Pick out healthy seeds
Once you have your pinecones, tap them gently to get the tree to release the seeds. Pick out healthy, intact looking seeds. Avoid seeds that seemed chipped, smaller than the others, or any that might have mold growing on them.
Float test your seeds
One easy way to separate viable seeds from duds is to float test them. Simply place your seeds in a bowl of water. If they float, plant them! If they sink, discard them.
Dry your seeds and wait
Unfortunately, the process of planting a pine tree from seed is a bit of a lengthy one. There’s some waiting involved. Once you’ve float tested your seeds, thoroughly dry them off and store them in an airtight container until planting season, which is in December.
Plant your seed!
Now for the exciting part! Once December/early January have come around, it’s time to plant your seed. Plant your seed in a small pot with soil. Place the seed just under the surface with the pointed part of the seed facing down. It should be verticle in the hole. Water and set near a sunny window.
Wait some more
Now for the not so exciting part! Now it’s time to wait. And wait. And wait some more. Your pine tree likely won’t emerge from the soil until March of April. But keep it watered and don’t move it from that sunny window!
Care for your seedling
Once your pine tree has sprouted, take good care of it. Watch it closely. The tree will try to lean toward the sun. Take care to turn it periodically so that it will continue to grow straight.
Transplant your sapling
Once your pine tree is about 6-12 inches tall, it’s time to transplant to a bigger pot. Select a 1 gallon pot, fill with soil, and gently transplant your sapling. You can now move your sapling outdoors.
Find a permanent home
Once your sapling has begun to outgrow its one gallon pot, it’s time to find a permanent home for your tree. Select a spot that’s right for the type of pine tree you selected.