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Name: Charlie K.
Status: educator
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2001-2002

I live in the far NW suburbs of Chicago. I have a five acre lot with a stand of a dozen pines and spruces. About 20-25 years old. I also have another dozen or so pines and spruces throughout my lot, all about the same age. (Austrian and White Pines, Colorado Blue, Norway and Black Hills spruces)

Okay.. here is the question... Why do I not find pine or spruce saplings growing under or near my trees?

They produce plenty of cones. Are these trees mature? The area under my trees is natural, and has a nice layer of pine needles under it.

Conifers are characterized by low seed germination,

perhaps squirrels and other wildlife could be eating the seeds, and also the trees may have specific regeneration requirements.

Anthony R. Brach, Ph.D.

Except for eastern white pines, the conifers you mention are not native to northern Illinois, and are unlikely to naturally reproduce in this region, even if viable seeds are present. We do occaisionally see natural reproduction of white pines around old house sites in the Cook County Forest Preserves, but it is not common. Soils and climate are not particularly favorable for these species, even though they will grow reasonably well when planted and cared for.

J. Elliott

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