Winter Woody Plant Experiment

It is winter, but there is no snow. What is a kid to do? Well, you can go outside and learn a thing or two about woody plants.  Just around the yard you might find maple branches, green elm branches, Rose of Sharon branches, lilac bush branches, to name a few. On a typical branch you will find lots of knicks and bumps. Some of these are scars that formed when a leaf dropped off the twig. The scars that completely encircle the twig and are rough and bumpy are called terminal bud scale scars. The distance between two terminal bud scale scars equals one year’s growth for the plant. The longer the distance between two bud scars, the more growth occurred in that year.

Most woody plants in northern climates need a certain number of weeks of deep-chill time. If the weather is too warm over the winter, they may not be able to bloom in spring. If you take a cutting of one of the younger twigs on a plant, put it in a mason jar with water, then stick it on a south-facing window, you will be able to test-out whether it has had enough cold weather or not.

Try this  experiment with a few cuttings of different plants.  Do they all bloom? Do any of them bloom? How long does it take?

Write back to me and let me know.

For more information, take a look at the following website. It is easy to understand and very educational.  http://grandpacliff.com/Trees/Twigs.htm

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