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Growing from Seed

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  1. Growing from Seed

  2. What is a seed? • matured ovule • What is a fruit? • matured ovary • What is the purpose of seeds? • variability of offspring • dispersal of offspring away from parent • survival of plant through difficult conditions

  3. How is growing from seed different? • variability of seed-propagated plants • Advantages? • easy • little equipment • lots of plants! • Disadvantages? • variability! • viability • germination? Cotoneaster microphyllus

  4. The purpose of flowering is to produce seeds Arbutus unedo ‘Compacta’ Araucaria araucana

  5. Seed production is the goal! Annual Perennial Shrub Tree

  6. Embryo: develops from union of egg and sperm Radicle: embryonic root Epicotyl/hypocotyl: embryonic shoot Endosperm: oil and carbohydrate storage • Seed Coat: mostly dead, hard tissue • Protection from being crushed

  7. Seed Dormancy Prevents germination under poor conditions Caused by: (1) hard seed coat (2) immature embryo (3) chemical inhibitors in seed and fruit Rosa rugosa

  8. Dormancy is rare in domesticated species

  9. Wild-collected seed may require pre-treatment

  10. Overcoming Dormancy • Annual plants: temperature most important In other plants… • Time (2): • embryo maturity • warm/cold/moisture • Stratification (1,3) • cold/moisture • Scarification (1) • breaking seed coat Ilex sp.

  11. Stratification Usually 60-90 days Best at 35-40oF, moist Protect from critters!

  12. Always leave room to expand!

  13. Scarification Artificially breaking down the seed coat Mechanical • Hot water • Put in ~200oF H20 • Allow to soak overnight • Sow soon, keep moist Mechanical scarification

  14. Germination • Conditions for germination: Light • light requirement • no light requirement • Moisture • increase in seed size • Temperature • varies widely • Oxygen • frozen, compacted, or • waterlogged soil Cotinus coggygria

  15. Germination • Occurs as the result of: • swelling of the endosperm • rupture of seed coat by emerging root • emergence of the shoot

  16. Germination aids • Hormonal • Gibberellic acid: GA3 “Instant smoke”

  17. Collecting Garden Seeds “hybrid” seed no good Time of ripeness • usually autumn Pick before the critters • fleshy fruits • “nut-like” seeds • dry capsules • conifers Clean and dry seed as soon as possible

  18. Cleaning seeds Fruit may inhibit the germination process • Sugar content of fruit • Inhibits H2O uptake Chemical inhibition Quince

  19. Viability and storage Seeds with thin coats lose viability quickly • Nut-like seeds lose viability quickly, too • Horsechestnut, chestnut, oak, walnut • Temperature: • Best is 30-40oF • Humidity: • should be low • store in sealed containers for long term

  20. Seed Viability Test

  21. Priming seed “convinces” seed that moisture conditions o.k. 4 hours is usually sufficient to imbibe seed Discard water Not beans/corn!

  22. Seed media selection • Minimum 3” deep pot • Seeding density Annuals: Commercial mix Wild seed: 2 parts peat/coir 1 part perlite (grit) • Longer germination

  23. Seed media selection Mosses and liverworts love moisture/acidity Growing under plastic or in shade is worse

  24. Short germination time • pretreatment • Seed covering • pumice or other grit

  25. Light systems • Avoid incandescent • ‘Cool white’ fluorescent • Hang lights low • Remove covers after • germination

  26. Transplanting • Annuals/perennials when large enough to handle • minimizes growth reduction • Trees/shrubs/bulbs: less important • sow thinly, liquid feed, transplant after 2-3 yrs? • handle by leaves • lift from under root • avoid “J” root • root pruning

  27. Transplanting • Planting depth: depends on growth habit • Growing point at tip of stem • Plants which form a rosette Tomato: below soil line Petunia: at soil line

  28. Direct seeding • When short season is not an issue • or when row covers are added • cool season: carrot, beet, pea, turnip • Warm season crops • beans, melons, corn • soil temp 70oF Cover with grit

  29. Resources OSU Extension Service Publications • http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/ • Publications and Videos PNW 170 Propagating plants from seed FS 220 Collecting and storing seeds from your garden • http://extension.oregonstate.edu/answer.php#garden • click on “Gardening Hints”

  30. Most complete reference for seed

  31. Resources Practical woody plant propagation for nursery growers, B. MacDonald, Timber Press, 1986. Garden Flowers from seed, C. Lloyd and G. Rice, Timber Press, 1991. American Hort Society Plant propagation, A. Toogood, D.K. Press, 1999. The reference manual of woody plant propagation M. Dirr and C. Heuser, Timber Press, 2009