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Winterlude lll

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This past Sunday January 18th 2015, ReForest volunteers and staff got to enjoy a warm morning inside the Friends of the Civic Gardens Greenhouse. Five ReForest London volunteers, three Friends of the Civic Gardens volunteers and two ReForest London staff took part in the annual seeding event. Altogether, we planted over 600 seedlings, varieties including Red Oak, Red Bud, Sycamore and White Pine. 

A special thank you to one of ReForest London’s Neighbourhood Tree Captains, Wilda Mardlin, for saving her Redbud seeds for us, as well as saving and starting Sycamore seeds  for ReForest London programs! 

                                           Wilda's Sycamore Seed Starts

This event is important to ReForest London because we are able to start our own seeds for seedling projects in the Spring and Fall. In the past, the seedlings started went to events such as Forest City Road Races or at the Covent Garden Market seedling giveaway. 

The morning included an explanation of how to save tree seeds from Project Manager Amber Cantell, followed by a lesson on how to determine the viability of saved tree seeds.

Volunteers then added soil to pots, added seeds then created seed labels (these labels were written on repurposed vinyl blinds).








Finally all trays of potted seeds were transferred to another table, where volunteers of Friends of the Civic Gardens will water and care for the seedlings until Spring. This event was open specifically for our Tree Gurus, since they have the highest level of training from ReForest London and can benefit from further education about seed starting. If you want to participate in the event next year, be sure to register for our upcoming Tree Guru training in May.

In Canada, most species need their seed to be kept cold in a fridge or root cellar for several months before they'll even consider germinating, just to make sure winter is over. Most tree seeds require some type of preparation in order to plant them. Some tree seeds need to be submerged in acid in order to remove the outer layer of the seed covering, which mimics the act of being processed in the stomach of a bird (American Basswood is an example).  Some seeds (such as Magnolia) require a scratching process that mimics the process of going through the gravely bit in a bird’s stomach.  An example of the scratching process is putting sand paper into a jar, adding the seeds and shaking so that the seeds rub against the abrasive sandpaper. Redbud seeds require a 24 hour hot water soaking process prior to being planted, in order to properly germinate. It is important to learn what type of germination process each type of seed needs, in order to give the seeds the best start possible.  For those interested in trying to grow native trees at home, our staff enthusiastically recommend Henry Kock's "Growing Trees from Seed" book, which has lots of valuable information specific to Southwestern Ontario trees.

Saving seed is an important part of sustainable forestry, and ReForest London is appreciative of all the volunteers who save seed for our programs. ReForest London would also like to recognize the Friends of the Civic Gardens for donating their greenhouse space, resources and volunteers for taking care of the seedlings. Everyone in London can play a special role in the Million Tree Challenge, whether it’s saving seeds, planting seeds or planting trees!

Tree Guru Sommer with Completed Pots

Tree Guru Sommer with Completed Pots              Community Engagement Coordinator Skylar                                                                                    looking impressed with all the seeded pots









Sommer and Nancy planting some Redbuds seeds in the pots









Tree Guru Sue and her daughter Megan                  Program Coordinator Amber is very happy









 Redbud seeds collected from Wilda's trees                 Red Oak acorns that Amber collected















Tree Guru Tammy potting up the soil                Gail from Friends of the Civic Garden dancing