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Tree Germination Experiment: Results And Observations

This week exactly 85 seedlings (9 persimmon, 7 apple and 69 honey locust) were repotted with the final figures from the experiment being recorded. 12 additional honey locusts seedlings were culled due to rotted roots and thus not recorded as successful seedlings. The Persimmons experiment is still ongoing as those seeds are germinating at a much slower rate.

Recap

Before the tables are presented, a recap of the experiment is in order. For Honey Locusts and Persimmons, 3 soil compositions were used: soil and compost, soil and compost and perlite, soil and compost and perlite and perlite mulch. In each cell two seedlings were planted. Twice as many cells were filled with the soil and compost mixture opposed to the other two soils. For more detail, see the previous posts in this series at the bottom. The apple seeds were obtained from commercial gala apples and the results were recorded for fun.

Data

Honey Locust Experiment              
Soil composition # of Cells Seeds planted
 per cell
Individual
Seedlings
Cells with
no Germination
Cells with
double Germination
Percentage of
Successful seeds
Percentage of
Successful cells
Dirt Only 36 2 30 16 10 41.66666667 55.55555556
Dirt & Perlite 18 2 17 5 4 47.22222222 72.22222222
Dirt & Perlite & Perlite Mulch 18 2 17 5 4 47.22222222 72.22222222
Persimmon Experiment              
Soil composition # of Cells Seeds planted
 per cell
Individual
Seedlings
Cells with
no Germination
Cells with
double Germination
Percentage of
Successful seeds
Percentage of
Successful cells
Dirt Only 36 2 3 33 0 4.166666667 8.333333333
Dirt & Perlite 18 2 2 16 0 5.555555556 11.11111111
Dirt & Perlite & Perlite Mulch 18 2 4 14 0 11.11111111 22.22222222
Apple Experiment              
Soil composition # of Cells Seeds planted
 per cell
Individual
Seedlings
Cells with
no Germination
Cells with
double Germination
Percentage of
Successful seeds
Percentage of
Successful cells
Dirt & Perlite 8 2 7 3 3 43.75 62.5

 

Results

Apples being included just for fun proved to be the most vigorous germinators in terms of growth rate. No soil mixtures were used so no data is available.

Persimmons show a slight preference for perlite mixed into the subsoil and a significant preference for mulching with pure perlite.

Honey Locusts show a preference for both soil mixtures containing perlite over the soil and compost only mixtures. However significant subjective observations became very apparent and are noted in the next section.

Future Considerations

Some manner of objective measurement of both stem and root dimensions is needed for the honey locusts. Seedlings in the soil/compost only group showed the greatest growth both above and below the soil. Seedlings in either soil mixture containing perlite yielded roots that had rotted completely. Pictured below is an example: Perlite mulched soil on left, soil and compost only on the right.

IMG_20150501_162536

Differences in growth characteristics negate this need with persimmons. Where honey locusts develop many soft lateral roots early, persimmons only develop deep woody taproots that are not prone to rotting. Pictured below is a persimmon seedling for comparison purposes.

IMG_20150501_165241

Conclusion

By measure of germination success, honey locust seeds show preference for perlite soils. When considering successful root and stem development, soil/compost only is the best mixture.

Not enough persimmons germinated to provide conclusive results but from the successful germinations, persimmons appear to prefer perlite in the soil and as mulch.

 

 

Pictured below is all 85 repotted seedlings back in the growing tent. Containers consist of 16 oz. drink cups from walmart, topless milk pints, fast food cups saved by friends/family and various household products containers. At some point a fan will be placed on the seedlings to encourage stem strength for structural considerations.

IMG_20150501_173723

 

Previous posts in this series:

Collecting Honey Locust seeds

Planting Persimmon seeds

Scarifying Honey Locust seeds

Planting Honey Locust seeds

Update on progress

Another update on progress

Tree Germination experiment: Non-supersaturated pictures

Tree Germination Experiment Update: THE PERSIMMONS ARE ALIVE

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2 thoughts on “Tree Germination Experiment: Results And Observations

  1. Great upcycling!

    I’m intrigued that the apple seedlings grew from apples you can get in the shops. I somehow expected them to be sterile. I’m tempted to try out pips from oranges – just for fun.

    Like

  2. Brauck says:

    So now they are replanted, did you continue with the original soil mixtures? Or at this point is it just dirt in the cups?

    Like

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