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Legume Trees. Successful Germination/Propagation Techniques?

 
Milo Stuart
Posts: 24
Location: Mendocino Coast, CA
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Hello ya'll! Seeing how crucial legumes are in our systems.. would be great to pool our practical methods of germination and propagation of legume tree/shrubs. Maybe get a list going of experiences with each species across climates?

Scarification techniques? (hot water soak, scratch and soak?)
Potting soil mix? (Low fertility mix?)
Keeping seedlings under partial shade?
Inoculum? (species that share same or similar nitrofixing bacteria?) Example. black locust and Scotch/French Broom share same associated bacteria.


Here are some species of special interest to get us started.
Carob
Black Locust
French Broom (you can ferment, dry and smoke its flowers!)
Siberian Pea Shrub
Albizzia spp. (Mimosa)
Acacia spp. (Wattle)
Astragalus

Onward!




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Russell Olson
Posts: 179
Location: Zone 4 MN USA
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I'll be doing just this very thing on my day off Friday.
I'll be scarifying/soaking Black Locust, Kentucky Coffee tree, Elaganus, Siberian Pea, as well as similar seeds such as Honey Locust, Yellowhorn, and Japanese Raisintree.
I'll report back!
 
klorinth McCoy
Posts: 101
Location: Southern Manitoba, Canada, Zone 3B
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I would love to hear how you germinate the Siberian Pea shrub (carragana).
I have a bunch on the property and would like to be able to plant more in other areas. Just spreading seed hasn't worked so far so I think it is time to start germinating.
 
Russell Olson
Posts: 179
Location: Zone 4 MN USA
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I am starting a few things today, I realized I need to stock up on black locust seed, I'll be going to grab a bunch this afternoon.
Anyway, I used a knife to score the outside of the seed coats on the black locust, et al. Just a good scratch.
Soaked them in hot water overnight, obviously only hot for awhile, and this morning I have swelling seeds.
This is one seed that swelled and one that hasn't yet. I'll be scratching it again and like to soak the seeds for a few days with water changes very so often.

Germinating pea shrub was similar.
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Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1321
Location: northern California
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For small quantities of most such things, I nick each seed and soak overnight or longer until I see the seeds swell. Most recently I've been growing Albizzia julibrissin and various Acacias. I grow the seedlings up into gallon pot size, sometimes using long deep pots. By the time I plant them out, in a year or two at most, usually there are plenty of active nodules present without any attention to inoculation. It makes me think that the bacteria needed by most common species are present in the air.....I have in the past made crude inoculant by mashing active nodules from under a tree of the same kind and slurring them into water and putting this around the roots of seedlings....but I only did this with Casuarinas when I was planting them somewhere very far away from anywhere Casuarinas were growing....
 
Chris Barnes
Posts: 14
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I just sprouted about 270 black locust seeds by soaking them in hot water for 24 hours and then putting them in little pods. They're about 1.5" tall now or so. I figure that I need to figure out how to harden them do that I can plant them in a nursery bed soon but I am worried about it being too cold. I plan on getting a low tunnel for them and hope for the best!!

I didn't realize that scotch broom is a nitrogen fixer, that's very interesting. I have tons of it on my property and I have been thinking about how to get rid of it for the past couple years!!

I have been planting clover cover crops without even thinking about innoculation. Recently I have been thinking about trying to dig a pit in the ground to see if there is any nitrogen fixation going on. I don't think that the clover was naturally occurring on the property before I introduced it. Speaking of innoculation, I have a patch of Alder in a wetland part of my property and the soil there is very dark and rich. In any case, I understand that the bacteria that alder uses for nitrogen fixation is different than legumes... (sorry for the randomness of my digressions here )

Chris
 
David Wood
Posts: 49
Location: Sth Gippsland and Melbourne
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We planted a load of acacias last year after doing the soak in hot water thang. We had good germination from some species and poor from others. I think this might have been largely due to operator error on my part. This was the first time we had tried this approach and I didn't realise how critical it was to see the seeds swell. I think we planted a load that hadn't swelled. So we will try this again this year but with more care to ensure that the seeds are swelling. Can always put them through more hot water if they don't swell.
 
Chris Barnes
Posts: 14
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I should also note that I used a nail clipper to gently break the outer skin of the seed before I soaked it in hot water. I think I have 90+% germination with my seeds. I noticed on some of the seedlings that there is some minor damage on those very first little leaves that come out (that were formed inside of the seed) -- I am not sure what those are called. The seedlings seem to be doing OK though despite the minor damage.. Also I am about 1.5 weeks into the growth.

Chris
 
Ed Chapman
Posts: 4
Location: London, Ontario (Zone 6A)
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Hi everyone, sorry if this question has been answered in a different thread, but I need a bit a guidance, so I don't mess this up!

Scenario: I soaked about 500 black locust seeds, lots of swelling! Put them in an already moistened Pro-Mix BX tray, and set on my homemade heating mat in the basement, with lid on to maintain moisture...after two days, there are already about 50 that have sprouted...so this is GREAT!

The Question: What do I do with them as they sprout?
a) Do I move them into small pots now?
b) Do I maintain moisture, or can they grow in the open?
c) I realize that they will need light (grow lights are ready to turn on), but do they still need to sit on the heating mats?

Thanks so much! I am a beginner with permaculture, was just blown away after a tour at a local edible plants / permaculture farm, and still have lots to learn!

Thanks!
 
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