Immortal trees?

Bonsai Nut

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If you took a tree with certain positive traits - say, for example, a Valencia Orange - and continued to graft it over and over again, would the "tree" ever die? In other words, if you constantly created a grafted tree, and then removed scions off that tree to create OTHER trees, and then took scions off those other trees - you are really just cutting off the tip of an ever-growing branch. Does there come a time when the tree just fails? When it becomes weak or the scions simply won't take?
 

Tachigi

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OK...what have you been smoking? The way this reads to me is your asking if the tree will die if you keep removing cutting for new trees?

My reply "if" your asking about taking cuttings for new stock is no, no more than pruning would kill the tree.

If your asking something else ... then pass what ever it is your smoking and I'll give it another shot. :)
 

Graydon

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Well... if you look at it that way it may be immortal as long as there are mere mortals to carry on the grafting. Or trees become self grafting...

I think what we are talking about is the genes of said parent tree. They leave the parent tree in the form of a scion and are grafted to a host. That graft "takes" and the scion grows and thrives. Eventually (5 years, 50 years or whenever) another scion is taken and the process continues until it ends due to death of the sole remaining plant or human forgetfulness.

I have thought about this in the past. I have a JBP "Ondae". I contacted the seller about more info as I was unable to locate anything. He propagated some of these trees from grafting with scions from a friends tree. The friend apparently got the parent tree from someone on the east coast years ago - he referred me to Steve Pilacik. I contacted Steve and he remembered either selling his "Ondae" to someone on the west coast or grafts from his tree. Steve had imported the tree from Japan. So somewhere in Japan there is the "Ondae" parent tree.
 

Tachigi

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Ahhhh.....I get what your saying and thats way to deep for me. ;) I'm just trying to make the parent tree survive.
 

Bonsai Nut

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I may not be doing the best job describing what I am talking about. For example take a "Valencia Orange". At one time there was only one Valencia Orange tree. Then they grafted 10 off the mother stock. Then they let these daughter trees grow and took scions off THEM to make new trees. However each daughter tree is really just a branch off the parent tree since it was a graft. So you are taking a graft of a graft of a graft - and this could go on for hundreds of years and many thousands of trees. However the original material is STILL the mother tree scion that was allowed to grow, then split, then allowed to grow again, then split, etc.

I have a small dwarf ornamental that was litterally discoved growing in someone's hedge 100 years ago. Since then it has been grafted over and over again, but the lineage STILL goes back to that single tree.
 

Tachigi

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At one time there was only one Valencia Orange tree. Then they grafted 10 off the mother stock
I guess I'm getting lost in your verbage ... what you refer to as a graft ... is a cutting?!
 

Bonsai Nut

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I suppose it could apply to a cutting as well, since with a cutting you are taking a section of a parent tree, sticking it in the ground, letting it grow, then taking a section of the daughter tree that results, sticking it in the ground, etc. When I refer to "grafting" I mean taking a scion from the parent tree and inserting it into root stock from another tree. In both cases (cuttings as well as grafts) there is no break between "generations". A younger tree is really just a part of the older tree. All Valencia orange trees, ALL OF THEM, are just parts of the single one parent tree. And they are all growing and being propogated via cutting or graft.

In the wild there would be a break where are tree produced offspring via fertilization and seeding. This would introduce genetic material to the line and allow for mutation. Additionally, the parent tree would eventually "die" and no direct material from the parent would survive - only its genetic material passed on via its seeds.

In the case of the first example, if 1000 years from now there are still Valencia oranges around, and they can trace their unbroken lineage via cutting or graft back to the original tree, it's the same as if that Valencia Orange tree has been living for over 1000 years.
 
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Plant propagation versus animal propagation

This is an interesting thread. Isn't it the fundamental difference between plant and animal propagation, the fact that you can take cuttings/grafts/whatever from one plant and so forth for years? This is why seeds don't have the same characteristics as parent plants--just as animal offspring aren't exactly like their parents. I'm thinking of other valuable crops like the previously-mentioned Valencia orange: the Haas avocado comes to mind. One plant was found in Mr. Haas' front yard, and that's the Haas avocado.

