The Valley Oak Survives Winter.

Posted: 13th June 2011 by bryant in Valley Oak

For all my readers who have been on the edge of their seat these last few months, wondering if the baby oak tree survived the harsh and long winter, I have good news.  The valley oak is alive and well.

Alive ans well.

Valley Oak. Doing just fine.

I was starting to worry, but it eventually burst out these huge leaves and is taking up sun all day long.  I hope it will do well this Summer in the pot and this fall it will find its final home on the side of my yard.  Way to go little tree.

The Valley Oak (Take 2)

Posted: 4th March 2011 by bryant in Valley Oak

Many of my co-workers and friends know that I have a thing for growing trees.  All of this started when I worked at the University of Utah, and it continues today.  This blog is about the oak tree that I currently have growing in a large flower pot in my front yard.

Up on the U’s campus, there is this gigantic oak tree between the Orson Spencer Hall and the Languages & Communication building.  Its a truly mature oak tree and I will try to get a picture of is soon.  Even the acorns that come from the tree are large when compared to other oak trees on campus.  They are about the size of a small kiwi.  Two autumns ago, I gathered about a dozen of these large acorns and planted them all around my house in Kearns.  I have some images from the acorns that I planted in flower pot’s that I would like to show you.

Just Breaking Ground

After a winter spent in a ziplock bag in the crisper the acorns were planted in large planters and left outside to fend for themselves.  By late spring the top of a tree can be seen edging out of the dirt.  I was pretty excited to see the trees actually growing and I’m glad I remembered to take a pic.  Its pretty much impossible to see, so just take my word for it, its growing.

 

A Baby Oak Tree

An oak tree seedling no more than 4 inches tall. As you can see, the tree is doing well. I was surprised how large the leaves would get on such a young tree, but the leaves grew to pretty much the same size as the leaves on the parent tree.  I kept them watered and they did pretty well all summer long.  Before the winter came, I planted one in the yard of my old house and gave another to a good friend.  As far as I know, the trees are still growing at the house I moved from.  I will try to get a picture of them sometime.

 

 

Not too good over the winter.

small tree trunk about a foot tal with no leaves.

So, the remaining tree moved to Murray with the rest of the family and spent the winter dormant in the basement.   I have moved it into the yard, but its not showing any signs of life yet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it does just fine.

 

 

 

I will post more as I see life returning to it.  You will be surprised to see how large the leaves get.

The Cedar of Lebanon

Posted: 1st March 2011 by bryant in Cedar of Lebanon

When I changed jobs from the University of Utah to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I moved to a building near temple square called the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. It was nice to be working above ground again and after a month or two I was comfortable with the ambient sunlight coming in the windows. One afternoon, while I was looking at Temple Square, a co-worker pointed out a tree and asked if I knew what kind of tree it was. I assumed it was some sort of pine tree since the tree has needles and cones on it, but it turns out it is a Cedar of Lebanon from Lebanon. Apparently someone donated the tree long ago and it has grown into quite a large tree. I don’t have any proof of this, this is just the story I heard.

The Tree

Cedar of Lebanon tree on Temple SquareWell I was immediately interested in this rare tree and decided to attempt another round of tree growing.  Of course, this time I had no idea what the seeds would look like so I had to do some Internet investigations.  I found a number of sites that talk about cedar trees and how to grow them from the cones that they produce.  Only problem was, it didn’t describe when the cones would mature and fall on their own and I didn’t want to get caught climbing a tree on Temple Square.  I just don’t think they would go for that kind of thing.  So I had to wait.  Every morning I would walk under the tree on my way to the office and every afternoon I would walk directly under it and look for discarded cones.  One of the problems I found with this was that the grounds crew here on Temple Square is constantly cleaning debris from the sidewalk and from under the trees.  So, the odds that I was actually going to find a cone were even more staked against me.

 

The Seed

The seed of a Cedar Tree on cobblestone sidewalk.It turns out I was looking for a cone when what I should have been looking for was an individual seed.  One day, in late fall, I was walking under the tree, looking for a cone, when I spotted a weird little leaf.  I didn’t recognize the leaf from any trees nearby so I picked it up.  Luckily for me I had just picked up an individual seed to the tree that had shed off a cone.  The cones don’t drop all at once, they dry up and from the top down they shed seeds.  Awesome!  So I picked up about a half dozen of them and took them home.

 

The small cups of soil where my Cedar of Lebanon seeds are germinating.It’s a Cup of Dirt

So here we are.  Five cups of dirt on a small window sill.  They have been there for about 3 weeks and still no activity from the seeds.  I keep them fairly moist but not wet and they get nice and warm in the daytime and cooler at night.   I figure, the conditions are perfect for germination so now it is a waiting game.  Ahh, the joys of horticulture.

 

 

Stay tuned.