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Stand in the place where you were, now face north, think about direction, wonder why you haven't now. Stand in the place where...
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I was talking with my neighbor not too long ago about reforestation.
He planted trees for several summers and was saying that many of them just don't make it for whatever reason.
I am sure that there are many but I had one possible reason come to me that made him scratch his head.

Does it matter when transplanting a tree, which way it was oriented when it was a seedling? Does it stress them when planted with the sun at their backs so to speak?

Every time you reach in the bag for another seedling you've got a one in four chance of being close to right and I couldn't help but wonder if there is a correlation between how many degrees from of true it is turned when planted and mortality rate.

So I guess that the idea is for an experiment to see if we should be tagging the West, (completely arbitrary), sides of baby trees so the poor critters get their homes back faster.

Now about them Pine beetles...

Tree orientation http://www.bio.net/...95-June/006975.html
you're not the first to ask [lurch, Jan 06 2010]


       This is a brilliant question. Woe that I have only one [+] to give.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 04 2010

       I've planted them too. I think most seedlings are greenhouse grown and all of the leaders are pretty vertical. I'm guessing that, while your question is interesting, it's not actually a major factor. Like most living things the number of factors against survival weigh heavily at odds against the seedlings. I think the major factors are proper planting and if the tree is put into good soil. No tree planter takes any time to ensure either.
rcarty, Jan 04 2010

       This should be testable. Plant a number of trees - let's say 36 groups of 10 trees each. When they've started to grow, rotate each group by a different amount - in this case, 36 groups can cover the whole circle with a 10 degree resolution. Let them grow further, and then measure the average health of each group somehow - eg by rate of growth, or degree of wiltedness.   

       It would also be possible to vary the time between planting and rotation, to see if this affects the tree's health too.   

       More seriously, digging up a young tree in order to transplant it presumably causes substantial disturbance to the growing roots, which can easily be expected to result in health problems for the tree.
Wrongfellow, Jan 04 2010

       sounds sane to me +
some also require pruning and the weeding out of obtrusive plants. (like the song, too!!)
xandram, Jan 05 2010

       it does stress a plant to adapt, i have seen it in other plants large and small, i like to garden but there are far too many factors to pin decline on just one.   

       water, type of soil, weather, plant damage, planting depth, elevation change, bugs and disease   

       bugs can destroy full grown trees and shrubs in a matter of days or weeks   

       a sapling is a bug snack
vfrackis, Jan 05 2010

       Their chances are slim from the start for sure. I'm just currious.
The University of B.C. has a massive horticultural area not too far up the road from here, and I was thinking of bouncing the question off of someone there. If they don't already know the answer I think the experiment will take more than 360 trees in order to have a control group...and who knows maybe somebody needs a thesis topic.

       Or you could play safe and plant all your trees on rapidly spinning turntables.
hippo, Jan 06 2010

       There are several factors to consider:   

       Magnetic orientation   

       Solar illumination   

       Prevailing wind direction.   

       Experiments would require control groups on all of these variables, and possibly others.
8th of 7, Jan 06 2010

       Latitude is another possible factor. The angle at which the sunlight hits the leaves must surely be just as significant as the angle of the tree's cells compared to the Earth's (relatively) static magnetic field.
Wrongfellow, Jan 07 2010

       It's the squirrels, I tell you, the squirrels. We've got to get rid of those little buggers. They steal all the pinecones and that cuts down Mother Nature's odds of natural reforestation. Humans can only do so much to regenerate a forest that has been clearcut in order to... oh, wait. Never mind. I need to sit down...   

       I think hippo just wants to see if a tree can puke.   

       I'm not in favour of giving a tree latitude. Hey, if you go easy on them in the beginning, what are you going to do when they grow up? Our beautiful forests will be overrun by unruly gangs of teenaged trees. There'd be graffiti all over the rocks and woodland creatures. And don't get me started on Emo or Goth trees...
Canuck, Jan 07 2010

       Don't jinx them by careful, nurturing placement. Pretend you're mother nature. Twist the crown, drop them unceremoniously into a swallow divet, kick some dirt and leaves over as cover, and water just where your shadow falls. Trillions of growing things, she must know something about the process.
reensure, Jan 07 2010

po, Jan 07 2010

reensure, Jan 07 2010

po, Jan 07 2010

       That's a good link by [lurch]. But these little pines that they put in the ground are tough wee trees. They come completely frozen, they get stuffed in planting bags so they are crushed against each other. The tree planters are probably students on summer break who are on the pot. They are getting ten cents a tree. They are walking and planting over a terrain covered in debris from logging machines. The most insane insects that nature ever devised are boring holes and feasting upon the planters' tissues. Every two steps the planters jab their shovels into the ground sometimes (more than half of the time) striking the sedimentary rock of the Earth's crust because most of the soil has eroded away sending a shock up their arms inflaming tendons and positively punishing a behavior they must repeat causing psychological dissonance and distress. In places where it hasn't they may be planting in countless feet thick of moss and trees don't grow in moss but they plant them in it anyway because they are getting paid per tree. The planting technique even when perfect soil is found often may damage the seedling's fragile roots because it involves an ungraceful stomp to close the hole. Then the planters realize they are not saving the planet which initially motivated them but working on a hyper-industrial-capitalist tree farm and they are not reforesting but planting a mono-culture that threatens biodiversity and are merely pawns in the logging industry capitalists argument for destroying the Earth, that they are replanting. But I mean it could just be because of phototropism.
rcarty, Jan 09 2010

       All very good points, but now stepping back from reforestation for a second, which is just what got me to wondering in the first place, how about the twenty hedging cedars you just bought at thirty bucks a piece for your landscaping project, which you oh so careful picked from hundreds because they were at the time the healthiest, and then painstakingly planted in just the right soil conditions at just the right spacing and tamping with just the right amount of fertilizer and daily watering only to have six of them start turning brown and die while the rest of them take to it like a pig to mud?   

       If it were found that germination develops in accordance with sun direction, or as 8th of 7 suggested magnetic field lines, then think of the difference it would make to landscaping, gardening and agriculture practices.   

       I think that the potential benefits far outweigh the cost of the experiments to determine this.   

       swamp cedar or another type? My experience with those ones is they wait to die until they are replanted. I think it has something to do with their new growth being cut off when the roots are separated.
rcarty, Jan 09 2010

       Usually thuja around here in burlap root balls, or pots. They start them in little peat containers and keep potting them up without disturbing the roots and even then some of them die for no discernable reason.   

       is there a definitive'ish period of time before some of them die ? perhaps selling trees several months apart in age would be a solution: if some die, just plant older trees when it's time; lighten the odds up.
FlyingToaster, Jan 09 2010

       Not that I've noticed. It's been several years since I worked in a nursery but it seems to me that some died every time we potted up or moved them around to make room for other stock.   


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