The Life Cycle of Trees and How to Care for them at Each Phase (Part 1)

Just Like humans, in fact, just like all living things, trees have a life cycle. This article will examine these stages and suggest how you should take care of your trees in each stage of their life cycle.

  • Seed

Seeds are a means for trees to ensure that the next generation of the species is spread and propagates – to ensure that the species continues to survive.

The seed contains all the resources needed for it to survive on its own, for a period of time so that it can reach a safe place to germinate.

The best time to sow seeds is in Autumn but you need to ensure that they are planted or sowed at the recommended depth. If they are planted too deep, they may not sprout and if they are planted too shallow the roots won’t take hold and the seedling will wither.

You should ensure that you use a good soil that drains well and place the container in a sunny spot. Ensure that you keep it moist but not wet, as too much water could cause decay and the seed will not sprout. The environment should also be quite humid, so we suggest that you cover the container in a plastic tent with some holes to allow air circulation.

Once your seed germinates, move it to a brighter location – you may need to keep it indoors until you are ready to plant it, but ensure that the plant gets plenty of sunlight.

  • Sprout

The seed has now fallen and needs to secure itself – this happens when the primary root emerges from the seed in order to anchor it and to provide the growing plant with water.

Once the primary root is secure, the embryotic shoot emerges which will then appear above the soil.

  • Seedling

A tree is considered a seedling until it is about 3 ft or 1 metre tall. This is the stage of the tree life cycle when it is most at risk of disease or damage. The seedling would be called a whip if it does not have any branches.

It is best to uproot, store and transplant trees during their dormant phase because they are more able to resist stresses during this phase. This is usually during the Autumn and Winter months.

You need to ensure that the roots remain properly moisturised as the root tips desiccate from lack of moisture. The root tips are extremely important for the tree as this is where new roots will sprout from.

Try to handle the seedling as little as possible.

Choose a spot that is well protected from most of the elements in your garden so that the tree can stand a fighting chance of survival.

  • Sapling

Once a tree grows higher than 1m it is considered a sapling, but the duration of time for which the tree is considered a sapling depends on the species.

Water is much more important than fertilizer in the first two years, so make sure that you keep the soil moist, but not wet. Even though your tree is at it’s weakest just after planting it and will need a fair amount of water, you can still over water it and you could lose your tree. To check if it has enough water, you can dig a small trench around the sapling and checking if the soil is still moist. If this is dry to the touch, your plant needs water.

Ensure that you use the deep watering technique with saplings that are planted in your garden. Shallow watering will result in surface roots forming which are too weak to support the young tree and will make it more susceptible to disease.


Stay tuned for part 2 of this informative article.