Silvopasture and Agroforestry

Update: Tree Germination Experiments

Persimmon Tray:

Total failure…most likely. Only two cells have germinated and I am not even sure whether they are persimmon seedlings or wild seeds that were lying dormant in my local soil used to formulate the seed starting mix. After all, most angiosperms look very alike as seedlings and truth be told, I’ve only ever propagated persimmon via cuttings, budding and grafting so I have no experience with new sprouts.

Honey Locust Tray:

Conversely, a huge percentage of the honey locust seeds have already germinated and produced their first true leaves. Having planted two seeds per cell, many cells are yielding two seedlings. A few stragglers are just popping out, but many are already about 4 inches tall!

IMG_20150407_191756

Misfits and Castaways Tray:

Wanting to use up all the remaining honey locust seeds, they were planted 3 to a cell in this tray. Many cells have 3 seedlings!

Additionally, 8 cells were double planted with apple seeds from a store bought gala apple. Some of them have 2 seedlings!

IMG_20150407_191752

 

Conclusions so far?

Honey locusts scarify very easily using the just-under-boiling-water soak, even If they don’t swell like they are supposed to. In fact, many of them developed weird ridges that looked like someone dipped them in lacquer which I had wrongly assumed to mean I had killed them by soaking them in too hot of water.

Apple seeds from commercial produce readily sprout with no scarification. Come to think of it, their time spent being shipped and stored in refrigeration likely stratified them adequately and the mild acid environment inside of an apple may have provided the scarification. Who knows, all I care about is that they sprouted! Whether the rootstock will prove winter-hardy here in the Shenandoah Valley is a whole different story.

The persimmons are completely failing. Maybe I overestimated the effect of that unknown animal’s digestive tract had on the seed coat. Especially considering the scat looked like it resulted from an emergency purge of the animals system. Next year I will scarify them myself. Impatience may be a factor here as well. Water and light will still be provided to the tray.

I wasn’t going to mention this, but no harm no foul, right? I left the farm for 4 days this week. As an impulsive experiment, I filled the drip tray of the misfit seedlings with water to try and “bottom irrigate” the seedlings. They overtook the controlled experiment tray which had lost most of its moisture to no ill effect to the seedlings. If the misfits continue their vigor indicating that their roots aren’t rotting, I will be comfortable trying to soak/bottom/whatever-the-real-term irrigate the other trays! I also elected to keep the lights on the entire time I was away which also seemed to have no undesired effect other than filling the breeding tent with moths and crane flies. The later can eat the roots of my seedlings, but I don’t think they pose a serious threat. Regardless, the lights are on a 12 hour self timer now, and after most bugs had vacated after a night of no lights, the tent is kept zipped up.

Also I should note that the honey locusts form a root that pushes the seed out of the soil. Some of the seedlings displaced so much soil this way, that they fell over as nothing was holding them structurally from the leveraged weight of the rising seed. Any suggestions on how to address this in the future?

 

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3 thoughts on “Update: Tree Germination Experiments

  1. Pingback: Tree Germination experiment: Non-supersaturated pictures | thegreenergrassfarm

  2. Pingback: Tree Germination Experiment Update: THE PERSIMMONS ARE ALIVE | thegreenergrassfarm

  3. Pingback: Tree Germination Experiment: Results And Observations | thegreenergrassfarm

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