Trees and Shrubs forum: Ever grow Fir trees from seed?

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Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Jan 24, 2018 11:35 AM CST
Last December (2016) I bought 50 seeds each of Fraser, Balsam and Douglas Firs from a company called Tree Seeds (http://www.treeseeds.com). I thought it might be fun to start them from seed and plant them around our property. I even toyed with the idea of starting my own little Christmas tree farm.
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And, I bought a tree seedling grow container.
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A few weeks later, I decided to stratify the seeds. If you are not familiar with this, stratification is when you mimic the natural winter cycle for seeds. Without this, the seeds will not germinate. You fill a zip-lock bag half way with seed starting mix, add 10-20 seeds (depending on the size of the seed), shake the bag a few times to make sure the seeds are covered with soil, add water to keep moist, place the bag in the bottom drawer of your fridge, and check on it once a week to see if you need to add more water to keep the soil moist. After this, you plant them. The stratification period for the Balsam and Fraser seeds is about 30-45 days. The Douglas seeds don't need to be stratified; I don't know why.

Hmmmm...now where did I put those seeds? I couldn't find them. I searched hi and low, all over the house. I just couldn't find them. I figured they must have gotten mixed up with something and thrown away. Angry I figured I would have to order more...which I never got around to. Now, fast forward to this past December (2017). Christmas time, decorating the house! We opened a box of decorations, and in the bottom were my seeds! Hurray! A year in the attic did not count as stratification! Confused

I finally got them going. I soaked them for 48 hours and now they are stratifying in seed mix in the fridge for the next two months.

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This is something new for me. Anyone ever try it? I would love to hear about it.

I'll give an update once I have them out of the fridge and planted.
MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
[Last edited by MoonShadows - Jan 24, 2018 11:38 AM (+)]
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Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Feb 3, 2018 7:12 AM CST
LOL...no one ever tried this?
MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Feb 3, 2018 12:20 PM CST
Seems not. We will learn from you.
Porkpal
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Feb 3, 2018 12:26 PM CST
Moon, sounds like a fun project. Keep us posted. We planted 250 fir seedlings one year for an Xmas tree farm but neglected to keep them pruned. At about the 5 year mark, we had lovely 'wild' trees, nicely shaped and the right size, then yikes, they sprouted up exponentially. We now have a forest of 30-some foot tall evergreens which works as a nice screen between us and the neighbors, with native ferns populating the undergrowth. Lesson learned...
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
N. Ohio (Zone 5b)
Bookworm The WITWIT Badge Moon Gardener Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Native Plants and Wildflowers Roses
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Tisha
Feb 3, 2018 2:11 PM CST
Evergreens smell so good all year long.
Not enough of them in my micro climate.
Will be planting more as soon as I decide which ones.
Please do keep us posted on the little guys progress.

Tisha
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Feb 3, 2018 2:49 PM CST
Bonehead said:Moon, sounds like a fun project. Keep us posted. We planted 250 fir seedlings one year for an Xmas tree farm but neglected to keep them pruned. At about the 5 year mark, we had lovely 'wild' trees, nicely shaped and the right size, then yikes, they sprouted up exponentially. We now have a forest of 30-some foot tall evergreens which works as a nice screen between us and the neighbors, with native ferns populating the undergrowth. Lesson learned...


LOL, @Bonehead...I've seen a few of those in my area. Properties with trees planted in rows that are now so tall they could be used at Rockefeller Center. Each year we go to a local place to cut down our Christmas tree. One year we went to a property that was being sold for a development. The price of any tree was only $15. The only problem was the trees were at least 40 feet tall. We picked one out, cut it down, and took the top 6 feet.

MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Feb 3, 2018 2:49 PM CST
porkpal said:Seems not. We will learn from you.



OK, @porkpal, I'm game!
MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Feb 3, 2018 2:51 PM CST
Tisha said:Evergreens smell so good all year long.
Not enough of them in my micro climate.
Will be planting more as soon as I decide which ones.
Please do keep us posted on the little guys progress.

Tisha


I will @Tisha. I take pictures of all my projects as they unfold. Just recently I have started converting the photos from some of my projects to YouTube Videos and have my own YouTube channel.

Jim

MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
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Pistil
Feb 5, 2018 12:45 PM CST
This is great, we will all watch your progress.

A few years ago I got some Sourwood seeds from treeseeds.com. Some I planted outside in containers in the fall (natural stratification like your refrigerator technique) and some I just planted in the spring. I got germination from both, better on the ones I planted in the spring. I never tried any conifers so will watch your trials with interest.

We have Douglas Firs here as they are native, they can get 300 feet tall eventually! I grew up in Ohio, but my mom was from here and she missed the trees, so some years we got live Douglas Fir Christmas trees, then planted them in our yard. They are quite large now. I suspect at some point the new owners will have to take them out, they are not really suited to a suburban yard.
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Mar 19, 2018 3:20 PM CST
After stratifying them for 2 months in my frig, I got 28+ each of the Fraser, Balsam and Douglas Fir seeds planted in the greenhouse today.

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MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Mar 19, 2018 5:54 PM CST
I am excited to follow their progress.
Porkpal
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Mar 20, 2018 12:16 AM CST
Before I started this, I thought this would be like most seeds; just pop them in some mix and wait for them to come up. But, the more I read, the more I find it is not that easy. Very few seeds in the wild survive and germinate. The conditions have to be just right. Provided everything went all right with the stratification process, it will take from 1-3 months before I even see anything sprouting, and that's if I can keep the conditions right. Those that do emerge will spend their first year in those little cones. They need to be about 8-12" before they are ready to be transplanted outside. I am hoping I get at least a few of each type to grow.
MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Apr 14, 2018 2:11 PM CST
Wahoo! Hurray! My first green Douglas Fir has sprouted!
MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
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plantmanager
Apr 14, 2018 2:17 PM CST
Hurray! Jim! I hope many more of them will germinate soon.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Apr 15, 2018 4:56 AM CST
Thanks! I'm excited about this project. While I grow flowers and vegetables every year from seed, I have never tried something like this. I'm already picturing where I'll plant them, but I better not get ahead of myself!
MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 15, 2018 7:05 AM CST
Of course we expect pictures...
Porkpal
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Apr 15, 2018 7:40 AM CST
Of course, Porkpal....once it (and hopefully some more) get big enough to take a picture. Right now, it is only about 1/8", if even that big.

It will take 2 years for it to reach 6-10 inches. It will stay in the cone the first year and will be transplanted outside to a protected area for it's second year. The third year, it will be moved to it's permanent location. Most seedlings bought by Christmas tree farms for planting are already 2-3 years old if not older.

2 year old
Thumb of 2018-04-15/MoonShadows/b2d510

MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Apr 24, 2018 3:27 AM CST
So far I have 18 Green Douglas Firs sprouting, but no Balsam or Fraser Firs. I hope I stratified the seeds long enough. There is still plenty of time though since I read it can take up to 3 months for balsam and fraser seeds to germinate.
MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 24, 2018 6:17 AM CST
Sounds good so far!
Porkpal
Name: Jim
Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 6b)
Greenhouse Region: Pennsylvania
Image
MoonShadows
Apr 29, 2018 4:34 AM CST
Saw my first Fraser Fir and first Balsam Fir starting to break ground yesterday. Have 24 green Douglas Firs now.
MoonShadows Farm - Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains

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