Skip to main content

Winter in the Greenhouse

During winter we devote a large portion of Greenhouse #1 to native tree seed germination. We travel the state and into Texas searching wild tree populations for seed. Ideally we look for tree species growing in isolation so that hybridization is minimized. We carefully collect, tag, preserve, and transport seed back to the nursery for planting. In some cases we are unable to plant immediately so then we refrigerate the seed until use. Depending upon seed size we then plant one or two seeds per cell. Seed may take one to three months to germinate depending upon variety. 

The tray in the photo shows Vasey Oak tree seedlings about one month after planting.



Seedlings spend the winter months in the greenhouse then in spring we move them to the Arboretum Tome for further growth and development. They usually spend two to four years at the Arboretum where they are transferred first to one gallon containers then five gallon containers and sometimes into 15 gallon containers. They then return to the retail store at the 5 or 15 gallon container size and made available for sale.

Photos and Narrative By:
Steve Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Weed Identification: Goatheads or Stickers

Goatheads (Tribulus terrestris) are native to Southern Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Goatheads are also called stickers, sticker weed, bullhead, devil’s weed, and puncturevine. Goatheads are easily recognized by their prostrate growth form,

leaves with leaflets,


yellow flowers,

and stickers (Goatheads).

If you miss’em visually then they will stab you painfully in the fingers as you work your garden, or stick to your clothing and shoes. Goatheads are the primary reason local bicyclists must get “thorn proof” tires for riding on area trails and streets.
Goatheads have prostrate stems that radiate outward from one central point. Leaves are compound with smaller leaflets. Lemon yellow flowers form along the stems and fertilized flowers form fruits.Fruits consist of several attached structures called nutlets (Goatheads).

Each nutlet is a single seed that becomes hard or woody when mature. Each seed has two sharp spines that easily penetrate skin, clothing, and soles of shoes. This att…

Western Soapberry Tree

The Western Soapberry tree (Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii) is native to New Mexico. It grows wild from Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana westward through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Arizona, and Mexico. The fruit of the Western Soapberry tree is a drupe.


Mature fruits are translucent, amber colored, and contain a black seed.

The mature fruit without the seed


will produce a good lather with water


and has been used as a soap substitute.


Fruits persist on the trees through winter. The Western Soapberry tree can grow 1′-2′ annually reaching 25′-30′ tall and wide making it a good sized shade tree. Fall leaf color is an attractive golden yellow. Currently, there are no improved varieties of the Western Soapberry Tree.


It grows well on the alkaline soils of New Mexico and is very tolerant of heat and drought once established. This tree is rarely affected by disease or insect pests making it an ideal specimen tree for your yard or landscape. Soapberry leaves are pinnately compound w…

Afghan Pine

The Afghan Pine (Pinus eldarica) is also known as Desert Pine, Eldarica Pine or Mondell Pine. Afghan Pineis native to low rainfall areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and southern Russia. In fact, when planted in areas of high rainfall (> 20” per year), it becomes susceptible to a number of diseases and rapidly declines. This problem has occurred in East Texas. The Afghan Pine thrives in heat, wind, and tolerates drought. Afghan Pine must be planted in soils with good drainage like sand. It is not suitable for poorly drained heavy clasy soils.

Afghan Pines are generally pyramidal or Christmas tree shaped in form when young
becoming more oval or irregular with age.

The leaves of the Afghan Pine are evergreen needles usually found in groups of 2 per fascicle or sheath.

Needles are shed after several years and make excellent mulch as they fall around the trees base.
It has attractive trunk bark that becomes dark and furrowed with age.

Afghan Pines can add 1′-2′ new growth per year and reach 40…