Not many people know how to grow larch from seed. Larch – also known as tamarack or hackmatack – is an interesting ornamental tree that can be grown in almost any climate zone. It has flat needle shaped leaves and cones that are soft rather than woody, with jagged scales. Growing larch from seed is a rather easy process, but there are a few things you need to know before you attempt it.
How to Grow Larch From Seed – A Step by Step Guide
In order to successfully grow larch from seed, the cones that hold the seeds must be harvested after they have turned brown and feel dry on the outside. You can use your bare hands to open them up. First of all, identify a fresh larch cone that has just fallen from the tree.
If you cannot find one in your area, purchase some online. Take care when opening the cone to prevent spilling the seeds on the ground because you are only going to need three. When you look inside the cone, you will see several seeds.
The important thing to remember is that only three of those seeds are going to be viable for germination. The rest will go to waste, so don't put all your eggs in one basket! If there is still some fleshy material attached to those seeds, make sure you rinse it off with water.
The seeds need to germinate in a cold period, so you need to store them for two months at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit before planting them. You can accomplish this by putting them in plastic bags and placing the bags in your refrigerator. Remember to check up on the seeds every 2 weeks or so to make sure they are not rotting.
Fill some trays with some potting soil, and plant the three viable seeds in each tray. Make sure to poke holes for them first, or use toothpicks to hold them up.
The next step is crucial – cover the seeds with only 1/8 of an inch of dirt.
Place the trays in a cool and dark place on top of some window sills or outside – but not in direct sunlight. You should start seeing sprouts within about a month, depending on how cold your area is. At this point you can remove the toothpicks or lift them up so they are standing straight up.
The trays should be kept indoors in a place where they will get some sunlight but not too much, as larch seedlings are very delicate and can die from exposure to the sun.
You will want to water them from below instead of pouring water on top or you risk damaging their roots, as well as placing grow lights over them to simulate the sun's light.
Now it is time to transplant your larch seedlings outside in some prepared beds with loose soil and rich organic material. As they grow, make sure to protect them from frost by covering them on nights where temperatures drop below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be accomplished by using a sheet or a blanket or something similar.
How to Plant Larch Outdoors
Once your trees are big enough to withstand colder temperatures, they can be planted outside in the ground with a 2 feet apart from each other. This will give them enough space to grow and spread.
You should also make sure you fertilize the soil every now and then as this will keep it from becoming too acidic.
Good luck with how to grow larch from seed !!! 🙂
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