Last year I was collecting lots of seeds from trees in the wild but from cultivated varieties too. I also ordered from various places lots of N - fixing tree seeds and other fruiting varieties I would like to grow.
My plan is to grow lots of them on my site and use Mark Shepard's STUN method on finding the most adaptable ones. Seeds from the naturalised trees will be good rootstocks and I'll be experimenting with the cultivated ones.
I was researching on the best way to germinate those seeds and grow the trees so I came up with this options:
OPTION#1 The natural way to grow tree seeds
--Buckets/Pots/Boxes You sow your seeds in plastic nursery containers or buckets like Mark Shepard and mix in some potting soil.
--Seedbeds/Nursery beds You can sow some seeds, particularly those native to your area, outside in raised seedbeds.
--Direct Seeding On the site – sepp holzer style This method involves seeding out considerable numbers of seeds in the area you want your trees to grow.
OPTION #2. Mimic nature and assist the seeds grow
Step 1. Work out what treatment the seed needs Different plants have different needs, some seeds like warmth, some require cold, and some have to be germinated with light. The easiest way to find out these is to go to Plants for a future database and look there.
Step 2. Treat the seeds to stimulate the germination process Many seeds require one or more treatment steps to stimulate the germination process. These steps include: 1) Scarification, 2) Cold Stratification, and 3) Warm Stratification.
Step 3. Prepare your seed potting mix For this soil mix is usually preferred, to garden soil, most frequently equal parts peat moss (or substitute coconut coir) and perlite, with a pinch of compost to give seeds something to chew on.
Step 4. Sow the seeds and make them germinate by providing right conditions Give the seeds, warmth, moisture and light…
Step 5. Transplant and harden off the young plants After a month, you might want to consider repotting or planting out to avoid a pot-bound root system. Also, now you should gradually expose your plants to outside conditions so they can harden off a little before permanently putting them outside to brave the elements.
Step 6. Plant on your site in the desired location and select the most adapted ones Plant the young trees in the desired locations. You can do this by planting way too many, way too close – as per Mark Shepard’s STUN method recommendation – let them grow and then remove the losers.
I wrote a detailed post about this whole process. If you would like to read more about it here is the link.
I mostly plant outside in a fenced off area, and later transplant when they are bigger to the wild area. Pots are too much work; Rather just plant the seed out into nature, though if working with bought seed, then usually don't have enough seed to make that work. Some large seeds like nuts seem easier for that if protected from squirrels and other vermin.