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Name: Regina
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For my chemistry class each semester we have to e mail a scientist and ask them a question. If you could please take some time and answer my question that woudl be great!

When seeds from trees fall, why don't new trees grow with each fallen seed?

Dear Regina,

Seed viability depends upon multiple factors.



Anthony R. Brach

There are several reasons seeds don't always germinate. Not all seeds are viable - some will die even under the best of conditions. Seeds that fall off of trees do not always experience the best of conditions. Some are eaten by animals, such as mice, squirrels, and insects. Some never get enough water to sprout. Some begin to sprout, and then dry out or are eaten. Some, when they sprout, cannot put their roots into good soil. Some are deprived of nutrients and sunlight by other plants growing nearby. In the end, only a very small fraction of the seeds from a tree become established trees themselves. Richard Barrans Jr., Ph.D.


This is a good question for you to attempt to give ideas as to the reason every seed which falls from a tree does not result in a seedling. Please offer your ideas here, and we can then offer some ideas you may not have considered.

Thanks for using NEWTON!

Richard R. Rupnik

Lost seeds are eaten before they get a chance to germinate. Many of the larger seeds, like acorns and other nuts, may be eaten by insect larvae before they even fall from the tree; those that mature before they fall are food for many different kinds of animals. Only a lucky few will germinate and grow a new tree.

J. Elliott

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