Pine Tree Seedlings - Knowledgebase Question

Pelham, NH
Avatar for Pelplas
Question by Pelplas
January 15, 1998
I am starting to grow white pine, red pine, Norway spruce, and white spruce trees by seed. At first I started them in my window, but found it was too cold. I have just started growing them under lights called Vita lite. Is this sufficient? How long under the lights? How about plant food, how often should I water?

Answer from NGA
January 15, 1998
I must admit your perserverance is great. The cold in a window shouldn't bother them when you look outside and see what they're enduring in nature. In fact, one resource I consulted recommended starting the seeds in a cool greenhouse or cold frame; a good temperature is 50-60F. It might be good to cover the pots with a pane of glass or plastic to help keep them consistantly moist until the seeds germinate.

Have they begun to sprout? Trees--especially evergreens-- often have strange requirements in order to germinate. Some even require being burned. They may need to be soaked or scored. However, if they've begun to sprout you're way ahead of the game!

The Vita Lite should be sufficient for germinating and growing seedlings. They'll need more light when they get larger. I would not use plant food at this point. Wait until they are they've sprouted and a beginning to look like little trees. Water to keep the soil evenly moist, but not saturated or soggy. You'll need less water in a cool spot, more in a warmer spot.

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