Can I grow redbud from these seed pods?

aliska12000(Z5)April 24, 2007

I was going through some photos I took today, and noticed all these seedpods hanging down amid the blossoms. If I were to harvest some, when and how would I plant them? I know they must seed themselves in the wild because they grow in wooded areas around here, but they also are grown as ornamentals.

I think I could probably propagate from hardwood cuttings in the fall, but thought it'd be fun to try the seeds.

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Hi, you can grow from seeds but you need to scarify the seeds first.

Remove them from seed pod, put seeds in boiling water for one minute, dry, place in refrigerator for at least 3 wks, then plant after all danger of frost has passed.

If you plant them without the above procedure they can take up to 3 years to germinate, since the seed shell is really hard.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 10:36PM
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Hi, thanks. OK, I will try that but I'm a little leery about the boiling water but it's an experiment anyway. Isn't the word "stratify"?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 10:45PM
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Good luck, I hear it's 7 years from germination to flowering!!

From Mr. Webster-see below

to cut or soften the wall of (a hard seed) to hasten germination
- scar·i·fi·er /-"fI(-&)r/ noun

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 11:04PM
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Scarify - but all you have to do is rub them on an emery board, piece of sandpaper, or even a rock - just enough to wear a nick in their hard seedcoat, then soak overnight and plant.
I've seen the instructions about boiling, but I've never done it- didn't really seem necessary if you're just doing a few; I guess if you had thousands to get started, then the boiling and acid baths some propagation manuals recommend *might* be in order, but it only takes a fes rubs on an emery board to wear a hole in the seedcoat on a redbud or yellowwood seed.
They've been hanging on the tree all winter, so have had any chilling requirement met.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 7:06AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you got to be kidding .... are you sure they arent seeding themselves all over your yard already????

look for litle heart shaped leaves around the garden .... after momma leafs out ....

in my zone 5 .... they pop up everywhere .... almost but not quite a problem .... ken

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 8:58AM
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No not kidding, they will seed themselves but from what I've read, the wall of the seeds are so hard, that it takes 3 years to germinate in nature. So if you want to plant in a certain place and watch it grow........

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 9:19AM
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Thank you, I learned a few things, "scarify" it is.

These are across the street (1) and down the alley (1), and in front of another house fairly close, but I've never seen volunteers of this in my yard, could be, sometimes I'm in observation mode and sometimes not. The tulip tree across the street, I occasionally get some and they always come up in a place where it is hard to dig up to transplant. I'll watch for some though.

Seven years eh? I may not be around. I knew it would be like about 5 or so. Oh well, I'd like to try a few anyway just to watch and see what they do.

I'll try the sandpaper or file or whatever first because that would be easier, then if that doesn't work, I can try the boiling method.

Thanks for all the helpful responses.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 9:56AM
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I'd go with rubbing them between two sheets of sandpaper. A lot safer than boiling them.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 10:14AM
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Luckily they were not too high, also picked up several wet pods off the ground from the other neighbor's tree. So I guess I'll dry them a bit (it's been raining like crazy) and plant them in regular potting soil. Or would cheap topsoil be better? I'll have more control if I don't put them in the ground right away, could stick a few in to see what happens, have plenty now, don't have a whole lot of space to spare because I need one large area for rose cuttings. If they sprout, I'll put them in 16 oz plastic cups with 2 holes cut in the bottom and bury them. Then will watch if they get rootbound . . .I'll have to stick them down on the farm or give most of them away if they grow.

Nothing like counting your redbuds before they hatch.

I just noticed my lemon tree has sprouted which I had given up on . . .4 or 5 seeds, one little sprout. Could be something else that was in the potting soil. We'll see. If it is a lemon tree, it will have to be grown in a large pot.

Mega thanks for all the help!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 1:06PM
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philmont_709n2(z6 Ohio)

method # 2!
Heres how i did it. I took seeds from pods in the fall, put them in some soil outside, then just let them go through winter (the cycle of freezing/thawing then freezing again naturally loosens the seed coat) then when it gets warmer they just sprout up! it takes only from the time you pick them, to the time they sprout in the spring, not even a year! I tried this for the first time this year and have about 10 small redbud seedlings now!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 3:47PM
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Wow, that's neat. Problem is I didn't think about it in the fall. I'm thinking about it now. They have gone through the winter, so I'll just take my chances and do the sandpaper thing. Then if they don't sprout, I'll try your fall method.

What do you have your seedlings IN? The ground, I presume? What side of the house/property, full sun, partial, what? When will you dig them up and transplant them?

