Willow Hawthorm Sprouts!

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I’ve had some success raising some Willow Hawthorn sprouts from seed. Willow Hawthorn is a rare shrub/tree from the Rocky Mountains. I purchased a number seeds online and have been preparing them for germination for the past eight months. I began the process with a warm stratification for four months. Warm stratification is storing the seeds in a moist warm place with or without light which simulates time the seed would have spent in nature lying on or shallowly buried in the ground for a summer.

I carried out the warm stratification by choosing forty seeds, and placing them on a wet paper towel, which was then sealed in a plastic freezer bag. To prevent the growth of mold in the bag, a tablespoon of bleach was mixed into a 8fl oz glass of water that was used to wet the towel.

The seeds were left alone in their bag for four months, with the only disturbance from me being occassional checking for mold growth with replacements of the bag and towel as required. After that the seeds were cold stratified for another four months.

The cold stratification approximates the conditions a buried seed would experience over the winter. I carried this out quite easily by packing the seeds on the same type of wet towel in a bag that was used for the warm stratification, except that the bag would be stored in the refridgerator.

After four months of cold stratification, 36 of the seeds were planted about a half inch deep in soil in a 36 cell starter tray. After a week, sprouts started to show. So far I’ve had 10/36 of the seeds sprout. Hopefully I can keep these alive through the coming winter. Last year I had tremendous success growing douglas fir trees from seeds to 8-10inch plants, but none of them survived the winter.

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