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mutant

Help with acacia cultivation needed!!

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Alright, I got sent those acacia seeds from a fabulously generous SAB member, I thank him a lot!

A. acuminata [two strains]

A. neurophylla subsp. neurophylla

A. neurophylla subsp. erugata

A. obtusifolia

A. phlebophylla

So

having had not so much success with xerophytic plants

any tips on how to germ these seeds [nicking, burn, soaking in warm water]

and how to handle the seedling [what kind of medium, rich~poor, freedraining or what? do they tolarate root disturbance, do they need humidity tent at first?]

will be very appreciated.

Of course I would and will experiement until I get something that works, but some tips beforehand will sure help

PS: I recently got a mini greenhouse to use as a large tent for grafts and stuff, you think it's a nice spot for seedlings to grow?

Edited by mutant
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Just pour boiling water on them and allow to soak overnight. The seeds should swell, showing they've taken up water.

Soil should be fairly nutrient poor, free-draining, sandy/gravelly.

Seedlings definitely do not like root disturbance! You would be better off planting them in individual stock pots to minimise root disturbance when they need repotting.

Humidity is not needed. Full sun is good.

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If you can make some smoke water to heat and pour over the seeds, they should really go gangbusters. Hot water certainly works, but I've seen even better results with smoke water.

Some folk just try to mix fresh ashes with water, but this can often be too caustic. It's not actually the inorganic salts in the ashes that encourages germination, but an organic compound called butenolide 3-methyl-2H-furo[2,3-c]pyran-2-one. A much better way is to use an old vacuum cleaner to suck smoke from a wood fire through a container of water, a bit like a bubble pipe. It'll require a bit of taping and piping, and a big funnel at the sucking end helps if you can't actually make a smoking tent from which to pipe the smoke, but it doesn't take too much ingenuity to knock something together.

Basically, you have a pipe coming from the source of smoke into your vessel of water, which needs to be sealed around this and the other pipe. The first pipe ends underneath the surface of the water. If you can use a coarse aquarium air stone on the end of the "incoming" tube to break the bubbles into small sizes, all the better. You need another pipe going from well above the surface of the water to your vacuum source.

You don't need a 'shot' hole! :wink:

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Thanks my friends, wow, smoke water, pretty sophisticated. Maybe I should make a bong tonight. Know if that kind of smoke would work? :)

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You can buy smoke-infused vermiculite here. You might be able to get it in Greece too?

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Dude, I'd be careful with the bong water.

There's a study that shows that tobacco smoke inhibits germination of (admittedly non-fire adapted) seeds. It's probably the nicotinamides that do the harm, and bong water should be free of these unless you're chopping your mix, but nevertheless it might be best to stick with woodsmoke to do the job, just to be safe.

Of course, as you're O/S it might be hard to find wood and leaves of eucalyptus, acacias and banksias, which would give smoke that most closely resembles that which would be produced in an Aussie bushfire, but I suspect that any decent hardwood would produce butenolides that would do the trick.

Edited by WoodDragon
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Thanks... I think I might use some ash from my fireplace then, skipping the complex tek?

maybe I make some experimentations with a variety of solutions, hot , luke warm, overnight soaking, etc etc

thanks again...

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I really don't think you need to do anything more than pour boiling water over them.

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Don't waste your time with warm, cold etc water experiments, each species will be adapted to various triggers within it's environment, there are overlaps but generally each species is different. You can still generally apply the same techniques to get success across the board though, as has already been said.

Thick arse seed coats, put in mug, fill to half way or whatever with boiling water, they will swell within an instant to a couple of days, take them out and plant them, ones that haven't swollen give them time (i.e. don't boiling water them every hour) and repeat the task. No need to really fuck about with them, it's straight forward.

Things get eaten by birds, by ants, they get nicked on rocks, nicked in streams, have fire run over them, over the soil, smoke layered thick on them etc.

If it worries you, do one seed in boiling water and watch the results.

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I'd avoid ash, as it's too alkanine if used at any significant concentration. Chunks of fresh charcoal would probably be OK, as they are largely composed of unburned carbon, as well as a small amount of alkaline inorganics, and they will have traces of butenolide, but you probably won't get much from such chunks.

