who has experience growing metasequoia from seed

hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)June 13, 2014

So I have some ~8 week old Metasequoia seedlings. Posting here vs. continuing my post about this at the Conifers forum, since there seems to be more posting traffic here lately.

It seems like Metasequoia seedlings have a lot of variability - can anyone add their $0.02? There are also a few scattered Acer rubrum seedlings as you can see in the pic - I just took some of the samaras that fell off my October Glory and stuck them there just for the heck of it - but those won't be the focus of this post.

The empty cells are either duds that never grew, or a couple I have potted up (too soon - there was plenty of room for more root growth). The small one at the left of the pic is actually about a week older than the others, but has remained small. Right above it (and below the maple) is a brand-new seeding that JUST sprouted despite being planted for 2 months. Weird. The ones in the middle look like "typical" Metasequoia seedlings I've seen, but the three in the upper right are odd - the one just to the left of the upper right corner has a slightly different needle shape, an odd looking growth tip, no branching at all, and the leaves almost looked alternate for a while. The two seedlings nearest it appear sparser than the others (although healthy) - taller but more space between leaves. They lmost look etoliated from lack of light, but they all get about 3 hrs direct sun and bright shade/filtered sunlight the rest of the day.

Basically - are these all going to end up more or less the same, or do I have anything potentially unique?

The one on the left - possibly a dwarf, or just a runt that should be culled?

The upper right ones - esp. the one with the "odd" growth pattern, anything unique?

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lucky_p

Too soon to tell. You'll have to grow 'em out for at least a couple of years - maybe longer.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 11:27AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

species should be species.. with little genetic diversity ...

if they are seeds from a named cultivar ... then they are not species ... and could vary wildly ... or look just like the species????

as to the dorf ... time will tell ... who knows ...

whats your plan for wintering them over ... hope is not in that sodden cell tray ... if they die before them.. it will most likely be.. that your media is too peaty .....

it always amazes me.. how many seedlings thrive on my bare mineral sand.. with no watering at all ... makes me want to say trees prefer their roots to be rather dry ... but for the little cells you have them in ...

when you get to potting.. lets discuss media... if you already know ... we will discuss it for others ...

ken

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 11:55AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I will post when I pot them. The media is really mostly shredded pine bark that was too fine for a '5-1-1' type mix plus a little peat. It is probably too peaty for a large pot, and when I do pot up I will probably use one of Al's super-well drained mixes from the Container forum.

Metas do like high moisture, and those little cells dry out FAST - it's been a rainy week but usually I water every 2 days or so if it's sunny and 80+. My oaks in pots need much less frequent watering and those I do let dry out quite a bit - but the metasequoias - I killed several letting them get too dry already.

Overwintering...either in ground, or in pots sunk into the ground. Depends on our plans - we may be acquiring a new home on a few acres (!!) if plans pan out.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:09PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Metas do like high moisture, and those little cells dry out FAST

==..>>

1st .. never confuse a mature plants tolerances to a seedling/transplants..

2nd ... the cells are either sopping or bone dry.. THAT WAS MY POINT... its the cell pack itself ... even putting all of them.. in ONE one gal pot.. would be better... the mass of media... will not be as volatile ...

3rd..pots in winter.. tip them over.. else they tend to accumulate too much moisture... and end up with cold wet roots ...

4th.. i did not mean to imply i have MG seedlings in my garden.. only rogue abies and pines.. maples.. oaks.. and this year.. one tulip tree.. who knew.. lol ...and an errant yew or two ....

ken

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 6:50PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Yeah, I am going to get then out of the cells ASAP.

I like the idea of turning the pots on the side in winter.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 7:44AM
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poaky1

Mine was a "Tree in a box" tree. I guess that doesn't count. But I do have some advice from the experience. Don't start them on a windowsill, however sunny it is. Mine has bad form, even when I tried to prune it to have a main leader and straight branches. the branches all are crossing and strangle each other, hard to tell when foliated though.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 10:55PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Poaky, I doubt that's why your tree has an unusual form. Metasequoias are pretty diverse in their form. That's why I asked about mine. Yours may just have a genetically unusual shape - but I'd have to see a full pic of it leafless to know. How old is yours?

I saw several GORGEOUS large ones down in Raleigh, NC this weekend when I was there for a wedding. There were 2 next to each other that were almost certainly planted at the same time, but one was more short-stout (60' high/30' wide) and the other taller and thinner (75'/25'), but both had about the same size trunk and root flare.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 11:02PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

I am not sure if it is genetics or microclimate that creates the diversity in metasequoias. The big grove at MOBOT and my species tree look pretty similar. At Dawe's the old ones are a thick stout bunch while the newer grove look alike. At Rowe and Seecreast (spelling) the tall close together trees look similar to eachother.

