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Starting trees from seed requires knowing the germination requirements for the species you wish to grow. Most native tree seeds require treatments to break seed dormancy before the seed will germinate. These are done naturally by weather cycles, moisture, sunlight and wildlife in the forest environment. When we collect seeds, we will have to simulate these natural events to germinate the seeds successfully.

The Woody Plant Seed Manual, a U.S. Forest Service publication, gives detailed germination and nursery culture instructions by genus and species of trees. With over 450 seeds of woody plants in the United States, this manual continues to be popular both in this country and beyond. Seed data includes approximately 800 species, varieties, and sub-species in 188 genera, considerable more than the 420 species and 140 genera in this edition.

View this general germination guide for some common tree species.

Resources:
Frost Seeding to Establish Wildlife Food Plots & Native Grass and Forb Plantings – YouTube Video
Planting Hardwood Seedlings – The Education Store
Ordering Seedlings from the State Forest Nursery System, Got Nature? – Purdue Extension-FNR
Instructions for Ordering Tree Seedlings – Indiana DNR Division of Forestry
Importance of Hardwood Tree Planting – The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Forest Improvement Handbook – The Education Store
Designing Hardwood Tree Plantings for Wildlife – The Education Store
National Nursery and Seed Directory  – USDA Forest Service
Web Soil Survey – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
ID That Tree – YouTube Playlist

Diana Evans, Extension and Web Communication Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


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