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Questions about planting Allegheny chinquapin

George Collins

Joined: Sep 22, 2011
Posts: 88
Location: South Central Mississippi
I live in South-Central Mississippi and have been lurking here for quite some time.  I have enjoyed reading everyone's posts and have learned much thus far.  Recently though, I had an experience that has led to a possible time-critical need for an answer to a question that I have not yet seen addressed here.

This past spring, I located what ultimately turned out to be an Allegheny chinquapin.  I marked its position and checked on it frequently to monitor its progress hoping to gather some seed to plant on my family's farm.  On September 30th, I gathered 29 nuts and brought them home with the intent of cold stratifying them, per instructions I had read previously from some internet source.  Believing that I would return to the tree to gather additional seed as more of the burs opened, I placed those already collected in a zip-loc bag and set them on my kitchen table.  I noticed a bit of moisture had condensed on the sides of the bag but since I was under the impression that they had to be cold stratified prior to germination, I let them be. 

Today (October 6th), I returned to the tree, collected more seed, came home and presented them to my father to see if he could correctly identify them (he did).  I then picked up the plastic baggy containing the ones I had collected last week and to my eternal surprise, 8 of the 29 seeds I originally collected had germinated.

I quickly gathered some ~ 1/2 gallon pots (the only thing I had to hand), filled them with well hydrated Mel's Mix (the only thing I had to hand) left over from a previous square foot garden and placed each germinated nut therein, root down.  I then sprinkled a bit of dry Mel's mix over the surface and set the pots outside. 

I was under the impression that cold stratification was necessary to get the seeds to germinate.  Given that is obviously not the case, I'm now wondering if perhaps cold stratification is necessary merely to prevent germination until more favorable conditions arrive (spring).  And if that is the case, will I need to baby these babies through the winter or will they merely go dormant and bud out next year at the appropriate time and grow well?

And if fall germination is part of the normal life cycle of the Allegheny chinquapin this far south, and since direct seeding usually yields superior results, should I rush out and direct seed any others that germinate in the bag?

Lastly, do these nuts merely send down a tap root in the the fall/winter with the emergence foliage deferred until warm weather returns?

What would y'all do given a similar set of circumstances?

"Solve world hunger . . . tell no one."  The, the, the, . . . THE GRINCH!
John Polk

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6894
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
This Purdue link may give you some help:

George Collins

Joined: Sep 22, 2011
Posts: 88
Location: South Central Mississippi
Thank you kindly, Sir!  A studious perusal of the link you included led me to the knowledge that fall germination is indeed a part of the chinquapin life cycle.  Not only that but fall germination is listed in the "Problems" section of the article. 

Now if we just knew why fall germination is a "Problem."
Tyler Ludens

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
George Collins wrote:

Now if we just knew why fall germination is a "Problem."

My guess is the baby tree gets set back or even killed by frost if it sprouts in the Fall.  This wouldn't be a problem if you're able to grow yours in a protected place. 

Idle dreamer

subject: Questions about planting Allegheny chinquapin