As Tripsis says, for most acacias hot water is probably sufficient. Some pyrophilic plant species require the 'smoke signal' for good germination (a lot of the leguminous vines and other 'pea' flowers fall into this category), but acacias do well with just heat. I suggested the smoke treatment just as a way of covering all bases, as you are a long way from easily trying again if your efforts don't work for whatever reason! It won't hurt, and it might help up the percent of successfully sprouted seeds.

Whatever type of water (smoked or not) you use, there is a point beyond which you can overcook the seeds. Boiling water is OK as long as it doesn't stay hot for too long, so don't use a bucket of boiling water to treat your seeds - it'd take too long to cool! To some extent, the lower the maximum temperature, the longer the seeds can remain in the water.

Cutting the seed coat can be effective in increasing germination rates, but the trick is to not go too deep into the seed coat. I wouldn't usually recommend doing this if one has not had previous experience with the seeds one is treating, especially if there aren't many to play with - it only takes one stroke and the seed is ruined. If doing this, I find that it is easier to use sandpaper to gently abrade a small patch, rather than to use a blade. For small seeds a pair of forceps helps.

Abrasion and heated water can be used together, but depending on how much of the coat has been worn away, the intensity and the duration of heat will need to be adjusted accordingly.

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Cutting the seed coat can be effective in increasing germination rates, but the trick is to not go too deep into the seed coat. I wouldn't usually recommend doing this if one has not had previous experience with the seeds one is treating, especially if there aren't many to play with - it only takes one stroke and the seed is ruined. If doing this, I find that it is easier to use sandpaper to gently abrade a small patch, rather than to use a blade. For small seeds a pair of forceps helps.

Scarification as in the use of sandpaper is in my opinion the best and safest method with the highest germination rates. The seed is protected by very thin hard cuticle at the outermost layer of the seedcoat which is water-inpenetratable. So one doesn't have to sand deep, one only needs to remove a little of this outermost layer so that water can absorb.

Hot water is not necessary. A few hours soaking in room temperature water after the above treatment and then placing between two layers of just moist sponge is a good method. Check the seeds again 12 to 24 hour later to ensure that the seeds have notably swollen(re-scarify any that haven't). Then keep at room temperature(25 deg C).

Once the seeds sprout plant the emerging root in soil medium. Gently help the growing plant remove its seedcoat if it struggles overmuch to cast it off itself.

Using the above method germination of acacia seed is not difficult at all but very easy with germination rates close to 100%. Germination will occur usually between one to four weeks with most species.

The one exception I have found is A.phlebophylla which is a special case for which see quote from another thread here below.

I prefer scarification and then soaking in water for a period.

The seeds should have absorbed enough water to be obviously swollen.

Pleb seed often takes longer to germinate than other acacia species sometimes as long as three to six months although taking just one month is not unusual.

What one wants to avoid is seed rot and fungal attack for this period.

I place the seed in sphagnum moss because the Ph inhibits fungal attack.

Keep an eye on it and once it germinates and puts out a root it's then planted with the seed above the soil surface and only the root buried.

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Wow thanks for all this wealth of info you guys are gold!

I have done this with argyreia and turbina, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Seeds are enough, but I didn't want to spoil them as they came from far away [special thanks to ferret]

Lots of tips, opinions and talk about acacia germination here too

Edited by mutant
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So when the seedling [hoipefully] start to sprout, it's good for them to stay in full sun?? what sun is better, morning, noon, afternoon? I have all options availabe.

I also have mealy. Any ideas of how to protect the seedlings from ants which will propably spot the seedlings and try to make the best of it??

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Morning sun is best of the three latter options but ideally one should acclimate to full sun for best growth.

Don't know what mealy is, but ants to my knowledge generally don't attack the seedlings.

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Right they're ugly fuckers, I think I've seen them on cacti and there may be some additional tips on dealing with them in that forum.

Dealing with ants there are products such as ant-rid for getting rid of them.

Although more troublesome another solution would be to cut off physical access for the ants by creating a moat by using a smaller dish within a larger dish under the pots.

