Sowing seeds of plane trees:
Plane tree seeds are very hardy plants which need warm conditions to germinate. They require light and warmth during the day time so they can grow well. When they get cold enough, their leaves fall off and they die. You have to wait until it gets warmer again before you plant them into your garden or potting soil.
The best way to sow plane tree seeds is with a tray filled with peat moss (or vermiculite) and moistened paper towels. Place the tray near the sun at a sunny location and let it stay there overnight. If you don’t have any peat moss or verm, then use damp paper towel instead. After several days, remove the tray from sunlight and place it back inside where it was placed. Leave it alone for another few weeks before planting again.
After a few months, you will see small white flowers growing out of the tray. These are the seeds of plane tree. They grow slowly and take up to three years to reach maturity. Once they mature, they start producing fruit which is edible too!
You can also plant plane tree seeds directly into your garden using a spoon or fork. Just make sure that the soil is not wet when you do so because if it becomes wet, the seeds won’t germinate properly. You should also use a pot that has holes in the bottom so the water can drain out. Once again, you should place it outside in a sunny location which does not get too hot. You should keep it wet and keep the surface lightly moistened daily.
Do not waterlog your plane tree seedlings!
There are 3 types of plane tree seeds: smooth, rough and intermediate. For the most part, they all follow the same guidelines for planting and care. The smooth type are lighter in color while rough types are a little bit darker and the intermediates are somewhere in between.
The growth rate for plane tree seedlings is about 2 feet per year until they reach the age of 5 where they start growing much slower at about 1 foot per year. By the time they reach 20 years old, they will be about 15-20 feet tall. That’s still pretty small so don’t expect to use them as a wind breaker or anything like that.
Plant your new seeds in a sunny location which has rich soil and plenty of water and sun. Keep the surface lightly moistened daily. You can start seeing sprouts in as little as 2 weeks but it may take up to 4 weeks before you really know if they took or not.
You will need a container or planter that has several holes in the bottom for the water to drain out. Fill it about 1/3 full of potting soil and then make a small hole in the center. Place 1-3 seeds inside the hole and cover lightly with more soil making sure they are all level with the top of the soil. Keep the surface moist but not soaked and keep an eye on them in case you see anything growing in a few weeks.
If interested in growing them inside a house, you should place them near a window which has lots of sunlight. Be sure to keep them away from air conditioner or heating vents because they won’t like the change in temperature. Just keep them in the pot you planted them in and water daily.
Continue to keep the seed tray/container/planter outside or place near a window out of direct sunlight until the seedlings grow taller and are able to withstand the sun. After this, you can place them outside in a sunny location or keep them inside near a window out of direct sunlight.
If you live in a colder region, the seeds should be able to grow if you plant them in the ground but it may take longer than normal. Also keep in mind that they don’t like salty soil so you may have to do some research on what type of soil you have and if you need to change it out before planting.
Watering Plane Trees
It’s very important to keep the surface of the soil lightly moistened at all times. Do not waterlog them though because they will most likely die from soggy soil. You can also provide enough moisture by soaking the container or planter with water and then drain out the excess through the bottom to prevent this.
You can also water them from above by placing them outside in the summer months so that the hot sun can help to naturally water them. Just be sure to bring them back inside if there is even a threat of a freeze warning in your area.
Fertilizing Plane Trees
Fertilize your tree every month while in the growing season (April through September) with a product that is high in Potassium. You can get a good fertilizer at most garden centers or home improvement stores. Follow the directions on the package for the best results.
Pruning Plane Trees
These trees actually benefit from occasional pruning. This involves shaping and controlling their size and growth, removing dead or diseased limbs and even encouraging low branching. The American Forestry Association recommends pruning to promote the natural shape of the tree which would be wide at the base and taper upward. This helps to prevent broken branches in the wind or other natural events.
Just like with most plants, you want to prune just before the plant begins to bud. This will cause the least amount of shock to the tree’s system allowing it to grow back stronger and healthier than it was before.
Pests & Diseases of the Platana
These trees are prone to infestation by the scale insect. They are small and difficult to see and introduce themselves to the plant by sucking out all of the nutrients from the leaves. At first, you won’t really notice it but over time, you will start to see the leaves turning yellow and dying. Scale insects are hard to get rid of and if there is an infestation you may have to remove the tree completely.
Insects, in general, don’t tend to bother the plant unless they have no other food source available to them. This means if you have other trees or shrubs planted nearby then they will be more likely to hang around and chew on them. There isn’t a whole lot you can do about this but just keep an eye out for unusual damage that looks like it could be from insects and have it treated right away.
The other major disease that affects this tree is root rot. This is caused by several different factors and is fairly easy to identify. The most common signs are yellowing of the leaves followed by browning and then death of the leaves as well as portions of the limbs. You may also notice some staining and sinking of the soil in the area which would be a clear indicator that you need to take action as soon as possible.
There are several things that could cause this, from simply over watering to the introduction of too much fertilizer into the soil around the tree. It could also be a disease that is spread by insects or a presence of certain types of soil bacteria. In any event, you’ll need to take steps to correct this if your tree starts showing symptoms of this disease.
As with most plants, these are prone to infestation by various types of insects and pests. Most of the time you can take care of these by using a strong spray of water to wash them off or even wiping them off with a cloth. Check your tree on a regular basis so you can get rid of potential problems before they become serious.
These trees are fairly hearty and healthy but like many others they do suffer from conditions that can cause major damage if left unchecked. The most common problem is over and under watering. You want to make sure that you don’t over water the tree just as much as you want to avoid under watering it.
The best way to do this is to check the soil every few days and keep an eye on the tree itself. The soil should be moist but not soggy and there should be no standing water present anywhere around the tree. As for the tree itself, the older outer leaves should be dry to the touch. If they are still slightly damp, then you need to cut back on watering that tree.
The other major cause of problems with this tree is fertilizer. You only need to fertilize these trees about once a month at maximum and that’s only if you want to promote faster growth. Use a low nitrogen formula since too much will make the tree weak and more prone to disease and insect attacks.
The final thing to remember is that if you do have an insect or disease problem that you need to take care of immediately. Most trees will give you warning signs such as yellowing leaves, dropping limbs and the like so keep an eye on your tree and you should do just fine.
As you can see, growing Ficus trees is not that difficult. The key thing to remember is you just need to keep an eye on them and take care of any problems as soon as you notice them. They do best in well lit locations so try to find a spot where it will get at least a few hours of sunlight each day.
These trees are fairly hearty and can handle a wide range of conditions but the brighter and warmer the location, the happier it will be. These are great starter plants for anyone because they are so easy to grow and don’t require a lot of attention.
Growing Ficus Trees From Cuttings
Cutting a plant that you want to grow from a seedling or starter plant into multiple pieces can speed up the growing process. This is not a method for everyone and does require some patience but it is a good way to fill in blank spots in your yard if you have the time.
Sources & references used in this article:
First hybrid plane trees to show resistance against canker stain (Ceratocystis fimbriata f. sp. platani) by A Vigouroux, R Olivier – Forest Pathology, 2004 – Wiley Online Library
Sowing the mustard seed: The struggle for freedom and democracy in Uganda by YK Museveni – 2020 – books.google.com
Establishing a vigorous nursery crop: bed preparation, seed sowing, and early seedling growth by BE Thompson – Forestry Nursery Manual: Production of Bareroot …, 1984 – Springer