Propagation: Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) Seeds

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by Mattus, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. Mattus

    Mattus Member

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    I had recently picked up Cypress globule (cone) and it has now started opening up and releasing seeds. (I believe Cypresses are interesting plants because they are a striking conifer species of their own and they tend to make peculiar and grotesque root formations, particularly "knees" that stick up from the ground. And so I naturally have a fascination to grow one or some of my own.)

    I live northwest of Houston and so Cypress trees should do fine here. But before I ever get started, I need to know several things about Bald Cypress trees, or really, seeds. Here is list of essential questions I have and then some out of curiousity.

    When is the best time to plant these seeds?
    Is there any teatment to seeds needed before planting?
    How should I start the seedlings out?
    What type of soil do they do best in?
    What amount of water do they need?
    Is any fertilizer neccessary?
    When should I expect seedlings?
    How fast do they grow?
    When should I plant it in the ground if I start it in a container?
    And: What type of care does it need after it germinates?

    As you can see, these are a lot of questions, thus, any help is appreciated. I cannot stress to you how knowledge of what one is dealing with is so important! Thank you in advance!
    Mattus
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Store the seed cold and moist over winter - best mixed in damp sand and kept at +1 or +2°C. Then sow in spring, either indoors in a pot, or outdoors after the risk of frost is over. They are not too fussy over soil type, silty is perhaps best but it won't make a lot of difference. No fertiliser needed; if growing in a pot, plant out before it gets at all potbound (maybe mid summer) - coiled roots from being potbound can seriously affect its future wind resistance at maturity. Seedling growth is fairly fast, it could be up to 40-50cm tall at the end of the first year with good conditions.
     
  3. Mattus

    Mattus Member

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    Ok, so keep them in damp sand and keep them cool by putting them in a refrigerator? Are you sure they wont begin growing when in moisture? Seeds usually tend to do that. And keeping them like that for the winter seems like an unbearably long time for them to go through - though, I'm not the expert here. Are you sure that not planting them now in a pot and keeping it indoors would work?
    The reason I'm having these second guesses is that I don't know how hardy Bald Cypress seeds are. It seems like exposing them to cool, dark, and damp places wouldn't be so good for them.
    On the other hand, Michael F, you seem to know what you're talking about so I will trust your judgement. However, further validation would be greatly appreatiated.

    Mattus
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    They won't grow in the fridge, because it is too cold for them to start growth there. If they got a bit warmer, they would start to grow. Putting them in the fridge is in effect imitating nature - they wouldn't want to grow in the winter, as then they would get hit by a frost when they're not prepared for it, and get killed. So they have evolved the need for a period of cold before they will germinate, to avoid this.
     
  5. Mattus

    Mattus Member

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    Ah, I see. Thank you for explaining it more clearly. Now I know why. However, as I said before, I live in and around Houston, which is in south-east Texas, so it doesn't have much of a winter.
    I'll take your word for it, though, because Houston has had frosts in the past.
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yep, enough of a winter that plants can't rely on being able to grow all year round, they have to be dormant for 2 or 3 months in case there's a cold snap - even if the cold snap is just one night, as they don't know which night it will be!
     
  7. Lou midlothian Tx

    Lou midlothian Tx Member

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    You just soak them in hot water and leave them in the water overnight then place them on moist paper towel in a flat plastic container and cover it with another moist paper towel. Put the lid on the container and leave them in the fridge till mid February knowing that Houston almost never gets any freezing temperature or at least where my mom lives. Make sure the paper towel doesn't dry out. They can handle extra moisture so don't worry about that one. In mid-feb, take the container out and just leave them by your computer desk where you can check on them every day. When one shows a root, plant it shallow in a mix of 50/50 perlite/peat. Leave them inside by the window preferably on the south side. Once they grow a couple inches, put them outside. Seemed less messy and saves spaces that way. That's what I'm doing with montezuma cypress and Central Texas BCs at the moment.
     
  8. Mattus

    Mattus Member

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    Alright, thanks for the input. I'll take that into consideration. ; )
     
  9. Lou midlothian Tx

    Lou midlothian Tx Member

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    What do you have to work with like pots? Place to continue to grow them in 1g pot and pick out best looking ones? It would be nice if you had anything to root prune roots to speed up growth. I use rootmaker propagation and I think they are great stuff but the problem that you can't buy them in small numbers and nobody wants 25 propagation trays as it is the minimum to buy! I don't know why Michael thinks we don't need fertilizer but it is necessary if you want to speed up growth in the container (and ground). It is all covered in Container production book by Dr Carl Whitcomb who had done research/studies for several decades over fertilizer and root pruning method in the container.

    I've grown taxodium this past year and I WOULDN'T plant it in the ground right away! I would just grow them in the container first for a few months or so till they reach maybe a foot tall then you can plant it. I'd rather wait till fall so you'd pick out best looking ones as they tend to look different from each other. They should be at least 2 feet by then. If I follow every detail as suggested by Whitcomb, it'd be 3-4 feet tall by the fall but I'm not a wholesale grower so I can't get type of fertilizer that Whitcomb suggested that is clearly superior to what we get at big box stores. Dynamite 18-6-8 is about the best thing you can get from Lowes or Home Depot unfortunately.
     
  10. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Try looking at your local garden center or nursery and dont support the big, no service, poor selection but low price box stores ;-)

    There may be online availability of the product you are looking for on Whitcomb's suggestion, I dont have the book so I am not sure what it is.
     
  11. Lou midlothian Tx

    Lou midlothian Tx Member

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    You're kidding me right? It's like 150-200 dollars for 50lbs bag for ordering online so your best hope is getting one through local commercial grower or nursery.

    there's nothing at local garden center either.
     
  12. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Kidding? no. not this time.

    Try contacting a local grower, maybe they will part with a ziploc bag of material. I ask again what product is suggested, you never know who might have some that they would be willing to part with.

    What about a local garden club, sometimes they order a bag of commercial product and divy it up amongst their members from pre-orders...
     
  13. Lou midlothian Tx

    Lou midlothian Tx Member

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    The local grower that I occasionally talk to about growing shantung maples do not use that stuff but he did say that he would get me a bag. The problem is finding the exact formula that I want in Osmocote that a local place is selling. I talked to Dr. Whitcomb what else he recommended but I couldn't find that formula either. I can get Micromax and 18-6-12 (9-12 month) for propagation but not 17-7-12 or 19-6-12 for 1g or larger.
     
  14. mapleman77

    mapleman77 Active Member

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    Soaking the fresh seed for 15 minutes in Ethanol and then washing off/soaking in water greatly increases germination rates.
     

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