Growing from pine cone seeds

tomcollinsJuly 25, 2006

I have some Norway Spruce trees blooming with cones.

How and when can I grow more trees from the cones ?

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Me Iv'e got some doug firs in my back yard. The cones on the bottom branches are brown, open and empty, but I see Green closed cones a little ways up. The book Im reading says I need to get them when there brown but still closed, then put them in a bag in a hot or warm place untill they open up and release the seed, but after that Im a little confused. I think Its telling me to either put the seed in the refridgerator for a month and a half then sow the seed, or its telling me to sow the seed in little pots and then put them in the refridgerator for a month and a half, and then set them out to grow......but it will be fall in a month and a half so I think I need to store the seed until a month and a half before spring and then do the refridgerator thing. And then theres the issue of seeding medium. It says to use "typical" seeding medium. Anyway, Im horrible at following vauge directions so any step by step advice would be great.

I wonder what other NW oregon native seeds I should go try and find........

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 12:06AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Pinus resinosa (Norway Pine) sow @ 70ºF. Norway Spruce (Picea abies), sow outdoors so seed experiences a range of temperatures. Cones should be ripe in Fall.

Douglas fir cones are ripe when reddish brown in late summer. The chilling of the seed must be moist, dry storage in your refrigerator doesn't work. Easiest in Portland would be to sow the seeds in any well draining potting medium in pots approximately December (give them some root depth, say 5" or more), cover lightly with grit or aquarium gravel to protect from heavy rain moving the seed, place outdoors to let Mother Nature do the chilling.
Seeds will germinate in late winter to early Spring...if you have squirrels, you may need to put some wire mesh over your seed pots to keep them from digging up your seeds.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 2:19PM
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So I should keep the seed dry until december, then put the seeds 5" deep in potting soil and cover the top with grit or aquarium gravel, and then put them outside to let nature do its work. Is that it?

Pick the cones in late august/early september?

A whole cones worth of seed per pot?

TY for all your advice!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 1:30AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Purdy, you can sow the seeds any time after harvesting them, but if your refrigerator is tight for space, letting nature take care of the stratifying is easiest.

Don't plant the seeds 5" deep, prepare (fill with potting medium) pots that are 5" deep. Sow seeds on top, barely cover the seed with a little of the potting medium, then add the fine gravel or grit.

Pick in late Aug to early Sept when ripe. See how many plump, well filled out seeds are in your cones - I would sow 20-25 seeds per 4x5" pot, not all will germinate.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 1:39PM
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I three oak trees that i've grown in my backyard and me having difficulties growing things just let all the cones fall from the tree and I left them outside on the ground all winter and waited to spring and before and racking was down carefully went and dug up all the cones that germinated and moved them around the yard to the places I wanted them. I lightly covered the cone with soil after the root was in the ground. All 7 of them survived but I didn't have room to keep all them so the three strongest ones at the end of summer stayed. They were about a foot tall at the end of the first summer. Don't know if this will work for you or not just be careful not to rack them up if you decide to try it.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 11:50AM
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hello tom, I shall recommend a US Forest Service website where you can use their search engine to access specific topics....also don't overlook their USDA Handbook 674 volumes, Forest Nursery Notes publications(and bibliograghic references) and related online links...

keywords : "Forest Nursery Notes" ; "Reforestation, Nurseries and Genetic Resources

(related containers(retail) can be found at Stewie and Sons, Inc.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 3:53PM
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So do I need to pick the cones, or can I just wait for them to fall? I need to grow them in pots because I have dogs that roam the back yard.

Im still working on how I can pick cones from these trees if thats what I need to do. I might be able to knock a few down with a broom if I stand on the garage.

When I get the cones I think Im supposed to put them in somthing to contain the seed when the cones open. Do I leave the sack/container with the cones in them outside to let nature heat them up? Whats the deal with that?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 9:53PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Well, you can check those on the ground and see if they still contain some of the seeds, there is a chance they might have already released them. (People who pick cones professionally - yes, there is a market for conifer seeds - actually pick them, not pick them up :)) A brown paper bag works fine for cones that are still intact with seeds...allows moisture to escape so no mildew. Dry is the key here, whether indoors, in a garage, someplace mice or birds can't reach them. Careful standing on that garage while swinging a broom!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 12:48AM
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you will need to read the published works of Dr. Thomas Landis sited above

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 5:57PM
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Ive got the cones. I made a cone picker out of a coat hanger and a broom stick. The garage roof was a little sketchy, but I survived. Now Im debating how natural Im going to go. I found some great info at the forestry center website, although the link above is dead. That website seems to encourage cleaning the seed, stratisfying them (making them think they went through winter), and them planting them in january thru may, or somthing like that. I might take that approach with some of the seed, but for the sake of experimentation Im also going to try the planting method described above.

I found a baby fir tree on a two foot thick strip of dirt between my drivway and house the other day. Its barely three inches tall. I think Ill need to pot it and protect it from the cold over the winter because Im asuming it got a late start.

Its amazing what I find when I put my interest in a certain place.

Heres the link I ended up at.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 4:29AM
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If I buy pine seeds can I just put in pots outside all winter and they will spout in spring?
I have been growing trees from seeds but most are seeds that can be sown in spring.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 3:57PM
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