Germinating and Growing

Common African Indigenous Trees

 

 

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Fever Tree

Acacia xanthophloea
 

 

1/ Easily grown from seed. Despite the production of a large number of flowers, often only a few pods develop. Seeds are therefore generally not easy to come by. Soak seeds in hot water, leave overnight and sow the next morning in seedling trays filled with a mixture of river sand and compost (3:1). Cover the seeds with a thin layer of sand and keep moist. Transplant the seedlings into nursery bags filled with a mixture of river sand and compost (5:1) when they reach the 2-leaf stage. Be careful not to damage the long taproot in the process of transplanting. Seedlings and young trees transplant well. The fever tree is one of the fastest growing thorn tree species in southern Africa with a growth rate of 1-1.5 m per year. It can withstand cold but not cold winds or frost.

 

 

2/ The fever tree is relatively easy to propagate. Before sowing, the seed should be soaked in hot water overnight. This causes the seeds to swell and usually by the next morning they are ready to be sown. Seed can be sown in seedling trays using a well drained seedling medium and then covered lightly. When the seedlings reach the two-leaf stage (approx. six to eight weeks after sowing) they should be transplanted from seedling trays into nursery bags, taking care not to damage the long taproot. Seedlings and young trees transplant well. Seed and young growing plants are available at selected seed stockists and nurseries respectively.

 

 

3/ The seeds germinate fairly easily, but they should be removed from the stone by breaking it with a hammer. It requires 2 months to germinate inside the stone, and only 2-3 weeks when extracted. The seeds can be treated by soaking them in cold water and sowing them directly into single containers. The seedlings are adapted to all soil types and grow reasonably fast. They are equally resistant to intense heat and cold. Under good conditions they will reach 4-6 metres in 4-5 years. The tree attracts birds and is highly recommended for gardens.

 

 

4/ Soak the seeds for 4-5 hours in warm water - not boiling water. Place some washed gravel in a planting container, then fill it with composted soil. Add water until it runs through the holes in the bottom of the container. When the soil is wet all the way through, make a 1cm deep hole in the soil with the end of a pencil and plant the seed in the hole. Plant 3-4 seeds in each container. Put the container in a warm sunny place, like a window sill. It is a good idea to place the container on a saucer to stop water spilling.

 

When the seedlings germinate (in about 10 days) keep the soil moist, but don't over-water.

 

When the seedling is 10-15cm in height, you can transplant it into a bigger container - like the bottom of a 2-litre drink bottle or bigger can, with hole in the bottom.

 

After 6-12 months the seedling will be about 1m tall. It is now a sapling and should be planted in the ground.


 

 

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This web page was last updated on: 07 August, 2012