Kittygreenthumb86
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Planting Cherry Seeds - How is it Done?

My friend just gave me a bunch of cherry seeds...I think they are from a bing cherry. I would like to plant them, do I need to scarify the seed coating?....do they need to be fermented? I really have no clue, but I'd hate to see these beauties go to waste. What kind of soil is best??? and do they like full sun or partial?????

I'm lost on this one.

Kitty :shock: :(

opabinia51
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I would take half the seeds and lightly sand them with some sandpaper and leave the other seeds be. Then, soak all the seeds over night, and plant in little pots with potting soil and manure.

Water the pots but don't overwater.
Feed the soil, not the plants.

TheLorax
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Hi Kittygreenthumb86,

Couple things, 'Bing' is a cultivar. It will not come true from seed. They revert to type when propagated from seed which will be Prunus avium. I forget the history on the Bing Cherry but it was probably a sport that occurred that somebody noticed as having outstanding qualities that would be desirable so they began propagating it.

Propagation for this particular cherry is always by grafting because people want the 'Bing' cherry taste, crispness, and size of fruits. Bing cherries are generally grafted onto Bitter Almond rootstock but I suppose they could be grafted onto other Prunus spp. rootstock.

Some people intentionally grow cultivars such as 'Bing' from seed however the resulting plants are used as rootstock for other named cultivars. I know, this sort of tosses a wet towel on your flame. Really sorry about that but the Bing is always grafted.

I would encourage you to still try germinating the seeds you have. I'll share with you how I start other cherries from seed and you will be able to get some to germinate but just remember that when they mature and begin fruiting years down the road, your fruit will not taste or even look the same as the 'Bing' we all know and love. Take your seeds and clean off all the pulp. The pulp inhibits germination so it needs to be removed. I do jump start my cherry seeds by soaking them in water for 2 days before cold stratifying them. One thing, dump the water and replace with fresh at least twice a day and don't nick the seeds because you don't want to provide an opportunity for a pathogen to attack the seed during the 3-4 months it will be hanging out in a ziplock baggie in your frig. Cherries require around a 90 day cold moist stratification in order to germinate but preferably 120 days or this particular cherry. In other words, the embryo won't be likely to break dormancy unless you recreate what Mother Nature does for the seed by providing a period of cold damp conditions followed by a period of damp warm conditions. I provide this by rolling the seeds into a damp (not moist) paper towel which is then placed in a ziplock baggie and tossed in the frig for the next 3-4 months where the temps are always around 38F. Ideally, you'd want 40F but your refrigerator is accessible and who wants to set up another refrigeration unit just for a few seeds?

Throughout the months that your seed will be in your frig, you need to check on it to make sure the paper towel remains damp. That's about it. The cold stratification process is really as easy as the above.

Assuming 3-4 months have gone by, it's now time to take your seed out of the baggie! Yay, this is the phase I always like to get to. You're dealing with a tree here that is going to send out a tap root so you'll want to find a pot that is decent sized to accommodate the tap root. I have used flats that are similar to this only much deeper, probably about 8" deep-
https://www.kidsgardeningstore.com/14-1100.html
Lately I've been using 2-liter pop bottles. I take a utility knife and cut off the top of the pop bottle. About an inch and a half above the label is fine... I'm looking at one right not to be able to tell you where I cut off the top. From there flip the pop bottle over and stick the red hot tines of a meat fork into the bottom to create drainage. I've used a drill before but the tines of a fork are much faster. There ya go, you have perfect pots for starting your seed and no additional cost. I "steal" the 8-bottle trays the wholesalers cart the pop bottles into stores with... just kidding, they give them to me when I ask. These are great to keep same varieties of seed being germinated together as well as great to be able to set down into a tray of water so that the potting medium will remain damp at all times. I can e-mail you a photo if you'd like. I have several flats that have germinated in modified 2-liter pop bottles out there right now.

You can fill up your 2-liter pots with just about anything. I use Pro-Mix. It's easiest for me but seriously, you can use just about anything. You would want your mix to be well draining so keep that in mind. Now place your seed on the top of your mix and then cover it with about a quarter inch of your medium. Place your pots in any container where you can add about an inch of water to the bottom. The water will wick up and keep the medium moist. Now take your seeds outside and place them in a nice sunny location. If you get a heavy rain, drain back down to only about an inch or so. You don't want to drown them.

