TH: Trees from Seed

 Reply-To: Tree-House@Majordomo.Flora.Com (Community Forestry) ---------

 Date: Fri, 21 Mar 1997 21:50:39 -0500
 From: Mark W Stephens <markws@one.net>

Hi all!

I just wanted to share some of my experiences with growing trees from seed.

White Oak:  I collected in the fall and put in the fridge in moist seed
starter mix until January.  By then most had already sprouted a small
radical.  I potted them and put in the garage.  They started sprouting last
week and now I have a spare bedroom with 6 baby White Oaks.

Red Oak: I only collected 2 of these. I stored these acorns in a ziplock
bag, no soil.
One has just germinated, but the other had a weevil.  Have you ever seen a
weevil?  Next time I crack open an acorn I am wearing full body armor. 
This was one of the nastiest critters I have seen in a long time.

White Ash: No luck!  I had one seed germinate and grow to about 1/4 inch. 
Then it sat still for 2 weeks, still bright green, and then died.  All the
other seeds I tried rotted.  I think my problem is that Ash seeds have
immature embryos.  I have read that they need 30 day warm stratification
followed by 90 days cold.  I am trying this with some seeds now.

Kentucky Coffee Tree:  I did not even know what the seeds looked like until
2 weeks ago when my wife and I were strolling in the woods behind our
house.  We crossed over the creek and came upon a flat area with 3 of the
gnarliest looking trees I have ever seen.  Then we saw the female tree
still sporting numerous seed pods, with pods scattered along the ground. 
The pods are about hand size with a very sticky substance inside that
smells like toffee (or coffee I guess).  The seeds are about dime size and
usually each pod has 2 good seeds and some smaller shriveled up seeds.  The
seeds are very very hard, and sound like marbles if you roll them together.
 I read that scarification is required to get the seed to germinate.  The
book I have recommended Sulfuric Acid.  Well, I was not going to use acid
so instead I experimented with a cup of water and a hacksaw blade :-)  I
soaked the seeds in water for 3 days with no results.  The seed coat was
still marble hard.  Then I took a hacksaw blade and cut into both sides of
the seed until I could see a lighter color.  This took about 10 minutes. 
Then I soaked the seeds overnight in a cup of water.  By morning the seed
coat had peeled away from the seed.  The seed now felt like a superball and
I could easily peel away the outside coating and remove the embryo.  I
placed this in a container with a wet paper towel and the radical started
growing in 4 days.  I now have 1 tree 1 inch high and another on the way. 
Very easy to grow!  I would imagine that you could use the hacksaw blade to
cut the seed and then plant outside and get a tree next spring.  I like to
hurry things along a bit though.

Sugar Maple: All mine turned into green mush.  I will stick to sowing
outdoors next year.

Now that spring is almost here I am looking forward to planting early
seeders like Red Maple and Elm.  I have to patiently wait until they set
seed of course, Elm should be next month and Red Maple in May.

Does anyone else have any seed starting experiences they would like to
share.  I would like to hear them!


{:-)} http://w3.one.net/~markws - The Backyard Forest

markws@one.net (Mark W Stephens) - Cincinnati, OH  Zone 5