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How to grow a tree from seed

Growing a tree from a seed needn't be tricky.

You will need

  • A tree seed; beechmast, sweet chestnuts, hazelnuts and acorns are often easy to find
  • A plant pot with drainage holes in the base
  • Some small stones
  • Compost
  • Wire mesh
  • Bamboo cane (optional)
  • Plastic bottle (optional)

What to do

  1. Put some stones at the bottom of the pot and fill it almost to the top with compost.
  2. Plant the seeds about 2cm deep, then press down the compost and water it thoroughly.
  3. Put the pot outside in a shady corner. Cover the top with wire mesh to stop birds and animals getting to the seeds.
  4. Check it every week to make sure the soil hasn’t dried out. Be careful not to over-water it.
  5. As the seed starts to sprout in spring, keep an eye on the growth. Re-pot the shoot into larger pots as it grows. Once it reaches 40cm, find a suitable place to transfer it into the ground.
  6. If you think it may be at risk from rabbits or mice, you could add protection. Push a bamboo cane into the ground next to the tree, cut the neck and base from a large soft drinks bottle to create a plastic tube. Place it over the cane and sapling and push it into the soil.
  7. As your seeds start to grow, keep them sheltered during winter to protect them from frost.

Top tip: Try to plant several seeds to make sure that at least one germinates.