Forcing Buds


A tree produces buds at the end of summer in a process called lignification. The tree is getting ready for winter. It did all its growing in early summer and now must store food to get a good start for resuming growth in the spring.

I would like to suggest an experiment on forcing buds. The best time to try it is just before buds open in very early spring.

Remember that experiments require adult supervision at all times!

Material Required:

  • Several tree branches, preferably from a hardwood. Apple, forsythia, and decorative cherry are good choices since they have very pretty flowers as well as leaves.
  • A knife.
  • A vase filled with warm, slightly sweetened water.

Instructions for Carrying Out the Experiment

  1. Cut several branches off a tree, preferably a hardwood variety.
  2. Bring the branches into the house.
  3. Carefully remove about 5 centimetres of bark from the end of the branches with the knife.
  4. Cut the end of the branches diagonally.
  5. Place the branches in the vase filled with warm, slightly sweetened water.
  6. Add water regularly to keep the branches from drying out.


Write a report on your experiment by answering the following questions.

  1. Which species did you choose?
  2. What happened after several days?
  3. Did the buds open?
  4. Did leaves and flowers appear?
  5. Did the flowers and leaves come from the same buds?