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Improving germination rates - suggestions?

Posted by katskan41 z5 - MI (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 24, 09 at 20:54

Hi all. I'm trying to grow some conifers (pine, spruce, fir, etc.) from seed and have issues with very low germination rates.

I purchase seed online and most have at least 50% advertised germination rates. Typically my germination rates are much lower.

I sow seeds outdoors in the fall in containers. For medium I typically use sand or Turface to try and avoid damping off issues. The seeds stratify naturally over the winter.

In the spring I typically get only a handful of seeds germinating.

Should I use a different soil for starting these seeds?

Should I try to stratify the seeds artificially in a plastic bag filled with sand or other medium in a cooler?

Any suggestions for a improved germination rates would be most helpful.



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Improving germination rates - suggestions?

You could probably improve your rate by doing it artificially where you have better control of the temperature, moisture and insect problems. Al

RE: Improving germination rates - suggestions?

Hey Kat,
I've had a lot of success with other plants which also prefer a cold stratification period by simply placing them into a gallon sized freezer bag along with a standard metro-mix soil or peat that has been ever so slightly dampened along with the seeds. Just let it sit in the fridge for 4-6 weeks. I recommend using sterile items such as a clean bag, new peat/soil and DI water if possible as 4-6 weeks is plenty of time for bacteria or other microbes to spread if there is any contamination.

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