Seed Viability in Acers

Discussion in 'Maples' started by timnichols, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. timnichols

    timnichols Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Does anyone know of a study done on the timing needed for seed viability in a different acers. I know that many seeds become viable well before they dry on the tree. Sometimes the seed embryo may appear to be developed early in the spring on Japanese maples, but when do these seeds actually become viable?
     
  2. alex66

    alex66 Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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  3. timnichols

    timnichols Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thanks alex66,

    That is a very interesting link on Japanese maples seed. I've been collecting Japanese maple seed for at least 10 years now on a high production scale and have had a great success in germination with waiting until the seed was dried on trees. Last year I collected some seed that had not dried and had similar results. Does anyone know how soon you can collect the seed?
     
  4. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    like you I germinate thousands of acer seeds and I start picking and planting in flats on October 1st each year
    and cold stratify 75-110 days in the fridge with good germination rate. I've picked pseudoplantanus 'Leopoldii'
    in late August that germinated that same Fall which I do not recommend because keeping them leafed thru
    the winter inside is more difficult. Yours is a good question but I've not picked & planted palmata seeds before 10/01
    when they are still green on the tree.
     
  5. timnichols

    timnichols Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thanks Katsura,

    I collected seeds for the first time around the beginning of October last year. Normally I wait until they are dried out more. I am interested in how early you can collect seed that might be viable and how early can you still obtain these high rates of viability. If anyone figures this out please let me know! I will definitely be experimenting this year.

    Thanks,

    Tim
     
  6. cafernan

    cafernan Active Member

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    Dou you know if there is any difference among cultivares, regarding the moment to collect seeds?.
    Some good friends from this Forum have sent me some seeds and, among all the cultivars, Osakazuky´s are reluctant to germinate while others, Sankgo Kaku, Inazuma, Suminagashi are now, 0.50 cm plants.

    Regards, Carlos
     
  7. timnichols

    timnichols Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Cafernan,

    That is an interesting thought and I am sure there would be differences in many of the different cultivars. I do not know any differences as of yet, but hopefully we'll find out soon.

    There are, however, a lot of different factors involved with this. Some maples will produce non-viable seed which has never actually been pollinated. Since Japanese maples show a low tendency for parthenocarpy, I would doubt it would have much to do with the seed not being fertile.

    I have heard that sometimes it takes two stratification processes for some maple seeds to germinate. This may be the case.

    Also, the Osakazuki seeds might not have been stratified long enough. Maybe after another winter, they might pop up.

    It may even be the case that the Osakazuki seeds dried out too much and lost some viability. I have seen this happen a few times, but it generally happens when the maple seeds have been 'cooked' out in the sun to dry out.

    Sometimes in a seed bed, you'll realize that some seeds that were fertile when you do the float test don't germinate and you'll wonder what is going on. This can be caused by fungus and bacteria stopping the seed from germination.

    I know I just threw a thousand different scenarios your way, but I hope this helped.

    Tim
     
  8. cafernan

    cafernan Active Member

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    Tim,

    Thanks for your reply. Some Osakazuky´s seed have been 3 years in fridge. The last I received, were 150 days or + in fridge and now I taked them out hoping they sprout as other cultivars like Fireglow did. But nothing happened yet.
    Sanity is ok.
    Rergards, Carlos
     
  9. timnichols

    timnichols Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Carlos,

    Sorry to hear about your misfortune with the Osakazuki seed. There is a small chance that your seed may never have been viable and that it could be parthenocarpic. According to PC De Jong, it is not common in Japanese maples, but certain individuals in certain years can sometimes produce parthenocarpic seeds if male and female flowers on maples in the area are not present at the same time and if the tree produces only female flowers. It isn't common place in Japanese maples but has been recorded.

    I am no scientist, but if the other reasons are ruled out, I would suggest this as a possible answer. Any other ideas from anyone?

    Tim
     
  10. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I agree, it sounds like the seeds were simply not pollinated.

    Carlos,
    It sounds like you had several batches of 'Osakazuki' over 2 or 3 years, did they all come from the same source? Might just be an issue with that one mother tree.
    Also, is your climate suitable for outdoors stratification, might be worth exploring that as another option?

    Tim,
    Can't answer your original question. I pick in September in my climate, when the samaras have just started to dry a little, and that gives good results.
     
  11. cafernan

    cafernan Active Member

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    Yes and No. Osakazuky seeds cames from 2 sources, both european people. One of them sprouted but did not develop. The other have never sprouted.

    As Tim have quoted, parthenocarpic must be the answer. So, if somebody wants to support a third-world acer palmatum grower, be welcome!!
     
  12. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Lots of flowers here this past year and loads of busy little bees pollinating. The result is a mass of samaras which I am hoping will sprout nicely
    If the seed are too dry a two day soak in luke warm water before mixing with a little peat or compost and then into the bottom of the fridge will often produce better results. They will sprout for you in the fridge and can then easily be planted out into either seed trays or little pots
     
  13. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Question on after care. I have good success sprouting the seeds but lose a lot of seedlings to damping off. Any tips?
     
  14. cafernan

    cafernan Active Member

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    I could manage this problem by adding perlite or medium size grain sand on surface, so the stem remains dry.
    Hope this help
    Carlos
     
  15. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I've had this in the past. This year, because I stratified my seed outside all winter, I put a layer of sharp sand (ie large grains of sand) on the top of the potting mixture to discourage moss growth. It didn't cross my mind that this would help to prevent damping off (as Carlos suggests), but it looks like it has worked - I don't think I've lost a single seedling so far, out of about 60 or so.

    They are still growing in the original half-filled 8 inch pots, and I am soon going to have to pot them up individually, so there is still the potential to lose some after they have been transplanted. I believe that very good drainage is the key at this stage and this year I am planning an ultra draining potting mix, at least 50% of which will be a mixture of perlite and coarse grit.
     

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