Thread: Liquidambar seed 'release'

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  1. #1
    Oak
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Central Oklahoma - Zone 7 for now
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    548

    Liquidambar seed 'release'

    Curious if anyone knows this specifically - I am wanting some seed from a nearby 'sweetgum' tree and have been waiting for the 'balls' to mature. Seems to be taking MUCH longer than usual this year - but some semi-green ones are now falling from semi-gusty winds. The little 'seed' holes on the balls are fully and tightly closed still, and I know that the seeds are released at some point.

    What I am wondering is if these just-browning balls are going to have 'viable' seeds, and if I can just let 'em sit in a cup or such and wait for them to 'mature'/open-up the holes? I *always* miss the release of this species' seeds, and would really like to collect some for my 'collection'. I am planning on doing plenty of nice-&-thick cuttings from same tree later on, so no worries - just not sure *when*/what-point these are released from their 'cones'... anyone know?

    Thanks for the thoughts,
    Alex

  2. #2

    RE: Liquidambar seed 'release'

    I can't comment on viability of the seeds or how long they will take to release, but my personal experience is that they will do so. Last year, I picked up a "gumball" from the ground in front of my office to have a closer look. I set it on my desk. About two weeks later, I noticed seeds all over the place from it! I picked it up and was able to shake out a bunch into my palm.

    While the trees are lovely, their litter problem is such a hassle that I wasn't inclined to try planting any of the seeds!

  3. #3

    RE: Liquidambar seed 'release'

    The lustrous green color of the fruiting heads fades to yellow as maturity is reached normally in September to November. The beaklike capsules open at this time, and the small winged seeds, one or two per capsule, are then readily disseminated by wind. However, the seed balls can be safely collected for seed extraction several weeks before ball discoloration from green to yellow occurs without harming the seed. Fruits release their seeds after only moderate drying and the seeds exhibit a shallow dormancy that can be overcome with 2 to 4 weeks of stratification at 37F.

    Fair seed crops occur every year and bumper crops about every 3 years. The staminate and pistillate flowers are quite sensitive to cold and are often damaged by frost. Under the best conditions, seed balls may average as many as 56 sound seeds per ball, or as few as 5 to 8 under less favorable conditions.
    Low percentages of sound seed appear to be correlated with prolonged summer drought and excessive soil moisture stress. Seed soundness may reach 80 to 90 percent in a good seed year but may drop to 10 to 20 percent in a bad seed year.

  4. #4
    Oak
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Central Oklahoma - Zone 7 for now
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    548

    RE: Liquidambar seed 'release'

    Thanks, guys. Appreciate it Got a bunch of 'balls' sitting in a dish now and will simply wait 'em out.

    Treeman: I know where you copied the second paragraph from (bookmarked it myself), but where did you find that first paragraph's info from? Curious as I did not come across that source with various 'googles' (thanks!)...

    Pretty soon, I am going to be rather overwhelmed with seedlings as I am even having my 'coast' redwood seed emerging currently, and supposedly *those* do not germinate much at all (yeah!!!). Dang *dawn* redwoods, however, are just sitting there laughing at me quietly, though....may have to torture/smush a few in sight of others to 'motivate' them, LOL...its sooo easy to 'personify' these things with how they act/perform at times

    Alex

  5. #5

    RE: Liquidambar seed 'release'

    Yep, almost all in first and second paragraph was from the USDA silvics:
    http://www.na.fs.fed.us/pubs/silvics...tyraciflua.htm
    Only the last sentence in the first paragraph was from here:
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/u68762m7k073j841/

  6. #6
    Oak
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Central Oklahoma - Zone 7 for now
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    548

    RE: Liquidambar seed 'release'

    I obviously was just skimming, LOL. Guess I had too many references opened at once and too many kids talking to me at same time

    Fwiw, the large baggie holding a number of semi-mature 'balls' is lined semi-deeply with 'released' seed now. Definitely more than enough to get started with anyways...

    Thx again,
    Alex

  7. #7
    Oak
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Knoxville,Tn
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    356

    RE: Liquidambar seed 'release'

    You have Redwood seeds? I guess you're going to bonsi them. Eh? I have some Redwoods here in Knoxville. They're clones from a tree that survived a low of -14 in Chapel Hill, NC one night. Good luck with yours!

    treeherder

  8. #8
    Oak
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Central Oklahoma - Zone 7 for now
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    RE: Liquidambar seed 'release'

    Thx, 'herder

    I have a lot of seedlings of Dawn (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) and Coast (Sequoia Sempervirens) Redwoods that are at the 'cotyledon stage' currently. The pics are about a week old or so - growth has slowed as they are 'hardening' a bit finally (turning brown in 'trunk'). I have around 30 pots (of various makes/models, LOL) going strongly of these two, and around 100 seedlings of thuja plicata as well.

    Definitely for bonsai - where in the heck could I put this many trees if allowed to go full-size, hahaha?? Pretty soon, I need to (try and) root-trim them to get a radial nebari, and no idea on the praticality of it. I know it can be done with Japanese Black Pines reliably, just no references found on it for 'sequoia' things. Hope it works. Most of the pots have little 'tiles' just under soil to get roots to spread out radially, a common 'trick' by us bonsaiists Experimenting in various ways is an understatement, LOL.

    That 'greenhouse' in pic is where I have most of stuff germinating now, and is *full* of thuja plicata from Seattle area, sent to me by a friend from a bonsai 'forum', and the two redwood seed source(s) are from near coast of Oregon (a University teacher I am acquainted with). I had never seen the cones of the trees - kinda neat to break the cones apart (after overnight soaking) and get the scent all over my fingers - very pleasant and reminiscent to me

    It is *very* interesting that most of the 'links' I came across 'researching' the germination of the two redwoods said that dawn germ's easily and reliably, while the coasts are best left untried by seed as germ is *very* poor (hence my soaking as per recommended). I am finding that the coasts are emerging at ~100% (!!) while the dawns are hitting *maybe* 5-10% at most currently. Planted a LOT of them, so I have all I can handle, of course, but an interesting tidbit anyways

    I am very likely to have more than I care to keep (hint-hint there, 'herder) Need any sequoia and/or thuja plicata come Spring?? Any particular 'arrangement' of planting desired, LOL?

    Alex
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