ELM TREE SEEDS - Knowledgebase Question

otis, Co
Question by hobbyfarmcre
April 29, 2010
We have lots of seeds on our elm trees. I have a greenhouse to start them but don't know when to pick them from the trees? and when to start them. Do they need to dry first?Would it hurt to pick then when they are green? Fred

Answer from NGA
April 29, 2010


The seeds should be allowed to ripen on the tree. If you collected them when they were green, they probably aren't viable. Wait and collect new seeds this year - make sure they are brown before you collect them. Place the elm seeds in a plastic bag filled with damp but not wet peat moss. Close the bag and place it in the back of your refrigerator so it can chill at about 39 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If you keep it at this temperature for several months, it will break the dormancy of the seed and allow it to germinate.

Fill a plant pot with regular potting soil and dampen it with water. Remove the elm seeds from the bag and plant them about a quarter of an inch deep in the potting soil. Tamp the soil gently on top of them and place the pot in a sunny spot with mild temperatures around 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If the seeds have already started sprouting, move them carefully so you do not break off the sprout.

Keep the soil damp with frequent waterings until the elm seed sends up its first leaves and then water only when the soil feels dry to the touch. Keep the seedling inside until the weather warms to above freezing. Transplant your new elm trees to a sunny spot.

Good luck with your project!

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