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Biodiversity with seeds

 
Richard Gorny
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Location: Poland, zone 5
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A part of my land is a pine monoculture, approximately 20 years old. I would like to introduce more biodiversity into it, by graduallly thinning it and planting other trees and shrubs native to the area but not present on my land - oaks, black and honey locusts for n-fixing, hawthorns, blackberries and many others, but due to a scale I would prefer to use seeds rather than seedlings. I'm sure all of you have heard stories about the man that has planted the forest, like this one:



This is something I would like to replicate. I'm on a very sandy soil, I have been trying different methods, and basically nothing works. I have tried seedballs (Fukuoka style) and seeds of species that "grow everywhere" yet still I have only pines. I'm starting from the edge facing south, so I'm sure there is enough light for the new plants if only they grow from seeds. I'm in zone 6 by the way, so many species need stratification, therefore I have tried planting seeds in Autumn as well. Providing that I have plenty of seeds, what would be the best method to plant them if we assume that we are planting in the final location for the particular tree and that it is not going to be ever moved? Is this possible at all to achieve my goal without establishing tree nursery?
 
leila hamaya
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Posts: 1106
Location: northern northern california
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it's possible part of your issue is the pH ? just a possibility...pine/conifers change the pH of their area.

i am surprised if you are trying to start locusts and they arent starting, they should be really easy, at least from how this stuff spreads out here. berries are very tricky from seeds, though, but oaks are also pretty easy, and again here they spread like weeds.

and yeah you want to start tree seeds in fall, most of them need the stratification.

there are many benefits from direct sowing right where you want it, but there are drawbacks too. if you are in an area with wildlife, they may be eating your seeds before they have a chance to grow. not being moist enough, being too moist, being planted too shallow and not having good soil contact are some other things that can go wrong. i find with direct sowing it takes a lot more seed to get fewer plants, especially since theres so much wildlife/birds here...they eat a lot of the seed i direct sow.

so thats why many people prefer to have a nursery bed or start in pots, or some other controlled environment.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands
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Check out my tube seeder video... It's a great way to plant tremendous numbers of seeds with little effort. For hard ground I recommend that they be made from steel pipe. Tree seeds that I plant sometimes don't germinate until the second growing season, and often only make a few leaves the first year they grow. So it's easy to miss them.

Tube Seeder: Plant Potatoes, Onions, Transplants, and Seeds Without Bending Over.



 
Richard Gorny
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Posts: 226
Location: Poland, zone 5
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Great info Joseph, many thanks! I will surely use your seeder, it will be a good help.

Leila, many thanks. My soil is not compacted, it is approximately 90% of sand, organic matter layer is very thin, and on top of that it is a middle of the forest and borders with nature reserve, so wildlife is abundant. My guess would be that birds, rodents and even ants take care of my seeds, thus idea of trying seedballs (which has also failed).

pH should not be an issue, I have checked in a couple of places and it is always close to neutral or just a little below. I would say lack of nutrients and organic matter plays a role here, but it should affect the growth of the plants, not their germination. And the problem is nothing is growing from my seeds. Same seeds planted in pots do fine, but since I want to plant thousands of plants really, pots are not an option for me.

I will repeat massive seeding this fall (this will be third time already) and I will see what happens. One modification I planned to do is to heavily mulch places where the seeds are, but on the other hand I know from past experience that it might lure wild boars so not the best idea ...
 
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