Beech is one of the deciduous trees that can be found in the forests of Europe. It grows at its own pace, usually quite slow, but it’s in no rush: its life expectancy is around 400 years, so it has plenty of time to outperform its competitors, grow stronger and adapt. Likewise, it can also take a long time to flower; in fact, he does it from the age of 15.
Fortunately, once launched, it will continue to do so each spring. So if you wanna know how to plant beech fruit and thus obtain a seedling, then we will explain it to you.
What is the sowing period for beech?
Beech, whose scientific name is fagus sylvaticais a deciduous tree for a reason: their leaves are quite tender, so if you were to keep them through fall and winter, you would have to work harder to feed them, something that, when the temperatures are very low, is not practical. Therefore, to save water and nutrients, stop feeding them during the fall, when the thermometer begins to drop below 15 ºC.
Why am I telling you this? Because beech needs to be cold, that the temperatures drop below 10ºC and that there is little difference between the maximum and the minimum during autumn and winter. Only then can the seeds germinate in the spring. And that’s why the planting season for beeches is autumn and winter: if the temperatures remain high for all twelve months of the year, they will never sprout.
If the winter is mild but not too coldthat is, if winter temperatures remain, for example, between 15 and 5ºC, with occasional light frosts, it is best to plant them in a tupperware with coconut fiber and put them in the fridge during these months.
How to stratify seeds step by step
What is the name of the beech fruit?
The fruit of the beech It is known as hayuco and completes its development in the fall. It measures about 2 centimeters, and when it is not opened it looks like a small ball covered with “hairs”. At first they are green, but then they turn brown.
Inside it contains several seeds, also brown, which measure 1 centimeter and are hard.
How is it planted?
To sow beech fruit, the first thing to do is to wait for it to ripen. Once done, it opens as if it were a flower, exposing the seeds. These, although very fresh if taken from the tree, therefore must not be viable, I recommend putting them in a glass of water for a few minutes.
If doing so they sink, perfect, because they have many possibilities of germination; but if they remain floating, they are most likely not fertile and therefore will not germinate (but if you wish you can plant them separately. It would not be the first nor the last time that ‘a so-called non-viable seed germinates).
Now, you have to prepare the seedbed, which can be a pot or a tray with holes, or a tupperware if you live in an area where the winter is mild or warm. And as a substrate, I recommend using coconut fiber, which has a very low pH and maintains a lot of humidity, which beech needs.
Once you have it, you need to do the following:
- Planting in a pot or perforated tray: just fill them almost entirely, and place the seeds separated from each other. Then, cover them with a very thin layer of substrate, and finally place them outside, in partial shade.
- Plant in a Tupperware: if you need to put them in the fridge to sprout, fill the tupperware with coconut fiber about half full, sow the seeds, then cover them with more coconut fiber (you can buy it here). Then you have to insert the tupperware in the device, in the part where you put the eggs, milk, etc. There they have to stay for about three months, during which you will have to take them out once a week to open the container and thus ensure that the air is renewed.
How long does it take to germinate beech?
Typically, this takes about two to three months. since it is planted in a pot outside. Sometimes it can take longer if the seeds are from previous years and/or the winter weather is too warm for that. In any case, for everything to go well, it is important to treat them with a systemic fungicide from the start -you can buy it here-, and to continue doing so at least until the plant has a year.
And it is that fungi do a lot of damage to seeds and young trees, to the point that they can kill them. To avoid this, or at least to minimize the risk of infection, a fungicide should be applied every 10 to 15 days in the evening, when they are no longer exposed to direct sunlight.
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