More tips on growing trees from seed

I was amazed at the response to last month’s article on growing trees from seed, with many people looking for more detailed information on specific species.

n this month I will give a few examples of how to successfully grow some popular trees from seed.

Growing trees from seed is a bit like cooking a meal: you follow a “recipe” that works for you. Although each species of tree may have specific requirements for successful germination, you will find that certain “recipes” work better for you.

Below are some recipes you might want to try.


Most of the inquiries I received were related to oak.

September to November is the best time to gather acorns. You can expect plenty of acorns every two to five years.

Discard the first to fall. You should be able to find and collect lots of acorns once there has been Frost.

Perform a float test and discard any floats that are nibbled or damaged. Sow one acorn per milk carton immediately after collection.

Stick the acorn deep into the compost from the side up to the thumbnail, cover with compost and protect.

Beech pole is treated similarly to oak but does not sow as deeply as oak.


Hawthorn came a close second to oak. Collect the Haws in September or October once the berries are fully ripe. This means the berries should be a nice deep red color.

Macerate to remove the pulp from the seeds, then mix the seeds with composted bark and sand and apply a controlled temperature treatment.

This means that if the kernels were collected, for example at the end of September, store the kernels warm until the beginning of November and then cool them down until the end of February in time for sowing in late February/early March.


Gather the beautiful glossy, bright red berries in August or September, before they are fully ripe.

Store in plastic bags until partially rotted. Then separate the seeds from the pulp by washing. Sow immediately and cover with 2 cm of soil. Germination can be quite erratic.

Wych elm

September is generally a good time to collect tree seeds, but the wych elm’s winged seeds need to be collected in spring (usually May).

Sow immediately, covering the seeds lightly with compost and keeping moist.


The Scots pine usually has a good sowing year every two years. Collect cones from November to February before they open.

Put the cones in a paper bag and keep in a warm room (20-22°C) until they open and the seeds fall out. Shake the bag from time to time. Store seeds in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

In late January/early February, mix seeds evenly with medium and return to refrigerator to chill. Sow late February/early March, cover seeds lightly and keep moist.

Growing trees from seed is very satisfying and makes a fantastic personal gift for family and friends. Why not celebrate the birth of a child or commemorate a loved one by planting a tree you grew from seed yourself?

Talking wood 2022

Talking Timber, Teagasc’s annual timber marketing event, assists forest owners in harvesting coniferous forest. In its tenth year, this year’s theme is “Delivering Sustainable Wood Products”.

After two ‘virtual’ years, Talking Timber is live again, taking place on Tuesday 25th October at Racket Hall

Hotel, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
The event focuses on the ability of coniferous forests to provide the market with high-quality, sustainable wood products.

The event is free, but prior online registration is required at

Many private forests produce high-quality, large-volume logs. It is important to keep an eye on what this wood is being used for beyond the sawmill and what the market deems important.

Understanding the qualities and potential of wood can inform forest management decisions to deliver what the market and society need.

The program includes:
■ Networking opportunities with wood buyers.
■ Roundwood and Timber Products Exhibition (held by Forest Industries Ireland).
■ Presentations on the sale of wood and market requirements.
■ Question and answer session.

Contact your local Teagasc Forestry Advisor for more information or visit

Steven Meyen is Forestry Advisor at Teagasc in Ballybofey; More tips on growing trees from seed

Fry Electronics Team

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