Have you ever wondered how trees reproduce and make baby trees? Trees actually reproduce through cultivation and sexually by using an exchange of pollen between the female and male reproductive systems.
Trees are considered asexual, however, a single tree can have both female and male flowers. They also rely on evolutions and adaptations to prevent self-pollination. These type of adaptations could include the shape, color, or even smell of its flower. It also might have different cone structures that help to make sure that the tree doesn’t self-fertilize.
Here are a few types of ways that trees pollinate:
Many trees rely on the wind for pollination. That’s often why during the Spring months the air becomes filled with pollen, which often triggers allergies in humans. Trees shed pollen in hopes that the wind will blow it only other trees. The pollen is so small and light, it’s designed to be easily carried away by the wind. The goal is that it will be carried a far distance to another tree of the same species that also produces female flowers to pollinate. The way that each tree collects this pollen is completely different, but they are all designed to better trap the pollen floating in the air.
Some trees also use insects and animals to help with pollination. In fact, pollinators play a massive role in helping plants reproduce. The most common types of pollinators are bees, butterflies, wasps, beetles, bats, and hummingbirds that you often see hovering around flowers. When it comes to trees, they often draw in these types of pollinators with beautiful flowers. Each tree has a different type of flower that draws in a unique pollinator that’s designed to attract them.
Birds are also terrific pollinators. Many birds have beaks that are specifically designed to crack open cones or tree nuts, which ends up spreading the seed. Birds can also transfer pollen on their beaks from one flower to the next.
One pollination occurs, the seeds that the pollination produces still need to be distributed. They can be distributed in several different ways depending on the type of seed and its adaption. Fruiting or nut trees are encased in a shell and are dropped to the ground. They can either sprout there or they might be eaten by other animals who spread the seeds when they defecate. These seeds can also get carried away through water run off or attach themselves to animal fur.
Trees that produce nuts are collected by animals that burry nuts, like squirrels who store them for later. Some of these seeds (forgotten by the animal) grow into new trees.
Other types of seeds can get carried by the wind, like Cotten Wood trees. These seeds glide in the air until they are able to settle on the ground and can begin to grow.
Humans can also help create brand new trees! Some species of trees can be reproduced by the cultivation of cuttings. Cuttings are just stems that are taken from a tree and then planted in the soil. With lots of loving care, the stems develop roots and can grow into an adult tree. This is referred to as asexual reproduction, so the tree is actually just a clone of the original tree. This method is a great way to populate trees or grow a field of trees with identical characteristics, like fruit or but trees.
Do you have any questions about growing your own trees? Send us a message and we’d be happy to share our thoughts!