Germinating Chokecherry Seeds

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by Bob Dunn, Aug 14, 2006.

  1. Bob Dunn

    Bob Dunn Member

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    I have a chokecherry tree on my farm that produces the plumpest, juiciest chokecherries in the area. I would like to propogate it, and I have tried germinating the seeds but have had no success.
    Can anyone suggest how to get these seeds to sprout?
    There are a few seedlings around this tree that I could transplant, but I would really like to grow new trees from seed.

    Thanks,

    Bob Dunn
     
  2. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    When you find a plant with a unique trait (in this case, fruit), asexual propagation (cuttings, etc.) is the prefered route because you'll be getting an identical plant or copy of the parent.

    With the seed route, you'll get any number of variations of the parents, some as good or better but most of them will be worse. It all depends on pollen source and other genetic factors that I won't pretend to know about. I don't think you want to grow 50 plants to fruiting size and discover only 4 or 5 have the trait you're looking for.

    You can propagte Prunus virginiana by cuttings, root cuttings, & suckers. Here is a quote from the 'Plants for a Future' database "Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame[11, 200]. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame[200]. Layering in spring. Division of suckers during the dormant season. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions." For the cuttings, rooting hormone will be beneficial.

    If you're still set on seed, clean the pits (passing them through a bird seems to work well), then cold stratify them in moist vermiculite in the fridge for at least 3-4 months. Put them in a pot next spring & they should germinate.

    Simon
     
  3. Bob Dunn

    Bob Dunn Member

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    Simon,

    Thanks for your reply. I'll take some cuttings this week.

    The quote from Plants for a Future, says "cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel." Can you tell me what a "heel" is, and perhaps give me a bit more information on where to cut a branch from this tree.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Bob
     
  4. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    Hi Bob,

    To get a heel cutting, here is a quote from Reader's Digest Plant Propagation "pull a healthy sideshoot of the current season's growth so that it comes away with a sliver, or "heel", of bark from the parent shoot. The sideshoot should be 4" long. Trim the "tail" of the heel with a clean, sharp knife."

    Root them in soil mix with hormone & cover with a plastic tent to keep the air humid...be careful though, if the foliage stays wet, the cuttings will rot...air it out regularly. Keep them in a cool but frost free environment during the winter & remove any leaves that fall. Water if drying out. If they root, they should be ready to be either potted up separately of planted out next fall. You should know next spring if you're successful (if they start to grow, or not). If it fails, late spring softwood cuttings are usually easier to root.

    Good luck
    Simon
     
  5. Bob Dunn

    Bob Dunn Member

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    Simon,

    This is great advice! I'll try a few this fall, and if they don't take, I'll do some in the spring.

    Thanks again,

    Bob
     
  6. Thean

    Thean Active Member 10 Years of Activity

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    Howdy Bob,
    Take the advice from Simon and prpagate asexually. Chokecherry is self sterile and the seedlings you will be getting will not even come close to the mother plant. Chokecherry produces abundant rhizomes that are easily to dig and propagate. It also roots readily from semi-softwood cuttings taken around the end of June in your area.
    Peace
    Thean
     
  7. Bob Dunn

    Bob Dunn Member

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    Thean,

    Thank you also.

    As I mentioned in my initial post, there are quite a few small plants sprouting up around the parent (two or three feet outside the drip line). Are these likely to be from rhizomes? Is it possible to tell if they came from seed off of the parent or if they are actually from a rhizome?

    In any case, I will make some cuttings, and try to root them.

    Bob
     
  8. tkomisak

    tkomisak Member

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    Do you think that you can germinate Bing cherry seeds the same way as chokecherry pits?
     

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