Starting from seed ... FRESH SEED HARVESTED IN THE FALL PRIOR TO SOWING is the first rule to success
- I have collected seed myself ,from countless” local “sources over the years with very little success . The season for viable seed production here in the U.K. In most years is not long enough . Even with a good seed stand the crop vitality / viability is cyclic ,with the same source we have achieved from 20% to 0% germination
- we recommend you should purchase from any of the reliable sources of which ……… we are only one
- our seeds are in stratification and only need to continue the regime untill successful germination
THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE VERY SIMILAR TO MANY GROWERS RECOMMENDATIONS.
- For or further reading I would recommend any thing by ” J.D.Vertrees”
- “Hardy woody plants from seed “. P.D.A.McMILLAN BROWSE
- KEN ALSTON U.S.A.
- All available through AMAZON (I think )
- “Woody plants seed manual” USDA Forest Services. pages. 204-214. Acer (on line PDF) this is full of very useful information from every name in maple production ( not ours yet)
- if you read all these there is a wealth of information available . The data is overwhelming . I think the most important bits seem to imply, if you purchase 1kg of acer palmatum you will get in the region of 55, – 75 ,000seeds . By time you adjust all the percentages I think you should have 25,000 seedlings that need doing something with (selling) but there is a good chance in a good year you could have 40,000 seedlings . So in the best scouting traditions “be prepared “
- pre germinated seeds
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- It is inevitable that you will tweak this method to suit your needs with equal success .
- If you have purchased fresh seed you should take delivery in December or January . Fresh seed will only need a period of cold treatment to encourage germination . whereas if the seed is stored in a dried condition it will need warm and cold treatments . Usually the fresh is more expensive . We will cover stored seed a little later .we do not store seed
- The aim is to time germination to coincide with the last frosts . We try for May 15th , the weather men say there will be no frost after this date . ( in the Midlands U.K. ) seed of acer is perfectly hardy but try and get it of to a good start . who wants to pop their head out on a frosty morning !!
- the FRESH seeds need 100 days cool treatment to encourage germination all at a similar time . we use domestic refrigerators and set them with a good thermometer trying to maintain 5c .Counting back from May 15th ,100 days , February the first is the date we try to start the stratification process .logically domestic fridges can only maintain an accuracy 3c. – 8c when set with the thermometer at 5c
- the seeds would germinate if they were broadcast in late autumn in a fertile seedbed ,but they could germinate over possibly three years. ” BEWARE MICE LOVE MAPLE SEEDS “
- you can get either seeds, with the wings (acer seeds are called winged samaras) left on,or wings removed again you have to pay more for wings removed ,you would get fractionally more seed in your KG. Personally I would rather have the wings left on ,I think It is easier to maintain the moisture content better , and another reason later in the story
- Right you now have your seeds, set your fridge up (salad compartment is usually fine ) . Soak your seeds in warm ,not hot ,water for 24hours ,replace the water with warm again ,three or four times over the 24hr period . Then allow the excess water to drain off then mix the drained seed with equal amount by volume of fine horticultural vermiculite.
- put the mixture in a plastic bag a self seal is or zip seal is best then” add water ” this is the hardest part of the entire process. It is very difficult to remove the water if you put too much in . You can tell when it is correct when you squeeze a small amount of vermiculite between you finger and thumb ends ,and only a minimal blob of water comes out and it does not flow anywhere. We set up in kg quantities it is far easier with large amounts . It is better to need to add water than put too much in . We do not find it necessary to add a mold inhibitor we do not use a germination aid , again I think this is due to the moisture content control and the inert properties of the vermiculite . OUR SEEDS ARE DELIVERED TO YOU ALL READY DONE , JUST POP IN THE SALAD COMPARTMENT OF YOUR FRIDGE !!!
- THE FULL RANGE IS LISTED IN OUR SEED PAGE
All our seeds are now in the fridges for their stratification pre treatments ,and are ready for dispatch
“SUCCESSFUL GERMINATION” this will happen in the fridge.Start checking from May 1st ,be careful at this stage the root (radical)is very easily damaged . This is where the vermiculite comes in again if you use a 4mm sieve it is easy to separate the seeds and the vermiculite. It is easy to handle the seeds at this stage by the wing , if you did not purchase de winged seed if you are selling them on plant them up in seed trays 100 to a tray again I use vermiculite at this stage . If you are not selling ,plant them in 70mm square pots in any good compost
- PART TWO
- if you are growing on for yourself pot each germinated seed into a good general purposes compost we use 70mmsquare pots we can get 15 pots in a seed tray. In seed trays it is easier to move them around most of these trees can stay in these pots all season .offer some protection for the first winter . Last year by the middle of August there were some seedlings nearly 1M tall we had to plant them on in a nursery bed . As we could not keep them watered properly in the 75s .usually the Atropurpureum,and the dissectums will by their nature not outgrow the 75mm pots in the first year
- If you purchased seeds to sell on ,at this stage when the seeds are chiting still in the fridge ,sort out the most immature and sell them first . Once they start it is difficult to retard germination .We dispatch the seeds in moist kitchen roll with vermiculite packing in plastic bags first class post posted on Mondays only . We have little problem in the U.K. but have delayed dispatch if the weather is very hot .whilst we are picking the less mature to post on ,any with longer radicals we plant up in a seed tray .about 100 Seedlings per tray .to sell on later as first year seedlings when they are 50-75mm tall
- They will still have their wings on at this stage Keep these cool and sheltered for a few days .they will need hardening off ,but get them outside as soon as possible ,they are still at risk from rodent attack .keep the watering regular ,keep shaded, the wings will drop off and the seed leaves open . Start with a liquid feed half strength to start , Do not water in the sun ,the sun can/will burn holes in the leaves magnified through the water droplets on the leaves . In 7-10days the first set of true leaves start to unfurl and the seed leaves drop off .
- At this stage they all look the same ,Or at least very little difference . But as the sets of leaves unfurl they take on their true colours .
- Not untill the second year do the fullest charistics become apparent
please mail if you regularly use. GA3 to aid maple germination
THIS PAGE IS IN PROGRESS ,I HOPE IT IS COMPLETE BEFORE OUR SEEDS ARRIVE
if you need a question answered please post below and I will get back to you