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Right they're ugly fuckers, I think I've seen them on cacti

yeah they like some cacti and they love tender green growth of vines. They are also attracted by seedlings.

... creating a moat by using a smaller dish within a larger dish under the pots.

Right on, I was imagining something like that is an emergency way to protect seedlings, if attacks are constant.

I got my first couple of acuminatas to sprout. :) I am really crossing my fingers for phlebos though...

anyone has an idea on which species is supposed to sprout first, or it's all random?

[from those]

A. acuminata [two strains]

A. neurophylla subsp. neurophylla

A. neurophylla subsp. erugata

A. obtusifolia

A. phlebophylla

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I got my first couple of acuminatas to sprout. :) I am really crossing my fingers for phlebos though...

anyone has an idea on which species is supposed to sprout first, or it's all random?

Cool that the acuninatas have sprouted. :P

Most will sprout within 2-3 weeks. The plebs will take the longest.

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Most acuminatas [both strains] are sprouting, neurophyllas also :)

Phlebs take the longest?? hmmmm... So, should I let the soil dry from time to time, so as not to rot them?

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the seedlings have been through minor disturbances, little mealy, some night I found a small caterpillar munching on them, I suppose I was luvky taht night...

P1020128.jpg

P1020127.jpg

P1020126.jpg

Only one obtusifolia has sprouted, none of the few [4?] phlebo's. Is there a possibility I am doing something wrong?

any tips for the next wave of sowing, which is probably going to be concentrated on sprouting the remaining phlebo seed & obtusifolias?

Edited by mutant
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i got slack and left them in the water for a week, the seeds expanded obviously and sorta split with the white thingy growing outta it underwater, put this 5mm deep white bit downwards into a water soaked peat pellet and 4-5 days later all sprouted nicely, pulled the seed coating gently off the sprout head to reveal the proverbial birth of an acacia, pretty disappointed i pulled the head off one completely so due care obviously needs to be taken trying to manually remove the seed shell.

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any tips for the next wave of sowing, which is probably going to be concentrated on sprouting the remaining phlebo seed & obtusifolias?

After soaking and swelling put the seeds between two just moist cleaning sponges (the thinner type for wiping). For the Pleb use a small amount of sphagnum moss instead. Once they sprout transfer to soil just burying the root.

Plebs can take a while to germinate so patience is needed.

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Plebs can take a while to germinate so patience is needed.

what worries me is the balance between wet and rotting....

thanks for the feedback anyways :)

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what worries me is the balance between wet and rotting....

After the seeds have swollen it's best to keep just moist rather than wet.

A primary worry with longer time periods is attack by fungus which is why I recommend the sphagnum moss method.

Congrats on getting those seedlings going. :)

Edited by Mycot
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good work mutant, you will have a nice little thicket of them in no time!

in my experience the acuminata will grow quite fast from the point you pictured above, the neurophylla seem to stall a bit at this point for me, maybe putting more energy into root growth, after which they have a decent growth spurt and equal the growth of acuminata- to a point, my neurophylla always stay quite short and shrubby, the acuminata can be shrubby, while some have more of a tree-like habit. could be due to watering regime or just genetics, haven't quite figured that out..

all the advice given above is all good, trial out a few other methods on the obtusifolia if they aren't up yet. how have you pre-treated the seeds in that first run?

my last batch of obtusifolia i put in, i got lazy and ended up putting a shot-glass of seeds that hadn't yet swelled after a couple of hot water treatments outside where they were rained on every few days, so the glass ended up filling up with water and overflowing, effectively keeping the water from getting stagnant and every few days i would tip the water out until the next rain. that turned out to give quite good results for the amount of effort put in- about 80% germination. by the time i got to take them out of the shotglass, maybe 1/5 already had a radicle emerging from the seed, at this stage the seeds were only just covered in rainwater.

i would've preferred to plant them before they got to this point because i think planting and handling them at that stage can be detrimental due to damage to the radicle - i wish i had've noted which pots had these seeds because i suspect the 80% that sprouted after transplanting to soil could be those which hadn't quite germinated yet.

keep us updated mate, looking forward to seeing pics of a nice grove of aussie natives flourishing in greece in a couple of years- which i'm sure they will do!

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