• Oregon Myrtle – Germination?

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    This is the first update on the experiment… Oregon Myrtle – Can it be started from a nut? And it looks like we have some germination!

    Final update, fall 2014: More than half of the myrtle nuts sprouted, but after a few weeks, they all became infected with mold and died. Later on in the spring, though, while removing some juniper bushes from the front garden bed, I discovered a myrtle seedling that was about knee-high. It had grown in almost complete shade in the needle mound below the juniper bush and seemed quite happy, if a little gangly. My thought for next time would be to put the myrtle nuts on the surface of a large pot, bury the pot in the ground in a shady location so that its surface is level with the surrounding ground, cover it all with pine straw and wait for nature to do its magic. My conclusion is that an abundance of moisture is just too much for myrtle sprouts once they have begun to emerge. The pine straw (or in this case, juniper needles) may help to draw out the excess moisture..?

    Oregon Myrtle nut sprouting

    Oregon Myrtle nut sprouting

    After about 35 days I unearthed some of the seeds and it seemed like about 2/3 of the seeds I unearthed were beginning to swell and show green inside. Today I unearthed a few more and they were definitely showing signs of germination.

    The seeds that seemed to be doing better were not planted as deeply, were in pots with dryer soil and tended to be closer to the front of the greenhouse where they get more sun. As a result, in hope of getting more to germinate, I carefully unearthed them all and moved them closer to the top of their pots and placed the pots nearer the front of the greenhouse. They are all now resting with about 1/4 to 1/2 inches of soil on top of them.

    Here is the high and low temperatures (Fahrenheit) since planting. Keep in mind that inside the greenhouse it’s probably 5-10 degrees warmer:

    1/11 – 54   42 – Planted
    1/12 – 53   42
    1/13 – 54   34
    1/14 – 44   33
    1/15 – 40   34
    1/16 – 37   33
    1/17 – 39   32
    1/18 – 40   32
    1/19 – 40   32
    1/20 – 42   32
    1/21 – 40   30
    1/22 – 46   34
    1/23 – 53   30
    1/24 – 52   30
    1/25 – 49   26 – Watered
    1/26 – 49   25
    1/27 – 42   29
    1/28 – 45   38
    1/29 – 56   42
    1/30 – 51   37
    1/31 – 47   35
    2/01 – 51   37
    2/02 – 48   33
    2/03 – 45   33
    2/04 – 43   31
    2/05 – 36   24
    2/06 – 25   20
    2/07 – 29   20
    2/08 – 41   29
    2/09 – 42   32
    2/10 – 45   32
    2/11 – 50   36
    2/12 – 54   48
    2/13 – 55   43

    Oregon Myrtle nut beginning to germinate

    Oregon Myrtle nut beginning to germinate

    2/15 – 56   40 – Signs of germination, fertilized
    2/16 – 51   39
    2/17 – 54   43
    2/18 – 52   37
    2/19 – 49   35
    2/20 – 50   42
    2/21 – 53   34
    2/22 – ??    32 – Moved seeds closer to surface

    Some were showing what looked like the beginnings of roots inside the nut where they had cracked open so I probably won’t do anything but water them after this–once roots start to leave the safety of the nut, I think disturbing them them would do more harm than good. I’ll make another post as soon as I see anything breaking the surface of the soil!

    ~Indi

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