I suppose with fall planting, you are less likely to lose them this winter.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 5:06PM
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philmont_709n2(z6 Ohio)

i have them in a "pot" right now. (really a juice bottle cut in half) i will put the whole thing in the ground this winter to prevent them from freezing. i germinated them in a cold frame like structure i built.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 5:45PM
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and you talked last, philmont. I just planted 40 seeds, rubbed them between fairly coarse sandpaper, put in planting medium, covered about 1/4 inch, in a McDonald's salad tray with holes in the bottom and a clear plastic lid. They will go outdoors as soon as it quits raining, not in the sun, until they germinate, then I will take the lid off. I don't want to have to harden them off. It is raining and will for the next two days. Should have been working on an ark.

If they germinate, I'll put them in plastic cups or cottage cheese containers, prefer one to a pot so the roots don't entangle.

It was easier than I thought to get them out of the pods. Have a bunch left over in case I did something wrong.

I don't have a cold frame for winter, will figure something out.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 8:23PM
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About 13 days to germinate. The sandpaper must have worked. philmont, about how tall are yours now and are you worried about separating them? I need to figure out what to do after a few more have sprouted, if they do.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 5:52PM
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I potted them up in cups with two holes in the bottom for drainage. Got 22 out of 40. What am I going to do with all those trees lol? Do you think I'll have to pot them in bigger pots before winter and sink them in the ground this winter like philmont did last year?

Those are delphiniums and roses I'm nurturing right now, east side of the house where they get morning sun only for now.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 3:57PM
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headeranderson(8a-7b DFW)

I am about to start sowing some redbud seeds as well. I also have some dogwood--I am thinking about taking 1 redbud and 1 dogwood and sticking them in the same pot so they grow up together. The pink and white looks so unusual together.

I figured I'd better start now because I'll be buying a new home in about 2-3 years and I want some ornam. trees.

Good Luck on your redbuds.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 11:58AM
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How are you going to germinate dogwood seeds? Same way I did with the redbud? Reason I'm asking is that I did some research on the web, and the best method of propagation for dogwood is hardwood cuttings in the fall. My neighbor has one I have been admiring for years, pink, a little different from most, and it would be too much to ask for hardwood cuttings, but he might give me some seeds. When do you harvest those?

That sounds like a beautiful combo, but I wouldn't grow them in the same pot together. Their roots will get entangled, and you could get a couple years down the line and ruin one or both trying to separate them. I'd grow them in separate pots sitting together.

You can't plant them that close together in the ground anyway. The Arbor Day Foundation site says redbuds spread 30' when mature (presumed under optimal growing conditions). I don't know how big your variety of dogwood will get, my neighbor's hasn't gotten bigger in years, so you could probably plant something like that under the canopy of the redbud but at least a few feet away. What do I know?

I'd try to get some shrubs going, too, if you have the time like azalea, rhododendrum, butterfly bush, weigela (they told me on another forum you can just stick a branch of it in the ground), fringe tree. Some of it would probably be easier to just buy later, Lowe's had some gorgeous azaleas and rhododendrums this year. Several people in my town have a dark red rhodie that is just gorgeous, the first thing that grabs you when you look at their property.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 2:21PM
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headeranderson(8a-7b DFW)

Sorry for such a late response. I stratified my dogwood seeds and put them in the fridge for 90-120 days. My redbud's for 60ish. I made sure ahead of time that both species of trees grow the to the same height and rate. They are growing wonderfully now. My aunt has an old pair that were twisted together 30+ years ago(wish I had a pic). They ended up drafting together and create pink, white and occasionally red blooms. I call it a beautiful freak of nature. I also got my seeds from that same tree so this is like a Frankenstein experiment for me.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 6:52PM
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Don't worry about late response, it's easy to get lost and sidetracked around here if you don't start a thread yourself and check notification. I "lose" a lot of threads that interest me and on which I sometimes comment.

There was no need to stratify mine. Winter did it. You should see them now, about time to pot them in gal nursery pots if I can scrounge enough. I'm very attached to my babies :-). I know, I can bury the bigger pots in my tomato strip for the winter after the tomatoes are done, then figure out what to do next spring. I want to keep them in pots so their roots don't tangle together if I set them out tree-farm style.

I don't have a cold frame and not of a mind to build one, too much else to do and not a good spot for one. A little over half of mine germinated with the sandpaper trick, more probably would have if I hadn't dug around in the seed tray to transplant the ones I did.

That twisted tree sounds neat, curious what you will come up with from seed. Guess we won't see for 7 years though :-(. You may get a breakthrough with something unique with the probable cross pollenization.

If you can post a photo of your aunt's tree, it would be fun to see it.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 7:43PM
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