I've started trying my hand at tree farming (I was starting to reach a tipping point where cutting trees was affecting the aesthetic of my base island). After an initial few rounds cutting trees and smashing leaves I felt like my setup was going to work well.

However, of late I've been getting fewer than one sapling per tree. Obviously that isn't sustainable for long and I've had to go back to taller trees (far from my farm) that I had previously chopped and build temporary dirt towers to reach the floating leaves I had left behind.

I've previously assumed (and not read anything to the contrary) that saplings were dropped randomly so perhaps I'm just getting a string of 'tails' and ascribing it non-randomness but it certainly feels like there must be some pattern to getting saplings that I was initially following by accident and am failing to follow now.

So is there any way to increase sapling output, such as by using different tools (sword?), time of day, whether I cross my eyes in or out, etc?

  • 3
    Leaves are supposed to decay on their own :(
    – badp
    Nov 8, 2010 at 7:16

3 Answers 3


Like Flint from gravel, the chance for a sapling to drop from destroying a block of leaves is a static percentage whenever you destroy the block.

Most likely, you've just been badly treated by the random number system. Keep planting the saplings you do find, and eventually you'll start coming across the 9-saplings trees again. ;)

  • That being said, a gold tool would probably help.
    – Zibbobz
    Oct 12, 2013 at 14:10

All you need to do is to cut down the trunk of the tree so that there are no wood blocks remaining. After that, the leaves will die and generate saplings over the period of a day and you will be left with all the saplings you can get. This is a very low maintenance technique, all you need is something to do in the meantime while you wait for the leaves to die.

  • 3
    This doesn't work currently. With the most recent patches, leaves don't degenerate. Nov 9, 2010 at 21:32
  • 6
    Cutting down the trunk doesn't always remove all the wood. There can be branches. Nov 10, 2010 at 2:05
  • 1
    This works again :)
    – Timtech
    Oct 19, 2013 at 0:13

If you use the Forestry Mod, you can use a grafter which gives you a 100% chance of a sapling from a leaf block. However, grafters have a durability of 5 so you'll need a lot of those if you want a lot of saplings.

  • 12
    Hi, welcome to Arqade! I think the asker was referring to vanilla, and since your answer would work in a mod, it would be helpful to include that information.
    – Coronus
    Jul 29, 2013 at 20:07

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