I have bought a large amount of tree seeds with the idea of planting a living fence. I wanted to try apples and elderberries first off (in two different areas). I know that especially apples won't reproduce true to type, that doesn't bother me.
The problem is that I live in zone 7b and will definitely need stratification. I will not be able to just plant in a hedge row and expect it to get cold enough. But I want to start so many trees that all strat methods I see published ("plant two seeds in a 5-inch pot" or similar) are impractical.
Is it safe to mix a whole bunch with mulch and stratify in a bag, then plant in a row in the spring? I'm especially worried about the elderberries that need warm and cold stratification. Will the strat process make the seeds less resilient to rough handling when I go to plant them?
I think I'll do a few in pots to confirm my seeds are good, but I certainly don't want to individually manage 500+ pots. What do you think?
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
posted 1 year ago
Jared: The minimum expected temperatures in USDA zone 7b are 5 F to 10 F. That is more than cold enough for stratification of apple or elderberry seeds. I would just plant them into a nursery bed somewhere outside, and transplant in the spring.
Your zone should be fine to plant apple seeds a half inch deep in a long garden row and let them grow out for a year. Plant 2 seeds per inch and don't worry about crowding, just weed them and lightly mulch with something dry like wood chips. You can put a few rows 6 inch apart and still have access to weed them. Dig for transplant in the Dec-Feb dormant season
I never grew elderberry from seed. It's very easy to take 2-6 ft cuttings and stick them in the ground to grow!
But the growth pattern of elderberry doesn't fit a living fence well - too fragile and holds soft dead wood. Have you considered buying some Black Locust or osage orange seedlings in wholesale bundles?
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