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Author Topic: Hemlock propagation from seed  (Read 12316 times)

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Offline BCCrouch

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Hemlock propagation from seed
« on: March 11, 2001, 02:01:31 PM »
After collecting hemlock cones from around the area, I brought the lot of them inside and allowed them to open fully in the warmth of my home.  Next, I separated the seed, floated it over night, and planted it in a mix of about 4 sand: 2 perlite: 1 rich top soil.  I have the pot under a wide spectrum plant and aquarium florescent light in my kitchen and keep the light on around 15 hours per day.

Except while I'm cooking, the kitchen stays rather cool--low 60s F.  After repeated mist/spray watering, some of the seeds are above the surface and some are still just below.  The medium stays moist, so even the seeds on the surface shouldn't dry out.  How long until I can expect to see some germination?  ???
On the plains of hesitation lay the blackened bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of their victory sat down to rest, and resting, died.

Offline Bill Johnson

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Re: Hemlock propagation from seed
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2001, 04:42:00 AM »
Brian
I'm going to try and shed some light on your question however, I must admit that I'm a little out of the hemlock range so I can only relate what I've read.
Hemlock apparently is one to those trees that traditionally have a very low germination rate something in the neighbourhood of 20-30%. This can sometimes be increased by stratification of the seed, which to my mind is a fancy way of saying it should be frozen for a couple of weeks.
Hemlock seedlings that germinate like to grow in shaded (but not dark), cool, moist areas, and on a seedbed of well decomposed litter, rotted wood and mineral soil. This is probably similar to good mixture of compost, vermiculite, and potting soil.
Seeding growth apparently is quite slow during the first year, typically 1 to 1.5 inches.
Most of this information is about natural regeneration of hemlock, so some results for growing the controlled environments maybe different than I've described.
Also I'm sure that if anything I've said here is grossly wrong someone else on the forum will be quick to give you the proper advice.
Good luck be patient and don't be discouraged if you only get a few sprouts.
Bill
Bill

Offline BCCrouch

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Re: Hemlock propagation from seed
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2001, 03:58:49 PM »
Silvics of North America said basically the same thing, but the one thing I haven't read anywhere yet is how many weeks until the stratified seed actually starts to germinate.  I read that bit about their very low viability, so I put the seeds from around 30-35 cones into the soil of a single 8" diameter pot.  With saturation seeding like this I'd certainly hope that SOMETHING starts growing.  I guess that leaves me maintaining my vigil for the next few weeks.  :P
On the plains of hesitation lay the blackened bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of their victory sat down to rest, and resting, died.

Offline Jeff

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Re: Hemlock propagation from seed
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2001, 04:18:29 PM »
My Pawlonia are still not doin nathyn!
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Commercial circle sawmill sawyer in a past life.
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Offline Don P

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Re: Hemlock propagation from seed
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2001, 06:40:44 PM »
I would like to know how this works out. We have Carolina Hemlock with very open petals on the cone, and Canadian Hemlock with a normal upswept looking cone.
We are down to 2 of the carolinas and I wouldn't mind starting a few more here and there. When does one gather the cones?
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Offline BCCrouch

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Re: Hemlock propagation from seed
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2001, 07:31:36 AM »
Hemlock cones are purple while maturing and turn brown once they are fully mature, so wait for the color change to collect them.  This typically happens some time in late September or October depending on what type of fall you're having.  They don't open right away when mature, needing some time to dry before the scales peel back to release the seeds.

Always gather more than you think you'll need as the seeds are sensitive to drying out and have low viability to begin with.  If they weren't so pretty and such good shelter for wildlife I wouldn't even give these slow-pokes a second thought.   ???
On the plains of hesitation lay the blackened bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of their victory sat down to rest, and resting, died.

Offline BCCrouch

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Re: Hemlock propagation from seed
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2001, 08:59:00 AM »
All's quite on the germination front.  Maybe I should just buy some containerized hemlock seedlings from Itasca in Minnesota.   :-/
On the plains of hesitation lay the blackened bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of their victory sat down to rest, and resting, died.

Offline Bill Johnson

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Re: Hemlock propagation from seed
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2001, 09:38:13 AM »
Brian

Maybe you should try a seed viability test.
Put some out on paper towel, cover them with a sheet or two of paper towel and moisten the whole mess. It probably be a good idea to do this on a saucer or something similar.
Keep the toweling moist but not saturated and in a warm place i.e. the top of the fridge. I would check it every couple of days to see if any sprouts have appeared. If after a couple of weeks there is no action then I'd conclude the seeds were duds.
But, having said that there are always exceptions to everything.
Any way good luck, I'll check around some more and see what I can find out.
And you are right it may be easier to buy stock as opposed to trying and grow the stuff from seed.

Bill
Bill

Offline BCCrouch

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Re: Hemlock propagation from seed
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2001, 09:25:08 AM »
I must have waited too long to collect the seed because I have yet to see any movement.   >:(  Next time I'll simply buy some seedlings and be done with it.
On the plains of hesitation lay the blackened bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of their victory sat down to rest, and resting, died.

Offline Bill Johnson

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Re: Hemlock propagation from seed
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2001, 05:39:01 AM »
I was surfing around the other day and stumbled over this site.
www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/rngr/index.htm its the Reforestation, Nurseries and Genetic Resources site, under the online publications and other info there is a handbook title Raising Forest Tree Seedlings at Home.
At first glance this appears to be a pretty informative manual, I haven't had a chance to review it all yet.
You may want to check it out, it might shed some light on the problems you had trying to get Hemlock to grow. There are links to lots of other information here as well, it might be a good one to keep in mind. I've bookmarked it so I can go back and check it out more thoroughly.
Bill
Bill

Offline RavioliKid

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Re: Hemlock propagation from seed
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2001, 04:43:55 AM »
Thanks for the site, Bill! I'll have to check it out.

RavioliKid


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