Thursday, 1 October 2015

Drowning in Seedlings

Although I've got hundreds of little trees growing in my bonsai area, only a small proportion of them are trees I bought. A few others were gifts while several more came from my club's raffle table. The vast majority, however, are either trees I propagated myself or ones which came into the world uninvited.

The last category consists mainly of seedlings that popped up in my garden or in one of the pots in which an established tree was already growing. I affectionately refer to those as my "weedlings" because a weed is really just a "​wild ​plant that ​grows in an ​unwanted ​place" (*). And once removed from the place where they are unwanted, my weedlings are free to become little trees in their own right.

White stinkwood bonsai in training

At the end of August I won the above tree - a white stinkwood (Celtis Africana) - on a club raffle. At the time the weeds were a lot less conspicuous than they are in this photo, but I chose to let them grow a bit before removing them, just in case some were worth saving.

Weeds and seedlings growing alongside my tree

This week I took a closer look at the weeds and discovered several Trident Maple seedlings growing among them. So, realising that it wouldn't be good for my tree or the seedlings for them to continue living together, I set aside some time to rescue the seedlings and move them into pots of their own.

The first thing I did was to pull out all the unidentified weeds. I felt a bit guilty throwing them away as I couldn't be sure that there weren't trees of another species among them, but my space is limited so I had to be selective. Once the weeds were gone I faced the more difficult job of gently lifting the maple seedlings out of the soil with enough root to sustain them while ensuring that I didn't disturb the roots of my white stinkwood more than necessary.

Finally I placed each of my seedlings in a makeshift pot (a plastic cup with drainage holes in the base). I now have 25 seedlings recovering in a sheltered area outside. I'm not sure what I'll do with so many, but my first goal is to see that they all survive.

(*) Definition from Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Linking up to Little Things Thursdays.

4 comments so far. I hope you'll join the discussion.

  1. I'd love to take some of those seedlings off your hands :) I don't suppose you're in Texas?

    1. Hi June. I'm afraid I'm the other end of the world - in South Africa!

  2. Wow! This is a labor of love!

    1. Hi Kim. I guess that's just the way I'm made. I hate to see anything die and even have a hard time killing the real weeds.