Verified Methods for Seed Germination and Storage
Hello, thanks for stopping by and reading. Today we're addressing a few common questions our customers have brought up. Seed germination is sometimes a tricky subject as the methods required vary from species to species.
Generally speaking, coniferous trees require a period of cold stratification before planting. This is an environmental trigger that lets the seed know that spring is coming. Therefore, by giving the seed water and storing it in cold temperatures of 4-5 degrees C for 30, 60 or sometimes 90 days, the dormancy is broken and the seed is ready to grow.
Sowing outdoors is possible in the fall season. This allows the winter to naturally cold-stratify the seeds that will germinate next spring with the warmer temperatures.
Another thing we have found to be beneficial is using a peat medium for seeds that enjoy low pH soil such as pines, firs and spruces. Some conifers benefit from shade in the first growing season. Conifer seeds are well suited to broadcasting.
With regards to deciduous trees the methods can slightly differ. Some may be planted without prior stratification. Generally speaking deciduous trees do not require any shading. Some deciduous trees like black walnut enjoy full sunlight and thrive in sunny areas. Row planting is possible if greater ease of tree maintenance is desired.
In all cases the location should be selected with care, seed beds should be kept moist until germination occurs. Some seedlings such as hemlock and fir benefit from partial shade in the first year of growth.
As for long-term storage, research has indicated that for most coniferous trees a storage temperature of around 2-4 degrees C is optimal. Some seeds can even be frozen if thoroughly dried. Seed vaults can then store the seeds almost indefinitely. We've featured a spotlight look at several of the larger scale Seed Vaults in our Earths great seed vault article.
You can also find more specific and detailed germinating instructions for the species you are interested in on our product pages.
With proper care, you can grow your own seedlings from tiny seeds into big healthy trees. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us.