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Trees you've had success growing from seed  RSS feed

 
Posts: 11
Location: Quebec
forest garden
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I'm interested in growing trees from seed -- not necessarily fruit trees.

I have 1 year experience and so far it hasn't been very fruitful.
Black walnut germination rate for me was around 10%. Autumn olive was near 0 as well. Korean pine nuts were all stolen by rodents (my bad, didn't sufficiently protect them). Honey locust is super easy, no stratification required.

I had some seeds in the fridge (some in sand, some in paper towels inside ziplocks), but I find this method a bit troublesome (need to worry about keeping medium moist but not saturated, small seeds like amelanchier are really hard to find inside any medium other than paper towels, takes space in the fridge, etc.)

And I had some seeds sown in my cold frame (which I believe mice managed to get into unfortunately). Cold frame is covered, so water and snow don't get in. So that wasn't ideal either (probably insufficient insulation due to lack of snow, and maybe insufficient humidity in the medium). FWIW I'm in Quebec where temperatures can drop to -30C (-22F)

What are your methods and what have you had success with?
 
Posts: 140
Location: 4b
30
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I've grown large numbers of Honey Locust and Osage Orange and had pretty good germination of Paw Paw, but with those, you need patience.  They can take a month or two to come up.  Honey Locust and Osage Orange are up in a week.  Siberian Pea Shrub are easy too.  I've had good luck with those.  Don't over-water the babies though, they don't like it.
 
pioneer
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Posts: 2254
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
400
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Thanks Jerome, this should be an interesting thread.  I've only started one type of tree from seed and it was butternut.  I got nuts with husks on them from 70 miles south of me in the fall.  I left them in a ziplock in the back of the fridge all winter.  No paper towel or other care.  I planted them in pots in the early spring and waited.  After several months, they sprouted.  I had 3 of 5 sprout and I transplanted them out into my food forest.  When we cleared out the last two we found one had started to sprout so we planted it as well.  Of those 4 seedlings, two died but the other two are alive.  They haven't done much but this year (year #2) one of them started to show signs of vigor.

Knowing then what I know now, I'd've planted the nuts directly in the food forest in the fall and covered them with chicken wire to keep the squirrels from digging them up. 
 
pollinator
Posts: 1951
Location: Toronto, Ontario
145
bee forest garden fungi hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
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We start all our avocado pits. Most germinate.

We just do the toothpick suspension half-in a cup of water. We have over a dozen in soil as container plants, with the oldest, at 4 years old, taller than me.

-CK
 
Jerome Lee
Posts: 11
Location: Quebec
forest garden
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Chris Kott wrote:We start all our avocado pits. Most germinate.

We just do the toothpick suspension half-in a cup of water. We have over a dozen in soil as container plants, with the oldest, at 4 years old, taller than me.

-CK



I'd love to see a picture of your tallest one.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1913
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
72
forest garden solar
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Based on what you said you are in Zone 4 (-22F).
So if you are trying to grow citrus or avocados it is probably not going to survive the winter temps even as seeds.
The same goes for grapes, most seeds from store bought apples/pear/plum/cherry/apricot/almond/etc/etc/etc.
Maybe if you plant 100's of them you might get a few new cultivars that can survive your winter temp, not too sure about the flavor profile.

So my recommendation would be to get locally adapted seeds from local "farm":
Apple picking
U-Pick
Forest
Backyard Fruit Trees
Arboretum
Local Food Forest
 
pollinator
Posts: 266
Location: Montana
62
forest garden trees
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Apples, burr oaks, plums, pinyon pines, horse chestnut, cherries, birch.

Techniques vary, success varies. Acorns should be kept slightly moist and refrigerated. Some species need cold moist stratification. Some substrates get zero germination. Some species will germinate not at all in my native clay soil, but will germinate great I sand. Basically germination ecology is a reflection of the plants ecology. If it naturally reproduces in sand soil, and you have clay, a thin layer of sand may help.

Also lots of woody shrubs but you specified trees. Though the principles are the same. Elderberries which are kind of a shrub/small tree require acid strat. I have one elderberry volunteer.

I plant avocados and citrus for houseplants sometimes.

I get a lot of volunteers, sometimes I weed them out, sometimes I transplant them, sometimes I let them grow.

I think we could encourage volunteers by setting up good germination conditions. I think if I piled little piles of sand or sawdust in zones around trees I would like more of that I would get more volunteers. Also could simply lay out seedling trays with starting mix in some of the zones where volunteers come up thick and let nature seed them. For instance, birds might be willing to propagate my elderberries for me if I just laid out seedling trays with starting mix stragically under the trees.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 1951
Location: Toronto, Ontario
145
bee forest garden fungi hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
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The artist farmers that employ my much better half got three sprouted avocado pit volunteers in their compost. They are now in pots in our living room.

Our idea is to eventually have a four-season greenhouse for a semi-tropical food forest including avocados and perhaps, though I haven't investigated, coffee, cocoa, cannabis, kiwi, citrus, mango, papaya, and perennial plants that grow as annuals in our climate, like tomatoes and peppers. I was also thinking about olive and almond trees.

-CK
 
pollinator
Posts: 146
Location: Australia, Canberra
36
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Apple, nashi, oak, maple, peach, nectarine, plum, apricot, chestnut, walnut, pine, pear, mulberry, grape, bee bee tree worked for me nicely after cold stratification

Cherry never worked.

I have grown mulberry, fig, elderberry, jostaberry, blackcurrant, redcurrant from cuttings.

Tagasaste never worked from seeds.
 