Now it's time to play the waiting game. Your seed won't germinate for a very long time. Some seed may begin to germinate at about the 4 month mark while others may not even germinate until the following year. For any seed that doesn't germinate, just stash your seed trays in an unheated garage for the winter and put them back out when spring arrives. Keep them damp, not moist over the winter. You're dealing with Prunus avium here and it can take up to 18 months for seed to begin sprouting. Many people assume they failed because they don't realize exactly how long some species take to germinate so they toss their trays prematurely.

For what it's worth, I've propagated cultivars before knowing full well they wouldn't come true to type. It's a great way to learn about the process. I will admit to having a refrigerator dedicated to cold stratification as well as a refrigerator dedicated to providing "touchy" species with a dormancy but this really isn't necessary and only happened because my husband got fed up over having more plant parts in our frig than food. Your frig will work just fine for the seed you have.

One of these days I'm going to get into grafting fruits just for the experience. So far, I plant almost exclusively natives around here so propagation by seed or cuttings is the way to go for me. I buy my fruits for my little hobby orchard already grafted onto appropriate rootstock from people who know what they are doing.

Good luck to you! It will be fun, you'll see.

TheLorax
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Poked around online to find a few links for you regarding 'Bing' that might be of interest down the road if you are interested in buying one-
Bing is a sweet cherry, more info here on pollination for fruit set-
https://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/html/fs/fs57/
https://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/02-037.htm

Kittygreenthumb86
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Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana

starting my cherries today

Thanks so much Lorax for such a detail description of how to grow them! I found it very helpful, in fact I saved it to my computer so I can come back to it in the future. To tell you the truth I was going more for the cherry blossoms rather than the fruit, so it is ok if it doesn't taste the same. I am sure this will be a delightful experiance for me!

Kitty

TheLorax
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Hey Kitty, Thanks so much for noticing I tried my best to include all details. When I was just starting to propagate and was asking for help, I'd get replies equivalent to- "cold stratify for 90-120 days then increase soil temps to 70F and onset of germination will occur in 4 months to 18 months. Very frustrating to get replies like that. You feel like reaching out and choking somebody and I was too embarrassed to ask for more help. So I bought books and read them and experimented with anything I could get my hands on. Would have preferred to avoid some of the many mistakes I made but oh well, mistakes happen.

Very kind of you to let me know that my personal "how to" experiences were worthy of being saved to your computer.

The cherry blossoms on both the Prunus avium and the Prunus 'Bing' should be similar so good that you were going for a look rather than taste. I'm really glad you're going to try germinating the seed. There's something to be said for being able to walk around your yard while pointing to trees and shrubs and perennials that one has grown from seed.

Kittygreenthumb86
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I finally planted them today

I am so excited! I put them in old water jugs, because we had a ton of those lying about....I followed the instructions very closely...so I am eager to see how they turn out....I will keep you posted on any changes!

Thanks for all your help!

Cat :D

Mercurygirl
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Good thread. I'm new here and it looks like a good forum. I don't mean to sidetrack the thread, but would like to ask Lorax another question.

I know what you mean about the cultivars, but what other kinds of cherries do you propagate? I'm trying the stratifying with a seed from a very old sour cherry tree. Might this variety work out well?

Question for anyone, what is the best tasting sweet cherry? Any wonderful heirlooms?

Thanks!

creepycrawley
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Hi, um Mrs. Lorax? First off, I'd like to say that's one HELLUVA post you wrote back there, and I'm sure it's what almost everyone would be looking for.. I know I was :)... I've run into a small problem along the way... First the particulars:

I had a batch of around 50 to 60 cherry seeds I had with me since last year, and they all came from store bought cherries.. I've been wrapping them in moist paper towels in a ziploc baggie, two towels and about 25 seeds in each, just like you said, and checking on them every week..

After nearly a month, some seeds in one towel started forming a weird greenish white growth with a chalky consistency, and strange reddish hues in the other towel :(... I cleaned them off with plain water under the tap and wrapped them in fresh towels, new baggie... After about two weeks, the same thing started again, and this time I cleaned them off the same way first, then dipped every seed in a weak antiseptic solution (one capful Dettol in a full mug of water) for about a second and dried them off... Right now, they seem ok, been two weeks since I did it... I even cracked a seed from each batch to see if they're ok, and they were I think.. I mean, they hadn't rotted or anything and were white and healthy under the seed coat.. Please do point out if there's something outrageously idiotic I've done, or something I haven't done and I should... :oops:

Many thanks..
Last edited by creepycrawley on Sun May 17, 2009 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

The Helpful Gardener
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There are a number of reasons the pros don't start with seed, and I think you are finding one of them now; Genus Prunus (which also includes peaches, plums and almonds, as well as cherries) is, as we say up near Boston, wicked susceptible to fungal disease. Root rungus, leaf fungus, you name it it gets it. I would not be suprised to find the seeds were prone too...

