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There is a message being shared around on Facebook in Romania that basically asks the readers to keep the seeds and pits from fruit that they ate (fruit bought from supermarkets or local farmers) until they go to the countryside, for example, and find a place with no trees, where they could throw the seeds. The hope is that it would help in fighting the heavy deforestation going on here.

My question is: How likely is it that a tree would actually grow from such a seed? Is this worth doing?

  • I think residents in the country would not appreciate piles of seeds and pits being dumped on their land. – kevinsky Jun 28 '19 at 16:37
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    But the point isn't making piles, but just randomly throwing seeds on the ground. There will be no piles :) – Vamoos Jun 28 '19 at 17:02
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I can't give you numbers, nor an evaluation of what's worthwhile, but here are some thoughts in that direction.

The answers depend in part on what the goal is. The effort could achieve a certain degree of success if all it did were make people more aware of the deforestation and the potential that it could be curtailed, even if not a single seed germinated. However, I’ll assume that the goal requires growing real trees from the seeds.

Whether trees will grow from the seeds depends largely on three factors: weather, soil, and seeds.

Weather: Weatheronline.co.uk says Romania has “hot summers, long, cold winters and very distinct seasons.” Of these, the main threat to a seed is the hot summers. If the seeds or pits are on the soil surface when they germinate, it’s likely that most of the radicles, or first roots, will dry out before they can reach deep enough that the soil is moist enough to sustain them (lots of vague qualifiers here, I know). If the radicle dries out, the new plant will die. Or maybe it will survive, thanks to a wet spring and summer or a protected spot.

Soil: If the seeds get some protection in the form of litter or soil from drying and perhaps from excessive heat, they have a far better chance. I too live in a brittle climate. The peach pits I throw by the dozen in my compost every fall and eventually dig into the garden soil sprout readily. Both in the compost and the soil, they stay moister than they would if they were exposed. Maybe some of these broadcasted seeds would be covered and protected by a sufficiently thick fall of autumn leaves, for example.

Seeds: Finally, most fruit seeds are viable. Obviously any that have been cooked are dead. Some are hybrids, and as far as particulars, one may not have much delight in what comes up. Then again, the point seems to be that any trees are better than no trees.

The effort seems harmless enough, and perhaps could do some good. If I had a handful of pits, I’d put them in a slightly shady or low spot and kick some dirt and leaves over them before I left. I wouldn’t expect many seedlings to result but an occasional one might get lucky. And meanwhile I’d have spent some time thinking and maybe talking about what the land around me needs.

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