Maybe its microclimate, then again yours are all close together.

Perhaps the proliferation of identical Bradford and October Glory clones just have me expecting too much similarity in species trees.

FWIW my metasequoia Ogon is tall and thin like most I have seen.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 2:31AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

The whole nature vs. nurture debate.

One difference is that all older Metasequoia (including the ones at MOBOT, Dawes, and the Raleigh Rose Garden) are grown from seed from basically the same tree or it's decendants.

The last 20 yrs or so, seed has been collected in China from some of the other native stands that have been found since the original tree was discovered. That might also explain the diversity.

Does anyone know if F. W. Schumacher's seeds are collected in China or from US-based trees?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:40AM
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poaky1

Hairmetal, my Metasequoia is pretty old, but was moved a couple times. It started in a peat pot from the kit, was planted in my old yard, now the neighbors yard, then finally where it is now. The seed was started in 1997. When I divorced and lost the house, the tree made the move next door with me. It would likely be even bigger if I hadn't taken it out of the ground. It lost lots of roots, but came back like a trooper. It's likely my oldest tree, besides our Conifers, and one dwarf maple,.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 7:33PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Here's one of my Metasequoia seedlings, taken yesterday. Really taking off since I up-potted it.

This post was edited by hairmetal4ever on Wed, Jun 25, 14 at 11:07

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 11:06AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Nice. After seeing that I bet mine was a one year old bare rooter from Arborday.

Thanks for the update.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 2:29PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

From what I've read, they'll usually hit 12 - 18" by the end of the first growing season, depending on length of growing season and whether they were started early in a greenhouse/indoors.

This is my first time growing from seed, and at first I didn't believe that since they are slow, at first when germinating, but, the bigger they get, the faster they seem to grow.

Metasequoia has "indeterminate" growth - which means they don't set a terminal bud and stop for the season, they really just keep growing, to my understanding, until a few weeks before the foliage turns color and drops in fall.

I've seen local specimens grow 2'+ after *Labor Day*!

This post was edited by hairmetal4ever on Wed, Jun 25, 14 at 15:26

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 2:46PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

This is one grown from seed and is two years old and 16' tall.

Dax

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 8:19AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

TWO YEARS, Dax?

WOW.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 10:16AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

2-years my friend. Started indoors Feb.-Mar. and sometime June it (and all the others were 8-12") and I planted this one and walked away.

Year one (about 8 months old) it was over 6' tall. Then that photo above is after year 2 and not even 2-years old, technically.

That's at a rental home of my folks.

Dax

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 9:38AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

So you planted the 8" seedling directly in that spot? Or did you pot-up first?

This post was edited by hairmetal4ever on Fri, Jun 27, 14 at 9:49

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 9:48AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Is that spot particulary fertile or moist?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 9:49AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I have a question. One of my seedlings had the top broken off a few weeks ago, by a #@&@&!*(*($ squirrel that has a death wish.

The topmost lateral branch (and only branch it had at the time, in fact) has continued growing much longer, and has somewhat turned more upright, as if trying to make a new leader. At the same time, several new shoots are starting in the axils of the needles along the stem, including one right next to the lateral branch that's now turning upward.

Should I take that branch that's already trying to become the new leader, and stake it straight up? It's flexible enough to do so. Or - should I just let it go for a while and see what happens? I actually pushed a bamboo stake in the pot this morning but stopped short of trying to tie it straight.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 10:24AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

It's good old Illinois (black) soil and a wonderful year for rain.
Yep, I started the seeds in a 'dish' and plucked those that germinated & planted them to 5" x 2 3/8" Anderson Tree band pots with slow-release fert and that June I planted it from that container.

Do what you think is necessary for that leader. This is an example of what I did this spring to my 'Silhouette' Dawn Redwood that I never kept control of 'until I was ready' ;-)

Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Silhouette'

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 8:31AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

It has a double leader, so I headed back the weaker one slightly to try to encourage the other to dominate.

The other seedling I posted above is doing well, as are the others. However, the branching is flat, all opposite each other - see below. Is that typical?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 5:33PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

The one that lost its leader has done pretty well making a new, dominant one.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 4:30PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

@#&$#& picture is sideways...

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 9:53PM
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