Making an Avocado Tree Time Lapse

I made an avocado tree time lapse.

Watch the video I made here

Plants are really amazing things. I’ve found that the more we learn about them, the more awesome they become. Earlier this year I conducted a project where I took a time lapse of an avocado seed growing into a small tree. I bought a cheap lamp, a cheap tripod and set an old iPhone up with Skyflow (a fantastic time lapse app), and let it run.

The young avocado tree with two stems

Over the next five months I took an image every 300 seconds (5 minutes). The lamp kept the tree will lit so that the camera could see it 24 hours a day. Every few days I would adjust the camera to provide a different angle as the avocado tree grew.

Over months, the avocado tree grew a fantastic mass of roots, and the two stems shot up and grew a handful of leaves. Once the trees got to about 30cm (12 inches) tall… I pruned them. (Check out my post on pruning avocado trees here).

At one point, I wasn’t sure if pruning was the right choice.

I wasn’t sure if I’d made the right choice, had pruning my avocado trees been wise? It was autumn when I pruned them, after all. The sad piano music that accompanies it in the video was reflective of my feelings around my decision. For a few weeks, nothing happened. But after three or so weeks… new growth.

The waltz continued and the avocado tree continued to grow. Up and up the stems went, more determined than ever, until they were taller and bushier than before – it was at this point that I planted the avocado tree.

But what was amazing about this process?

I think that we appreciate our plants – aesthetically they’re lovely, and we watch them react to our care over time. But with plants (and this is a broad generalisation), the changes the make are very slow and take many days (or weeks or months) to be seen. When taking this timelapse and pushing five months of growth into a five minute video meant that all the little changes; the stems first shooting out of the seed, the leaves first emerging, the way they wave around as the stems get taller, the way the roots grow and rearrange themselves in the mason jar, the way the new growth shoots out of the nodes after pruning – all these things, visible and observable in a short space of time through the video, made the avocado tree feel so much more alive.

After almost five months, the avocado tree was planted and doing fantastically.

I know that plants are alive – but seeing them like this really flicked a switch in my mind that these are living, growing things. I was in awe.

I’m currently running a couple of different time lapses – keep an eye out for them on my YouTube channel!

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