Category Archives: In The Woods


I notice weird bumps on the stems of plants, especially wild blackberries.
gall on blackberry stem
Doing a bit of research, they must be galls – tissue damage caused by insects.  I found quite a bit of information Here. It also gave me some enlightenment on odd bumps and such on my oaks and other things I have noticed in my woods.  This is probably the plant’s attempt to replace tissue around insect damage.

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Pine Seedlings EVERYWHERE!

It is really an amazing thing, pine seedlings are everywhere in the spring.  These are some small seedlings that I dug up because they were in the way in a garden bed.  This pic is a few weeks old – they all made it and are several inches taller now.  I can’t help myself, when I turn over the garden beds, I can’t help but dig up nice looking seedlings and replant them in pots and grow them in the greenhouse until this fall or next spring and plant them all over the place.  I currently have a few hundred pine seedlings in the greenhouse.  They have all put on a few inches of nice new, light green growth.
potting baby pines

The smaller pine seedlings growing on this red clay bank are a year old.  The taller tree out front is only 2 1/2 years old.  The little sprouts can grow quickly, even in red clay.
reforestation marches on

I drew a red line next to some pine tree seedlings that had just begun to sprout.  Can hardly take a step in the woods with out stepping on sprouts.
pine seedlings every step

The next foot step – more sprouts.  It is amazing.  They are trying to wiggle out of their seed.  The seed is still attached at the top of these sprouts.
the next step is filled with pine seedlings

Pine seeds rain down from the pines from about September to February.  Out of a thousand seeds, maybe one might grow to a tree – maybe one.  The sprouts will have to be strong with deep roots to survive the hot dry summer that is coming.

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A Buckeye Update – They All Made It!

Upon closer examination of the 4 pots with buckeyes planted in them, I realized that they all did infact sprout.  The other 4 just hadn’t surfaced yet, but their roots were growing out of the pots.  I’m very pleased.  The buckeye/firecracker plant is a real gem.

Circled in red are the 2 buckeyes that sprouted first.  (Notice a sprouting pine in the pot on the right)

sprouting buckeyes

I had gathered 6 buckeyes, all from the same 3′ plant down the driveway.  It is said that the germination rate of these plants is about 50%, but it looks like I achieved 100%!!  These other 4 pots have not yet sprouted so I looked at the bottom of them and noticed these large roots growing out of the holes.  To get some of them out, I had to cut the bottom of the pots.  Oh joy, now I have 6 buckeyes to go plant in the woods, not too far from the house.  Now that I know what I am dealing with, I will be on the lookout for the buckeye seeds by next September.  I now know what to look for as far as the seed pods on the plants.
roots growing out of the bottom of the pots

Today is about 3 weeks since I have cut out and re-potted these seedlings and most have them are now popping thru the soil surface!!!  I’m really thrilled as this such an interesting plant although it has no food value.  The plant does well in full sun, but the ones in our woods are in mostly shade, as shall these be once I get them planted out in the next few weeks.

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Baby White Oaks

This past fall was the year most of the giant white oaks around here dropped their acorns.  Since they only do this every 2 or 3 years, I gathered a few hundred of the acorns – at least half of them after they started to sprout all over the ground.  For many of those acorns sprouting all over the place, I walked thru the woods and planted them here and there, giving them a chance to grow – they won’t be able to grow up under the big trees in the yard where they  sprouted..  For the chosen few hundred, I have them rooting in pots.

This is one of them.  They send out roots first and then a few months later they send up the tree.  This little sprout has the potential to grow into 60+ foot beauties.

white oak sprout

In 50 years or so, maybe this little guy will look like this:

white oak

I haven’t tried to grow so many oak seedling before, so I’ll have to see how it goes.  I have stacks of used greenhouse tree pots and I make my own potting soil using bags of cheap, sandy ‘compost’, black-cow compost, bags of commercial pine and hardwood mulch that has been in the bag and composting for a few years, and add some vermiculite and perilite.  I also now add Azomite to my potting soil.

We don’t have a very large population of squirrels around here, so the few hundred acorns that I sprout shouldn’t affect them much.

The red oak acorns, mostly turkey oaks and water oaks, are chilling in moist peat moss in the refrigerator until this spring.

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It’s Mushroom Time In The Woods

Yesterday during my walk thru the woods, I took a few pictures of the mushrooms that have popped up all over the past few weeks.

These pink tops are numerous.  They just pop up and if there are leaves over them, they just push it all up out of their way, still hanging on the mushroom.

mushroom in woods
white mushroom with rounded top
tall mushroom with small button

The tiny red berries are dogwood tree seeds – this little guy is under a dogwood tree.
mushroom by dogwood seeds

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