Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Arbutus Seed To Soil

Eight days ago several arbutus seed clusters were nipped off the plants and placed in a tray near a basement window.  Today I could wait no longer.  These seed structures are almost as large as a pencil eraser.  Opening them while preserving their form was beyond my skill level.  Tiny seeds did fall on the paper towel as I tore the clusters apart.  These seeds are so small that I needed the photo to confirm their presence.

Ripe or not, the seeds were scattered on the surface of the previously prepared soil.  A handful of rotting pine needles was rubbed between my palms creating a fine natural thin covering for the seeds.  Now we wait.  When I checked back this evening, red ants were busily working the area.  Columns of these ants have been moving up and down the white pine tree trunk adjacent to the arbutus planting for days.  The purpose of this activity escapes me.  Hope that they are not interested in fresh arbutus seed although they were moving away some of the pieces of pine needles.

Eight days ago I also placed two broken arbutus stems in rooting soil.  One of these stems had been accidentally broken off several days prior to my rescue attempt.  That may be the dead one.  The second cutting looks good.  Its tiny hairy new shoot is encouraging.  These two plants were moved outside and removed from the plastic bottle covers just briefly for the photo.  Both have been returned to indirect light near a basement window.  Now we wait.

This picture shows the general condition of the arbutus plants today.  One unopened seed cluster remains attached to the plant.  It is hidden away under a flush of new growth.  A brown spot has just appeared on the surface of the cluster.  Perhaps we will be lucky enough to capture a photo of this seed structure when it opens naturally.  Now we wait.

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