Author Topic: Have you tried soaking tree seeds in chilli-flavoured water to reduce feed loss?  (Read 1784 times)

Sjalabais

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I am about to change the composition of a little forrest around here back to native species. Collecting seeds for a while now. But in similar projects, I have found that mice and squirrels etc. carry away these seeds for a whole 'nother purpose.

So I have heard some people boil strong chillis in water, and when that cools down, soak their seeds in it. The chilli-effect will reduce loss to wildlife, they say.

Has anyone here tried that? Is there no detrimental effect to the chemistry of the seedling?

Linea_Norway

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Can't you sprout the seeds in a protected invironment? First in your house in a pot. Then maybe in the forest with a fence around it, against grazing deer. Etc.

lthenderson

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When growing seedlings from seeds, I usually plant them in pots on my deck for a year or two before transplanting. If you live in a very cold climate where extreme freezing might kill them over winter, I will put the pots in the ground over winter with mulch over them and a fence around them to prevent rabbits and deer from destroying them.

Sjalabais

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Nah, it's not really an option. We have little soil, rocky surroundings, and trees that start off in a pot just don't get the proper roots I am looking for, unfortunately. The ambition is to create a new wild forrest, so a real root system is very important in the (very) long run.

CowboyAndIndian

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Chilli's cannot be tasted by birds.

Chilli's evolved so that birds eat the fruit and then drop a nice seed bomb with fertilizer a distance away. The heat was only felt by bigger animals with big teeth that would chew the seed. A lot of people prevent squirrel's from raiding the birdfeeder by adding chilli powder to the bird feed.

My suggestion is to make seed bombs. Take 4 parts compost, 1 part clay very little water and then mix it up into a nice ball with the seeds in the middle. The ball is about the diameter of a US quarter coin. Put these seed balls in a dry place for a couple of weeks. Carry some with you and toss them where you want the plants. Neither birds or animals eat your seeds, they have a nice fertilizer packet and they do not blow away in the wind.

I have been using this to propogate milkweed in my town. Milkweed is a food plant for the Monarch butterfly caterpillar.

Just search for "seed bombs diy" and you get a few articles.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2020, 05:17:06 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

lthenderson

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Nah, it's not really an option. We have little soil, rocky surroundings, and trees that start off in a pot just don't get the proper roots I am looking for, unfortunately. The ambition is to create a new wild forrest, so a real root system is very important in the (very) long run.

How exactly does a pot not grow proper roots? Why does a tree growing in little soil that is rocky produce healthier roots? Roots are either healthy or not and the most important part is to get healthy roots before sticking them in poor soil. The easiest way to get healthiest roots is to grow them in controlled conditions with proper nutrients, something that is impossible to do when growing them in poor rocky soil. When I grow in pots and transplant after a couple years, I have about a 75% to 85% success rate. When I plant them as seedlings that you get in bulk from a nursery, that success rate goes down to maybe 10 to 25%. When I have planted by seed, in good soil mind you, the success rate is closer to 1%. The seed will germinate and sprout but many can't compete with taller vegetation nearby and die off and lots of insects and animals like to eat tender the rest. If I sew seeds on top of the ground, it is probably a tiny fraction of 1%. That is why trees produce tens of thousands of seeds naturally and you see maybe a handful of saplings nearby.  It takes a lot of things to go right to get trees to grow that way.

Sjalabais

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Thanks for the good advice, @CowboyAndIndian, I will try that! Never heard of this method before, and I certainly didn't know that not all potential seed consumers could even taste chili...

@lthenderson, the rocky surroundings are just what they are - not a choice, but a given in this specific area. If you move a plant which develops roots quickly, seeking its way deeply into the ground to hunt for nutrients and stability, you are bound to damage this root by moving the plant. Pots are not deep enough to create proper roots for long living, true forrest trees. Think of carrots moved after sprouting. This doesn't mean that you can't have success with this method with all sorts of plants, even orchard trees. Just not in this quite specific situation.

big_owl

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Some plants are also truly tap rooted in nature and don't grow well in pots.  That's the reason you don't often see hickories, walnuts or white oaks grown potted in nurseries.