“Time has flown by” is a phrase I have been hearing a lot recently. And I can’t help but agree when I see the beautiful autumnal colours starting to appear. The trees have started to turn vibrant shades of yellow, orange, red and brown, the birds are feasting on berries, and I have been out collecting seeds.
This is the perfect time to start collecting seeds from our beautiful native trees. Last week I spent a nice sunny afternoon walking through the woodlands of Talich Wildlife Reserve picking rowan, hawthorn and elder berries, as well as alder cones and ash keys.
After a very messy process of smashing, scraping and cleaning I managed to extract the seeds from the berries which I am now storing in my fridge until they can be sown. Extracting seeds from the alder cones is a much simpler process. A bit of shaking in a Tupperware container helps the seeds get loose (I recommend putting some music on for this part!)
The seeds I collected will be sown in spring. Hopefully they will grow into tree saplings that we will be able to plant back in the woodlands at Talich, to help encourage the natural regeneration of the native woodland.
How to collect native tree seeds
If you are interested in collecting seeds it is important to know when to pick. Collect too early and the seeds may not have had time to fully mature, but wait too long and the birds might have eaten them all and the seeds may have dispersed.
Alder and ash seeds can be collected when the cones and keys (respectively) start turning brown, anytime between September and October. The best time to collect rowan berries is from the end of August to beginning of September. Elderberries can be picked throughout September, while it is best to pick hawthorn at the beginning of October.
I found the information about collecting seeds on the TCV website very useful.
Please remember – when picking berries, it is important to keep in mind that some species rely on them for food, so pick sparingly, leaving plenty for the birds, insects and mammals to feast on.
Beth Harwood, Reserves Project Officer, North of Scotland
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“Time has flown by” is a phrase I have been hearing a lot recently. And I can’t help but agree when I see the beautiful autumnal colours starting to appear. …