Assisted Migration of Florida Torreya
to Capac, Michigan
45 forested acres owned by Paul Camire


My family has a 45 acre forest. With the loss of the ash trees to the emerald ash borer I am looking to replant with some conifers. I've been experimenting with giant sequoia. The forest is pretty well protected from the wind. I walk the trails and then can't believe how windy it is by the farm fields.

   The forest has white oak, beech, linden (basswood), red oak, swamp white oak, witch hazel...etc.  The soil is loam with lots of organic matter. I've been experimenting with Franklinia and American Chestnuts.

I could use my bulb planter to get a depth on planting of the seeds.

Editor's note: Paul Camire was one of two Michigan volunteers who received seeds in Spring 2017. By then, our group had determined via field experiments that rodents would decimate the "free-planted" seeds unless the depth was at least 4 inches. Both planters followed the depth instructions and, as of July 2018, have met with early signs of success. Meanwhile, all Michigan planters who received seeds in previous years (and thus planted shallow) had zero positive results.


ABOVE LEFT: Paul Camire (September 2018) with a first-year seedling emerging from a seed he had planted directly into his forested acreage.

ABOVE RIGHT: In 2018 Paul also assembled two lists of all historic and some recent "Ex-Situ Specimens of Florida Torreya" and "Ex-Situ Specimens of Florida Yew (both posted on this website in pdf). Paul also made a field trip to a historic Torreya planting in Pennsylvania; his photos and observations generated a new torreya locale page: Gladwyne, PA.

Ongoing Reports, Chronological

• SPRING 2017:

SEEDS VIA TORREYA GUARDIANS: Connie Barlow sent 150 seeds April 2017 from the Medford OR Fall 2016 harvest of Frank Callahan's pair of trees. May 2017 Lee Barnes sent Paul 50 more seeds from the same Oregon 2016 harvest.

SEED PLANTING DOCUMENTATION: Paul wrote: "I free-planted in the woods and marked about 100 of them with a flag.  I planted 10 in pots and the remainder I planted on the bank above the creek here or along my trail in the woods.  There were about five to seven seeds that had been chewed/hollow broken in the batch."


• 19 JULY 2018 REPORT:

Paul wrote: "I went for a walk in the woods today and decided to do a survey of the Torreya I planted last spring. After checking about 30 flags I spotted one! I figured that would be it after checking about 60 more and then I found two more! So I have a total of 3 Torreyas that sprouted from Frank Callahan's seed source.
     One of the sprouts was probably about 6 inches tall, but it has been nipped off by some creature (photo below right). The last time I checked for sprouts was the first week of June. So in the last month and a half they decided to grow. I did not plant any of my seeds under rocks or logs. [All were planted 4-6 inches deep.]
    The ground is extremely dry right now because we haven't had a significant rainfall in a couple weeks. Two of the sprouts are on the southern end of the forest, about 15 feet from a soybean field and near some American beech trees. The other is in a sunny spot in the woods where several dead ash were removed. There is a possibility that a fourth seed had sprouted, but something attempted to dig to the seed and may have nipped it off, but didn't reach the seed.
    In addition to those three, I planted 3 gallon-sized trees and 11 seedlings that I bought from some nurseries in the spring. All of those plants are doing great and were never given supplemental water. Their laterals grew first this spring and the terminal buds just started growing now. I've attached a few pictures for you to see [below].



The next group of seedlings are beginning to emerge. I checked last week and found no new sprouts, but today I found four more emerging — two of which also sent up a basal sprout. So now I have a total of 7 from the Oregon seed. I'm sure more are getting ready. It's interesting how they are sprouting in waves.

The sprout that was nipped off [see photo above right] has fully recovered. It created a bud by the top true leaf and two weeks later it appears to look like the other seedlings. I was surprised by how quick it recovered. Also interesting is that four of the seven seedlings are along the southern edge of the forest.


I'm at 9 seedlings [germinated] from the Oregon seed. See the attached photos of the recuperating Torreya. The pictures of the new bud forming is from August 6th.

PHOTO SEQUENCE OF NIPPED SEEDLING RECOVERING: Below left to right: July 19, August 23, September 6.


... I also included 3 photos of the initial emergence and growth of three new seedlings. PHOTOS BELOW.


EDITOR'S NOTE: See the little basal sprout in the photo above far right.

... I also have 12 seedlings and a gallon Torreya from Nearly Native Nursery and 2 more gallon Torreyas from Niche Gardens Nursery. Grand total of 23 Torreyas here.


Connie Barlow filmed Paul on a walk through his woods visiting his Torreya plantings, including both the out-planted potted seedlings and the spots where "free-planting" of seeds directly into the forest in June 2017 had already yielded tiny seedlings.

Because Connie arrived at his woods just an hour before dusk, some of the photos below (snatched as still photos from the video) are a bit dark and grainy. When Connie edits and posts the VIDEO, it will be linked here.


Paul has a diversity of tree species and age classes within his family woods. Above left is the old white oak marking a property line. Above right is another white oak, with a younger X alongside.

Below left is a giant cottonwood about 10 feet from the property line. Below right in the center front is a shagbark hickory.



(following one winter in Medford Oregon bucket and one winter in Michigan ground)
all seeds were planted about 4 inches deep


ABOVE LEFT: The seed here had been free-planted directly into forest soil in June 2017. Paul calls this little seedling the "Discovery Tree" because it was the first that he noticed to have sprouted in early summer 2018. It had more sunlight than the other free-plantings that sprouted in 2018 (because he placed it in an area where a lot of ash trees had recently died).

ABOVE RIGHT: This little seedling first showed above ground during the late summer growth episode, in August.


ABOVE - Free-planted seed that began showing above ground in the spring of 2018. By the time Paul saw it in late June, the apex growth had already been nipped off. He added the fine wire-mesh barrier at that point. By late August 2018 it had put forth a new extension for terminal growth. Notice the slight side angle of the light green growth, but it will orient fully upward. (Scroll up to the September 6 entry to get a better view of the fresh growth.)


ABOVE: More 2018 sprouts from 2017 free-planted seeds. Notice the basal sprout by his thumb in the above right photo.


(3 older seedlings in gallon pots + a dozen freshly sprouted in pots from nursery in STATE)


ABOVE: This seedling came through its first winter in Michigan very well. In the close-up photo you can see the light green of the lateral branchlets that burst forth in August 2018.


ABOVE: Two views of another of the largest potted seedlings; also in great shape.


ABOVE: Left shows fresh terminal growth in 2018 (and fresh extensional growth on the pre-existing lateral branch), following its first winter in Michigan. Right is top view of a two-stemmed seedling that got nipped, but has intact terminal buds on both stems.




In addition to "rewilding" experimentation for discerning how well Torreya taxifolia does in native forest habitats at his latitude, Paul decided to experiment with an "orchard style" planting — which is the only way that any planter can foster maximal growth and hence early reproduction. He used X young potted seedlings for the orchard planting, which he purchased in 2017 in STATE.

The "plot is buffered from severe winter winds by the surrounding trees. It was rather open to begin with because a lot of ash trees had died there. As with all orchard plantings anywhere, Paul intends to cut back the wild vegetation that will keep trying to grow in the sunlight — otherwise, these pioneer species will quickly overtop the slow-growing Torreya seedlings.


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