Why are seeds important?
They might look small and quiet, but inside each seed is a secret plan to become something incredible
Seeds, plants, and trees aren't just ordinary parts of nature – they are superheroes working together to keep our planet healthy and vibrant. Here’s how:
- Oxygen Factory
Imagine trees and plants as factories that make the air we breathe cleaner and fresher. They take in the carbon dioxide we don't need and give us back life-giving oxygen. So, every time you take a breath, thank a tree!
- Tasty Treats
Plants give us a variety of delicious treats, like juicy apples, crunchy carrots, and sweet berries. These foods keep us strong and give us energy to play and explore
- Cosy Homes
Trees create homes for many animals, from birds to bugs. They provide shelter, a safe place to build nests, and even a playground for squirrels to climb and hide their acorns
- Nature's Helpers
When leaves fall from trees and plants, they become a special kind of food for the soil called compost. Compost helps the soil stay healthy and allows new plants to grow
- Useful Materials
Trees provide wood, which we can use to build houses, make furniture, and even craft toys. Plus, they give us materials for paper, where we can draw, write, and share stories
Even though trees and plants give us these useful materials, we can be kind to nature by using less water, recycling, and keeping our planet clean. When we care for nature, we help plants, trees, and animals thrive like they’re supposed to!
different types of seeds
These are some of the seeds you might be able to spot in your gardens or at the park in October:
Acorns contain the seeds of oak trees – they come in all kinds of sizes and shapes!
Sycamore trees make clusters of seeds with feathery "wings" that help them fly in the wind
Dandelion flowers turn into fluffy seed heads known as "dandelion clocks" which you can blow on and watch the seeds float away
These contain pine tree seeds. In October, some pinecones might start to open and release their seeds
HORSE CHESTNUTS (CONKERS)
These are smooth, brown seeds that grow in a spikey green case and fall to the ground in autumn
Remember that fruits are seed carriers too! Next time you eat an apple, have a look at the seeds in the very middle
HOW DO SEEDS TRAVEL?
Seeds come in all kinds of shapes and sizes – part of the reason for this is because they all travel in different ways to their final planting place!
Some seeds are like little parachutes! They have wings or hairs that help them catch the wind and float away to new places
Other seeds can be excellent swimmers, so when it rains, or they fall in a river they can go on water adventures
Some seeds have special hooks that stick to the fur of animals as they pass by. Others might be eaten by animals who will poop them out somewhere new (eww!)
Some seeds have a surprise in store – they can explode or pop out of their pods like fireworks!
Some seeds are designed to tumble and roll downhill, just like when you do a roly-poly, they roll away to new places
How do seeds grow?
Once a seed finds a nice place to start growing, what happens next? With the right amount of water, something magical happens – germination!
Germination is when a little sleeping seed wakes up and starts growing into a plant
When you plant the seed in the ground and give it water, it starts to open up and send out its roots
Roots are like the plant's feet. They reach down into the soil to find water and food
A tiny shoot starts to push its way up through the soil. This shoot becomes the plant's stem – it wants to reach up toward the sunlight!
When the stem comes up, it also brings little leaves with it. Leaves are like the plant's solar panels for catching the sun’s rays
All About Oak Trees
One of the seeds we learned about is acorns – these perfectly formed little seeds are what turn into majestic oak trees. Oak trees are one of the most important kinds of trees we have here in the UK, so let’s learn a little more about how they grow and why they’re so special:
When oak trees get older, they make more and more acorns. Animals like squirrels munch on these acorns, and sometimes they forget where they buried them!
When those forgotten acorns start growing, new baby oak trees appear! It's like the forest's way of playing a secret game of hide-and-seek
Oak trees can grow very big and strong, the largest oak trees have been around for many hundreds of years!
Animals, like squirrels and birds, love to live in oak trees. In fact, oak trees are called a ‘keystone’ species, which means entire ecosystems depend on them!
Throughout their lives, oak trees grow taller and taller, like towers reaching for the clouds. They grow strong branches that spread out like a giant umbrella, giving shade to all the creatures below
And the cycle starts all over again!
Grow your own trees
If you’d like to learn more about gathering seeds and even growing your very own trees, the lovely people at The Tree Council have put together this brilliant Young Tree Growers Guide. Happy growing!