The Tree Lifecycle: From Seed to Decay
From seed to decay, the tree life cycle is truly miraculous.
Like all living organisms, trees have a life cycle. The tree life cycle comprises stages of tree growth and development that occur under optimal environmental conditions.
Every tree starts as a seed. The seed contains all the nutrients it needs to begin growing. Seeds from trees are dispersed into the environment by wind, humans and animals. Once a seed has settled into its suitable environment, it can begin the growth process.
Under optimal conditions, a tree seed will begin germinating in the soil. At this stage, it begins to grow roots that act as anchors. It will also send up a shoot that emerges from the soil.
The stem and beginning of leaf growth.
Also known as the young or juvenile stage. A sapling is a tree that has grown to around 1-4 inches in diameter.
The tree will grow and mature to the specifications and characteristics of its specie. When it has reached maturity it is considered to be full-grown.
A mature tree will flower/fruit/nut during its specific season.
A mature tree can reproduce and produces seeds to be dispersed into the environment. A mature tree that is either flowering or producing fruits or nuts is reproducing.
Decaying or Snag
A tree that has reached the end of its life cycle.
Instead of allowing the tree to decay, it can be harvested at the correct time as timber to become a product made from a tree.
- LEARN MORE: Learn about products made from trees and find another awesome infographic.
- Learn about the history of forestry and common terminology and find another awesome infographic.
- Learn about the parts of a tree and find another awesome infographic.
- Check out our fun and engaging forestry timeline student activity!
- Check out our fun and engaging forestry vocabulary student activity!
- American Forests. A History of Resiliency and Recovery, https://foresthistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/American_Forests.pdf
- Department of Forestry, Virginia
- Museum of the White Mountains. Plymouth.edu.
- National Park Service