This week we begin to take a closer look at some of the trees you may see near where you live.
And our first tree is the sycamore 🙂
Time for a Tale – How the Sycamore Came to Be:
In autumn the tree’s winged fruit, like helicopters, spin to the ground – if you find one, try throwing it in the air and watch it whirl down 🙂
Inside this fruit is a seed, and in spring it puts down a foot-root. Then a slim stem starts to grow up and two leaves form, like in the picture below. These could all become new sycamore trees 🙂
Challenge 1 – can you find one of these? There are soooo many around in spring, they look like a mini forest!
Challenge 2 – can you find the parent tree from which the seedlings have come? Learn what to look for below!
This seedling grows and leaves start to develop like this:
And gradually, the stem thickens and the leaves change shape…
And very soon there will be a young tree 🙂
In spring a sycamore’s tree buds open up – some have flowers in them, while others have leaves. This is a sycamore bud that’s just about to open.
Challenge -what colours can you see? Can you find any like this today?
The flowers are pretty and hang down from below the new leaves.
New leaves can look quite different from one that is fully formed. The pictures below show sycamore leaves emerging.
The fully formed leaves have 5 fingers – like Syca’s hands.
Challenge – can you draw a sycamore using your hand as the outline?
The bark of a tree changes as the tree ages. A younger tree has smoothish grey bark like in this photo, but can you see the bark at the bottom of the trunk? As it ages it changes…
An older sycamore’s bark has plate-like scales and the colour varies from greyish-brown to almost pink like the bark below.
Challenge – find a sycamore seedling and watch a tree grow!
Once you have found a baby sycamore, you can gently dig it up – being careful not to damage the hair-like roots that are in the mud, or leave it where it is growing and mark the spot so it’s easy to find. You could surround it with twigs.
If you dig it up, plant it in a pot with holes at the bottom and place outside or plant it somewhere in mud near your home where you can easily watch it.
Make sure it’s roots are covered by mud and remember don’t let the soil dry out, keep it moist.
Check on it regularly to see how it is growing. The first one I was watching did not survive, the grass was too thick.
My one is in my garden and I’m going to measure how it grows over the next weeks.
Make a grow chart like the one below and let’s see how our seedlings grow 🙂
I will put updates of my tree on the “Oot ma door – the sycamore tree” facebook thread every 2 weeks. Please add pictures of how your tree is growing 🙂
See you soon!