Bay nuts to Bay trees?

gravyboots(7B)October 8, 2010

Hello out there -

I've gathered a few California Bay/Oregon Myrtle nuts from a tree in my area that is quite large and seems rather healthy & happy. What might be the best way to get them started growing into Bay trees? They remind me of teensy avocado pits...

Anyone have any experience growing them indoors? As Bonsai?


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Gravy,,,I had to research since I've never propagated these seeds.

One way to propagate is by sowing seeds, preferably in spring. Use moist, but not saturated soil. Place seeds on the surface, and barely cover with dry compost. Place the container in the dark, temperature around 65F.

Success is erratic, and can take as long as 3 months to sprout a shoot. Normally they take 3-4 weeks. The big danger with these seeds is rot.

Here's another entry:

Gardeners in frost-free or light frost areas will find that Bay Laurel seedlings planted in the ground willingly grow into large trees, 38 feet (12 m) and taller; but when kept pruned the Bay Laurel tree can thrive as a small bush. Bay Laurel can also be grown in containers, the size of which limits the ultimate size of the trees. New plants are often started via layering, or from cuttings, since growing from seed can be difficult.

Bay trees are difficult to start from seed, due in part to the seed's low germination rate, and long germination period. Fresh seeds with the pericarp removed typically have a 40% germination rate, while dried seeds and/or seeds with an intact pericarp have yet lower germination rates. In addition, the Bay Laurel seed germination period can be 50 days or more, which increases the risk of the seeds rotting before they germinate. Treating the seeds with gibberellic acid can be useful in increasing seed yield, as is careful monitoring of moisture levels in the rooting media.[7]

Pericarp definition---In fleshy fruits, the outer and often edible layer is the pericarp, which is the tissue that develops from the ovary wall of the flower and surrounds the seeds.

Hope this helps..Toni

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 8:06PM
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Toni, so generous of you to undertake research on my behalf - want a few Umbellularia nuts?

UDSA puts their hardiness in zones 7-10 & calls them "versatile," for trees, hedges, full sun to deep shade, drought tolerant.

The foliage smells lovely & may be used for cooking; although some people are easily overwhelmed by the fragrance.

It's good to know they tolerate container living; I think that'll be the way they go at my house.

I found a USDA/NRCS pamphlet that advises they should be "propagated from fresh seeds... that are mature when dark brown. 90-120 days cold stratification [in] 3 parts loose soil to 1 part seeds or equal parts peat moss & perlite... moisten mixture and place in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator... examin[ing] periodically for signs of germination... plant immediately." The pamphlet also gives an average germination of 93 days.

So, if you want to have a crack at it (it's really a lovely tree & smells SO good!) let me know & I'll send you some nuts!

I am still curious if anyone has bonsai experience with this tree however.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 8:30PM
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Gravy, thanks for the offer, but I have way too many plants now. 3-digit numbers, lol.

Yep, actually, all seeds should be fresh before sowing, but I think you mean, fresh fresh..How long have you had them?

Even if it's suggested sowing in spring, especially if you can get more seeds, why not sow now?

To store seeds, start off using a clean, dry container with lid, set cotton-balls inside, gently place seeds on top of the cotton balls, then seal lid tightly.
Keep in a dark, cool room. That works for most seeds, but I don't know if fruit seeds will over-winter this way.

Bay smells great, for sure. Sorry I can't offer help with bonsai..hopefully, someone comes forth..Toni

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 12:47AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Common name confusion strikes again. gravyboots asked about California Bay, Umbellularia californica. Hopefulauthor's answer refers to Bay Laurel, Laurus nobilis, which is a different plant.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 11:31AM
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Good catch Flora! Since the info was so similar, I didn't even notice the difference in name...

but now that I take a look at the USDA info, it lists Bay Laurel among the 16! common names. Makes one wonder just how many different plants go by that name?

You're welcome to some nuts, if they can go to the UK :)

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 12:28AM
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