[url]https://chestofbooks.com/gardening-horticulture/American-Horticultural-Manual-Vol1/180-Propagation-of-the-Cherry.html[/url]

Best of luck...

HG
Scott Reil

creepycrawley
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Oh.. That's not good.. :( .. The problem here is basically even if I did want to propagate it by grafting, I can't do that because there are no trees in the vicinity and the nurseries I've been to say it's out of season so they have neither the seed nor the plant :roll: ... Judging by the shape of the seeds, if that's any indication, I seem to have the flowering cherry (Prunus serrulata), which was kinda what I preferred from the start.. My aim is to try to create a bonsai out of at least one, and plant any of the rest that burst their coats.. It's not for the fruit I'm planting them, so that's no problem if it doesn't bear any..

The Helpful Gardener
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Ahh, that changes things... you ARE on the fruit forum my friend...

Should be easier to keep them clean and get them rooted in bonsai soil...

HG
Scott Reil

creepycrawley
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:) Heh heh... Well I just figured since I need them to sprout in any circumstance, where better to ask than on the fruit forum? Besides, hopefully if more than one germinate, I do intend to plant at least one in my garden.. In addition to the hanami viewing, I might get some fruit to send around the neighborhood :wink: .. Thanks a lot for all your help.. :)

candyjoppa1@msn.com
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MN and planting cherry seeds...

TheLorax,

What a great answer, just the one I'm looking for! We have never done this and I'm looking to see what we need to do to plant the cherry seeds.

I do have a question about this statement you had posted.. "Now it's time to play the waiting game. Your seed won't germinate for a very long time. Some seed may begin to germinate at about the 4 month mark while others may not even germinate until the following year. For any seed that doesn't germinate, just stash your seed trays in an unheated garage for the winter and put them back out when spring arrives. Keep them damp, not moist over the winter."

My problem, my unheated garage in the winter, can get.. well.. quite frozen! Living in MN during the winter is really cold, hitting below zero for days at a time. Would this do any harm to the seeds if they freeze, or what would be a better alternative?

Thank you for your post! I am no 'green thumb' by any means and it look simple that even I could plant them!

Candace

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IndorBonsai
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I don't know if I should tell anyone this but I thought it might work for seeds too.

I buy long fiber sphagnum moss from home depot. I wet it down and put a small handful in Ziploc baggys. I carry 3 or 4 of these sphagnum moss filled baggys when I go on walks or hiking in the woods. If I see a tree or plant I like I snip about 4-6 inches off the end of a branch and stick it in the baggy of sphagnum moss. When I get home I put the cutting in a 2-4 inch starter pot with more sphagnum moss and trim off about 80-90% of the leaves, water it and put it in a shady warm area for a couple weeks. Then I have the tree or plant I liked and it cost me nothing but the price of the long fiber sphagnum moss.

This has worked for every plant or tree I have tried it on so far, I havent found a plant or tree that I couldent get a start from using just sphagnum moss. If it works this good for making starts/clones it might work this well for starting seeds that are hard to get going too.

Just thought I would share this with you it Might work.
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

Pippin Limbertwig
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Peroxide or Bleach treatment to prevent fungus/mold?

I planted two "Sand Cherry" shrubs (whips) in 2008 from a cheap mail-order nursery and they fruited in 2009. They were tart, but sweet enough to eat out of hand. I'd like to have a hedge of them.

I saved some seed - I didn't have time to clean off the pulp in early August when I put them in the fridge in a damp paper towel and baggie.

Today, September 14, I have washed the pulp off. There was some white mold.

What do you think about either a dilute bleach or hydrogen peroxide soak for about 15 minutes before they go back into the fridge for the long winter stratification?

I had not heard of Sand Cherries before - does anyone know about them?
Are they the same as Nanking? I ordered them just because they are bush size and it's hard for me to get nets over trees.

I've just discovered this forum and am very impressed by the knowledge of the posters.
Pippin Limbertwig

"Let us watch our beginnings, and the results will manage themselves." Alexander Clark



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