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How Do Trees Reproduce?

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Trees predominantly grow from seeds, trees reproduce to create the seeds, though there are other ways that new trees can grow.

Seeds come in a massive variety of shapes and sizes. Altogether, the seeds will disperse as far as nature allows. Some seeds spread miles away when carried by the wind, birds, animals, and even water. However, most seeds will settle near their parent tree.

Overall, trees can reproduce in one of two ways:

Depending on the species, male and female reproductive systems can be on the same tree. Other trees will produce only female reproductive flowers, while others only produce male reproductive flowers.

Below, we will cover the two types of reproduction you can find in trees.

Trees Reproduce - Sexual

Once a tree reaches maturity, it will produce its sexual features. The age a tree reaches maturity varies greatly based on the tree species.

To reproduce sexually, male and female parent genes combine and morph to create a child's set of genes. Overall, this form of the reproduction will create a strong species. Variety amongst a species will make it stronger against genetic issues, diseases, and other environmental factors.

Unlike animals and humans, plants cannot move to reproduce. Therefore, trees are highly dependent on pollinators. Insects and other pollinators will feed on the pollen and distribute it. Some trees pollinate with trees of the exact same species. Other trees need to cross-pollinate with other tree species.

A single tree can support only male or female features. However, other trees may have male and female features within one canopy.

Besides pollinators, the environment supports sexual reproduction with wind and water. Animals and humans also distribute seeds and pollen around.

By far, sexual reproduction is the most common way for trees to reproduce. Almost all species reproduce sexually including:

Trees Reproduce - Asexual

Some trees reproduce asexually. This type of reproduction means that they do not need another tree or male and female parts to reproduce. Also, scientists refer to this type of reproduction as mitosis. The child in this reproduction will be identical to the parent genetically.

One form of asexual reproduction is vegetative. In this case, the tree produces exact copies of itself. However, this form of asexual reproduction can occur at different parts of the tree. Some trees reproduce from the stems, while others work from the roots. Finally, some special plants will clone from the leaves. However, vegetative reproduction can also involve seeds. Altogether, vegetative reproduction can take many forms:

  • Budding
  • Tillering
  • Cutting
  • Grafting

Budding occurs from cell division in one particular area. At this spot, a new organism will form from the bud.

Tillering is the process of new shoots growing from the base of a plant. The shoot will grow right next to the parent shoot.

When an arborist wants to perform cutting, he will take a piece of the root from a parent plant. This process encourages the growth of new roots.

Grafting is another manual process to encourage asexual reproduction. With this method, an arborist will combine two different trees with favorable stem and root characteristics.

Other trees will reproduce asexually by producing spores. The spore is a cellular being with the exact genetic makeup of the parent. It does not need fertilization because it is not two sex cells.

Aspens and poplars are known tree species that reproduce asexually. It is not their only form of reproduction. However, the ability to reproduce asexually allows the tree to survive in dire situations.

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