Maybe some plant geneticist can add some insight here, but plants can be propagated [cloned??] as an exact genetic portion of the original in ways not possible with animals--at least, as I understand it.

So, does the tree ever "die"? Interesting question.....
 

Gnome

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I understand the point you are trying to make completely. I have several Jade plants that I received form my grandmother that she, in turn, received from her mother. In a very real sense I am growing the same plant that my great-grandmother did. Unfortunately it is either a poor specimen genetically or it has declined through senescence. Probably the former. Stamets, in his excellent volume "Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms", discusses senescence and the importance of keeping the line as close to the original strain as possible.

The Red Delicious apple was discovered as a single tree in the 1800's. Theoretically all specimens of that variety are genetically identical to the original tree although it seems that we have "improved" the variety to the point that it no longer has the same characteristics.

Norm
 

Ben74

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Hi,

I am interested in this thread for two reasons.

I would like to know under ideal conditions, what is the limit to a bonsai lifetime, as the usual causes of tree death do not apply.

Also how long can a tree be continually cloned for? Some fruit trees have been cloned for 100's of years.

Is thee a point where senescence kicks in eg. For mammals shortening telomeres? Or over a long time genetic mutations, though thee is a clonal strand of Aspen living from the same roots for 80000 years old and going strong.
 

Anthony

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Stands on a cloud and readies for first sound of - brains ---- to float away to safety, after summoning an earth dragon ---
bury those bugger zombies.

@Ben74 ,

test the idea for yourself ------------ grow 5 to 10 known short term plants of the same type, in the same soil, same sized
pot and the same position ---------- record what happens.
Come back and talk.

When the Texas Ebony was purchased, from Texas, the lifespan was given as 60 years, and I believe maples
are also 60 years.
Well we are at 36 years , so let you know in 24 years for the Texas Ebony.
Good Day
Anthony
 
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Check out the Pando. A very large colony of cloned aspen estimated to be over 80,000 years old. This is much closer to immortality than anything reliant on human intervention. Pando is known for it's size, but some populations of the clones are estimated to be much older.
 

Ben74

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Stands on a cloud and readies for first sound of - brains ---- to float away to safety, after summoning an earth dragon ---
bury those bugger zombies.

@Ben74 ,

test the idea for yourself ------------ grow 5 to 10 known short term plants of the same type, in the same soil, same sized
pot and the same position ---------- record what happens.
Come back and talk.

When the Texas Ebony was purchased, from Texas, the lifespan was given as 60 years, and I believe maples
are also 60 years.
Well we are at 36 years , so let you know in 24 years for the Texas Ebony.
Good Day
Anthony
I
This would answer a lot of questions. All Irish yews (fastigate, or upright growing habits makes them ideal for landscapes) sold in nurseries worldwide are the same plant found growing in Ireland in 1740...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florencecourt_Yew
 

Ben74

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Either way a cutting or graft is still preserving that part of the parent tree you wish to clone. Difference is sometimes it can be planted in soil or added to a rootstock for desired effects.
Also bonsai can be improved with grafts .
 

Ben74

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I guess I'm getting lost in your verbage ... what you refer to as a graft ... is a cutting?!
Ofte
Stands on a cloud and readies for first sound of - brains ---- to float away to safety, after summoning an earth dragon ---
bury those bugger zombies.

@Ben74 ,

test the idea for yourself ------------ grow 5 to 10 known short term plants of the same type, in the same soil, same sized
pot and the same position ---------- record what happens.
Come back and talk.

When the Texas Ebony was purchased, from Texas, the lifespan was given as 60 years, and I believe maples
are also 60 years.
Well we are at 36 years , so let you know in 24 years for the Texas Ebony.
Good Day
Anthony
 

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