Has anybody ever used this or know anything about it.
Here is a link to one brand.
FWIW, one earlier thread at What's with Gibberellic Acid - Growing from Seed Forum - GardenWeb.
Hi, I ran across this recently when I received a catalog from J. L. Hudson. Looks like that was the same source on the earlier thread.
I was wondering if anyone has ever tried smoke on difficult seeds? I have some seeds I cannot get to break dormancy, after three tries and this sounded very interesting. One suggestion was to put some dried grass or something that would burn quick on top of the pot and set aflame. Then water in the ash. Second was to waft the pot over some smoke like in a fireplace (I like the first idea better) BUT, I also read that Liquid Smoke like you buy in the grocery store would work too.
I am growing SW Natives from seed and usually I have good luck just stratifying but may try one or both of these methods to see if I have any luck on these stubborn ones. Anyways, I was wondering if anyone had tried either of these methods and how well it worked?
"I was wondering if anyone has ever tried smoke on difficult seeds? I have some seeds I cannot get to break dormancy, after three tries and this sounded very interesting."
I have not tried smoke on difficult seeds, but the three methods you described don't sound very likely to me, particularly the Liquid Smoke method. But give them a try anyway. I suspect the "smoke" activation that occurs in nature is more likely the effect of a wildfire, which might "cook" or incinerate some seeds, but only roast the seed coats of others.
Last year I purchased some Proboscidea parviflora var. hohokamiana seeds from J. L. Hudson and the catalog says they need warmth to germinate in 1 - 6 months. That was a lot longer than I wanted to wait, so I used an X-Acto knife and some Kelly forceps (to safely hold the seeds) to "surgically" remove the hard white seedcoat of several of the seeds, exposing the little embryos inside. I planted the naked embryos, and the little "Double Devil's Claw" plants were up in four days. Their plants were beginning to bloom when I set them in my garden late last May, after the danger of frost had passed here and the soil was beginning to warm up. They grew to gigantic size, nearly head high, and produced a bountiful crop of their strange pods. I plan to grow more this year by the same method. This year I plan to cross them with the black-seeded two-clawed P. louisianica variety (those "Devil's Claws" grew wild on our farm in northwest Oklahoma when I was a kid). They are both fascinating plants, and they are covered with sticky hairs that trap and kill small insects, raising the question of whether they are carnivorous plants.
I have also had good success planting naked seed embryos of zinnia seeds. I breed zinnias as a hobby, and when I want to get a quick second generation, I gather green seeds from a still living zinnia bloom, surgically expose or remove the embryo, and germinate it indoors in a sterile growing medium.
The living seedcoat of a green seed is impervious to water, so the embryo can't get the water it needs to germinate until that waterproof coat is breached or removed (or eventually dies).
By germinating green naked zinnia embryos, I can accelerate the second generation by a month and grow two generations of zinnias a year outdoors, and by continuing with more zinnias in indoor gardening I can get up to four generations of zinnias per year. That has helped speed up my zinnia breeding hobby.
You might want to try the naked embryo technique on your recalcitrant seeds.
Ha Ha! I have done that too and you are right, it works! I have a pair of magnifiers that sit on your head to help see. I've had some nearly round, hard as a rock seed that is very difficult to nick and can easily go flying across the room. I've spent lots of time trying to find a flying seed.
Another thing I read is that some seeds have a waxy coat and need a lot of rinsing, snow melt or a soak in hydrogen peroxide.
The seeds I am having trouble with are Creosote and Feather Dalea. Both have fuzzy coatings. I think I will order more of the dalea seeds and try what you suggest. I have only done that on hard coated seeds. Good thought.
The thing about the smoke was for seeds that typically germinate after a fire like you said. I think some of these wild seeds might just benefit and its worth a try. Liquid smoke definitely wouldn't cost anything. I sort of want to try the pine needles and flame just to see if it works. I imagine if you don't over-do the flammable material its not a problem with burning the seeds if they are covered in sand. Clay pot would probably be a good idea, don't you think?
"Another thing I read is that some seeds have a waxy coat and need a lot of rinsing..."
I am concerned that the zinnias seeds I have saved from zinnias that I have hand pollinated may need some extra cleaning to help avoid seed-borne problems. I have recently purchased an ultrasonic cleaner that I plan to use to clean some of my saved zinnia seeds. Ultrasonic cleaners are used for a variety of things, but cleaning jewelry is probably the most common.
First, I plan to do some tests on some known good commercial zinnia seeds. I will clean them ultrasonically for various periods of exposure in the cleaner, to see if excessive ultrasonic cleaning might actually kill the seeds.
If you check the link at the bottom, you will see that Gibberellic acid is the most effective agent to use to break dormancy of sage, but it is very effective on many other difficult seeds. Gibberellic acid is available on eBay and Amazon at very low cost.
Here is a link that might be useful: Pacific Southwest Research Station
For those seeds that suggest smoke as a requirement for germination, there is available from a major south African seed supply, paper discs impregnated with a chemical derived from smoke. By soaking the seeds in warm water with one of these discs, germination is almost 100%. Al
I have heard that Liquid Smoke that you can get in the supermarket is as effective as burning rubbish over your flat of seeds, and preferable.
I would try it for certain seeds. You are from California where fires are common and there are certain plants that are the first to repopulate a burned out area. Usually these then get crowded out by the native plants that take over later, they leave in the ground seed that remains dormant until another fire. It makes sense that if someone is trying to germinate seed of one of these types of plants it would be logical, probably essential in some cases, to try either burning leaves on top of the pot or the liquid smoke. I have run across a few specimens I wanted to try if only I could find a seed source.
It would be interesting to experiment with both methods.
before using liquid smoke, i would read the ingredients
make sure its not for food, it may have oils or something damaging.
certian species need those chemicals to germinate
good info on species etc...
Here is a link that might be useful: http://finebushpeople.co.za/smoke_primer.html
There is good articles on the net about forest fires releasing seeds to germinate: http://creationrevolution.com/2012/06/plants-that-need-fire-to-survive
Also another one about Austrian plants requiring the same treatment: abohttp://aob.oxfordjournals.org/content/88/2/259.full.pdfut
As I mentioned in a previous posting Gibberellic acid may have similar results.