Growing Spruce Tree from Seeds

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by AppleJacks, Jan 27, 2022.

  1. AppleJacks

    AppleJacks New Member

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    We have to remove the 80+ year-old Norway Spruce tree due to renovations and I'm trying to get the seeds to at least have the offspring of the original tree on the farm.

    I planted the seeds into seeding pods (the Jiffy style with the plastic dome). I have them on top of heating pads in the house. My question is, there is a lot of condensation on the lids, I don't want them to get too wet and rot, should I leave the lids off, keep their bases on the heating pads, and just monitor the moisture of the pods? Any advice is appreciated.
     
  2. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Although I have never personally tried to germinate Norway Spruce trees (Picea abies), I suspect your efforts to keep them warm may be counterproductive. What I have noticed is that many conifer seeds germinate very well where they fall on the ground near the parent trees. Mimicking what happens to them in nature should be your guide.
    Here is some advice I found on Picea abies (Norway Spruce) – Mount Royal Seeds


    Germination Instructions

    Stratification: Seeds have a shallow dormancy and are easy to germinate. However, for optimal germination,
    provide about 30 to 45 days cold, moist stratification at 3° C (37° F) to 5° C (41° F).

    1. Soak seeds in water for 24 hours.
    2. Place seeds in sandwich bag(s) with a bit of damp sand or vermiculite to keep moist.
    3. Place the bag(s) with seeds in refrigerator for about 30 to 45 days.
    4. After the required time take the seeds out of the refrigerator and sow the seeds in pots 1/8 inch deep and cover lightly. Water gently so as not to wash away the seeds. Keep soil moist but not wet.
    Since you have already planted the seeds in pots (hopefully just under the surface of the planting mix), I would skip step #1 and #2 and put them, still in their pots, on a tray inside a plastic bag in the fridge for 30 to 45 days. After that, take them out of the plastic bag and put them in a bright spot and as #4 says, keep the soil moist but not wet. Good luck!
     
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  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Agree with the details Margot posted.
     
  4. AppleJacks

    AppleJacks New Member

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    Hi and thank you for the replies. I am at day 30 now of the seed pods being in the bag in the fridge and planning the next step. I'll bring them into the house, just want to know should I put a light on them for part of the day while keeping the soil moist. We're in the midst of renovations and I don't have a south window to put them in right now.
     
  5. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    I would put the pots outside; somewhere in bright light and protected from pelting rain or squirrels that might dig in the pots. (A piece of wire mesh should do the trick.) If you want to hedge your bets, you could keep a few pots indoors but providing enough light sounds like it could be a challenge.

    Also, I'm having trouble picturing the size of your seeding pots. If they are quite small like the ones I'm familiar with, you'll want to put them in larger pots as soon as the seeds begin to germinate or even before. I suggest gallon-size pots that would allow the roots to grow without disturbance until the plants are large enough to go in the ground.
     
  6. AppleJacks

    AppleJacks New Member

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    Thank you. They are just in the Jiffy Seed Pods to start. I'm in southern Ontario where we still have quite cold nights and this week is supposed to go down to -11, does that change anything or put them outside anyway and some inside?
     
  7. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    I hate to comment on things I haven't done personally or cannot find good information about online. It seems logical that spruce tree seeds would overwinter naturally in sub-zero conditions. If they were mine, I'd probably leave them in the fridge for another couple of weeks and then put them outside in larger pots but not disturbing the Jiffy pots.

    If your tree is still standing you might also want to try to root cuttings although this isn't the best time of year.
    Spruce Tree Propagation from Cuttings
    Take cuttings in late summer or early fall. Choose healthy shoots and clip off each about as long as your palm. Recut the base of the cutting at an angle and strip all needles from the lower two-thirds of each one. Plant the cuttings deep into sandy loam. You can dip each cut end in rooting hormone before planting if desired, although it’s not required. Keep the soil moist and watch for roots to form.

    Read more at Gardening Know How: Growing New Spruce Trees – Learn How To Propagate A Spruce Tree https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/spruce/propagating-spruce-trees.htm
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2022

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