Posts: 95
Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
13
fish food preservation forest garden fungi homestead cooking solar trees wood heat woodworking
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Reine Claude plums or greengage volunteered at my place and fruited after 5 years of me wondering what it was. I'm going to plant some 30 seeds tomorrow. They're very likely to have the same properties as the mothertree i read.
Peaches volunteer must have had 25,  i gave away most of them, but tomorrow i plant loads of peach seeds.
Butterflybush pop up, a few every year. Same for elderberry,ash, grape, hollyberry. Don't mow the grass, things pop up. Siberian pea shrub did well. Willow is easy as well, just stick a branch in the ground novemberish et voila.
Can't tell you anything about succesrates of plantings, because all was by accident, so far.
Sometimes on forestwalks i notice a lot of trees sprout together in a forest, so many that they need more space to thrive. They need your help. If the owner let's you, transplant them, when lucky you got the right mycelium that goes with the rootsystem. Keep the root complex intact when transplanting as much as feasible.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2323
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Eastern Hemlock, White Pine, White-Red-Black Spruce, Apple, Pear, ...

Lemon and orange trees for house plants
 
Posts: 7
Location: Eastern Kentucky, 6A
food preservation hunting trees
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There are currently amelanchier, hybrid chestnut, pawpaw, persimmon, wild plum, Oregon grape, jujube, hazelnut, hickory, and butternut seeds stratifying in our refrigerator. I'm going to find out just how difficult it is in the spring. The only tree I've ever grown from seed is an avocado. Now that we have land, I want to fill it with native fruit and nut trees. I have so much to learn.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 1951
Location: Toronto, Ontario
145
bee forest garden fungi hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
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As requested.

-CK
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Posts: 77
Location: New Zealand
16
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I've grown somewhere around quarter million trees through my farm nursery so far. Most of them are Ecualyptus and Acacia. Also many thousands of palms. Heaps of out native rainforest trees and banyans. And fruit trees.
Basically it is extremely simple, seeds fall on the ground and grow. Copy that and everything usually works well. It's easy enough to vary your techniques to suit the seed in question. General rule is don't bury a seed any deeper than the size the seed is. Good luck! Don't get fooled by people saying tree growing is difficult.
 
Posts: 19
2
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Papaya, Tamarillo, Macadamia, Guava & Brazilian Cherry all grow for me when I toss rotten fruit/old nuts on a steep hillside.
Rotten pumpkins and tomatoes also volunteer readily on this slope, so are worth diverting from the compost and casting upon the bare soil.
 
Posts: 138
Location: Jacksonville, FL
13
solar tiny house woodworking
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Native and naturalized trees in your region should grow very easily. For me there are tons of trees like live oak, red maple, long leaf pine, and southern red cedar are the most common trees around where it is extremely easy to find seeds and plant them. You can also find seedlings growing in places people don't want them and transplant them. I've also done things like avocado and loquat, although I've had terrible luck with Hass avocado seeds not doing well and my Florida variety one grew very well until an early frost killed it. Loquats grow great for me.

I usually just try to emulate the forest when planting trees or seeds. Most trees aren't going to drop a single seed, so planting more than you need will give better success. Mulch or debris from under larger trees can help with moisture retention, fungal growth, and nutrients.

I've had a few mystery trees that grew from seed and I noticed them when they were too small to properly identify. One was a black gum which is now taller than me, another was a sweet bay that unfortunately died from a lack of water while I was away rebuilding a car engine. A third ended up being a key lime from kitchen scraps which I still have, but has been infected with citrus greening like all of the other citrus around here. It doesn't grow well but refuses to die, and key lime leaves have lime flavor so it is still useful.

While not from seed, I got a fig tree on clearance for $6 and made a bunch of trees off of that from cuttings. They can struggle with nematodes and grubs here so it is nice that I can just clip off a few small pieces and grow them in to new trees. I need to try that with mulberry, another local native, as well as from seed. I saved up a bunch of star fruit seeds that I'm also going to try planting.
 
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
44
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I stuck a peach pit randomly in the ground about 4-5 years ago, this year I ate the 10 or so peaches the resulting tree produced.
This tree actually had better peaches than the 3 or 4 other peach trees I bought and planted.

Other trees I've grown from seed:  Bald cypress, coffee, tea (bush actually), various varieties of citrus, American persimmon, paw paw, windmill palm.
 
gardener
Posts: 1488
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
171
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I've grown fruit trees from seed in containers, but haven't seen yet how they will do when I plant them out because I only just moved into my own house.
Mulberry from dried fruit I bought.
Peaches, apricots, apples from fresh fruit, and planted with a month or two. Walnuts likewise.
I just do stratification in containers of soil, no fridge or paper towels. I keep them in a protected place through the coldest part of winter, such as in a shaded part of the greenhouse.
 
Jondo Almondo
Posts: 19
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I forgot to mention almond, mango, jaboticaba and sapote, all very easy from a seed.
 
Posts: 40
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I just put lots of seeds in pots and tubs on my patio in the fall and see what pops up in spring. The next fall or spring transplant into bigger pots or into the ground. This year lots of thornless honey locust have volunteered from wood chips so I pot them up when I clear the veggie beds.

peach, apricot, honey locust, black locust, roses, avocados all sprouting and growing. There's even a date palm seedling growing in the chicken yard. and a20' tall, 7 year old mulberry volunteer.

All summer I save my seeds from fruit I've eaten, then plant away. Now that it's getting cold and things are actually going dormant I"ll be taking cuttings from figs, pomegranates, plums, peaches, roses, lilacs, apples just for fun.
 
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