How go a seed become a tree? that seems like a huge journey for this reason we’ve damaged down the various stages in a tree’s life – from seed to snag.

You are watching: How long does it take for trees to grow

A seeds is a architecture used by trees for millennia to ensure the next generation of trees exists. Seeds have evolved into different sizes and shapes so they deserve to be spread by wind, water or animals. Inside each seed is all the sources it demands to survive individually until the reaches a safe ar to grow.

Sprout (germination)

Once the seed has uncovered the appropriate conditions, it demands to secure itself. The an initial root breaks through the seed, anchoring that and soaking up water because that the arising plant. The next stage in germination is the development of the embryonic shoot.

The shoot pushes up with the soil, through the shoot pipeline either poking above ground or rotting underneath as the remainder of the shoot grows above.


A shoot becomes a seedling as soon as it is over ground. This phase is once trees are most at danger from diseases and also damage favor deer grazing.


A tree becomes a sapling as soon as it is over 3ft tall. The length of the sapling stage counts on the tree species, yet saplings have specifying characteristics:

Flexible trunksSmoother bark than mature treesAn i can not qualify to develop fruit or flowers.

Trees v really lengthy life spans choose yews and oaks room saplings because that much longer than shorter-lived types like silver birch and wild cherry.

Mature tree

A tree i do not care mature when it starts developing fruits or flowers. This is as soon as the tree is at its many productive. How long it will stay fertile depends ~ above the species.

A common English oak tree starts developing acorns at about 40 year old, peaking in productivity roughly 80-120 years. Oaks, in general, deserve to be fertile for 300 years then rest for 300 years before moving on in the life cycle. In contrast, rowan starts producing berries after roughly 15 years, and also by 120 year or so the is already at the finish of the life.

These fruits room dispersed and also the life bike repeats, however that’s not the finish of a tree’s journey.

Ancient trees

The next stage that a tree’s life comes as soon as it passes beyond maturity and also is older 보다 trees the the very same species. The has become ancient. Relying on the species, a tree could be called ancient when that is only in its beforehand hundreds, favor rowan, or once it is thousands of years old, favor yew. This method we can’t define ancient trees just by age. Instead, us look for crucial characteristics, like a little canopy and a wide trunk i m sorry is most likely to be hollow, both of i m sorry show good age.

Decaying tree (snag)

A snag is a tree in the final stages that its life. It can be a dead standing tree or a dice tree. The tree’s life can be in ~ an end, but its usefulness to wildlife is around to peak:

Dead wood offers specialist homes for insects and fungi.Those insects room a food resource for birds, bats and other small mammals.These creatures take benefit of hollows or holes in the tree because that shelter.In turn, this smaller residents are food for larger mammals and also birds of prey.

Dead and decaying trees room a an essential part of a wood’s biodiversity. That’s why us leave many on ours sites. Removing dead timber from backwoods removes an important part of its biodiversity.

identify British trees v our cost-free app

Get an A-Z overview of tree by downloading and install our complimentary tree ID app for Android and iOS.

Download the application

Trees woods and also wildlife

A-Z the British tree

Our A-Z overview to British trees from native varieties to naturalised and also widely planted non-natives.

Plant trees

Why tree trees?

Whatever your reason for planting, tree have far-reaching benefits for all of us.

Ancient Tree Inventory

ancient Tree list

Our expert volunteers assist us map the oldest and also most essential trees in the UK so that we have the right to fight for their protection.

External link


Sign as much as stay linked

The Woodland trust is a charity registered in England and Wales (No. 294344) and also in Scotland (No. SC038885). A non-profit-making company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No. 1982873.

See more: How Long Is 5 Business Days ? How Long Is 3 5 Business Days Shipping

Woodland to trust (Enterprises) Limited, registered in England (No. 2296645), is a wholly owned subsidiary the the forest Trust. Registered office: Kempton Way, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6LL.