Seedling Division: Dingus' shohin dawn redwood forest

LittleDingus

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I tend to start much of my seed in the fall. It entertains me to watch them grow through the dead of winter. I have a decent setup for doing this and have been doing it this way for years :D

Last year, I started a shohin dawn redwood project just seconds (ok, maybe a month?) before this contest went live. There's a thread on that forest here:


Rather than finagle the rules or enter them in the sapling division, I'm starting fresh!

I made some mistakes with the first attempt. Almost killed them...almost ;) They are all still alive at this point and I'll probably continue that forest until they do die...but I also love redwoods so much that it's not a hardship to start over and be within the framework of the rules :D

So here goes!

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The pot is a @sorce pot of the same style as my other shohin dawn redwood forest...but a little longer. The soil volume is roughly 5"x4"x0.5". It holds about a cup and a half of potting soil! Good thing dawn redwoods are the runts of the redwood family ;)

The potting soil is a big box store bark based mix for houseplants.

I just received a ton of new seed from Sheffield's. I poured a small amount out of the bag into my palm and sprinkled the seed over the mix. I poked some of the ones that overlapped around to more open space. I counted 28 seeds total...give or take. My normal germination rate from Sheffield's dawn redwood seed is over 50% so hopefully I'll be thinning these out at some point.

I then sprinkled some DE over the top. Not enough to fully cover the seed...they need light to germinate...but enough to "tuck in" most of the seed. I added the DE because this soil can quickly foster a fungus gnat infestation! After the seeds germinate, I hope to be adding more to make a barrier over the bark soil so the gnats can't lay their eggs. That's been really effective on my indoor plants the past few winters! I didn't add too much at this point because the seedlings need to be able to raise their heads when they start to germinate. Hopefully I didn't bury anyone enough to prevent that from happening.

Finally, the pot was put on one of my grow light shelves. The lights for that shelf are off for the summer. That window faces southeast and gets plenty of direct sun. I won't start supplementing light for a couple of months yet...usually when the tropicals come back inside late September/early October.

...and we're off! Let's see how this one goes!
 

LittleDingus

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After 4 days, I noticed the first sleepy head poking up :D

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Today...one week after being sown...my best count is 18 of the 28 seeds have germinated thus far.

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Most are still hard to see...just a sliver of green trunk here-n-there. Some of these will die off over time :( They won't be able to root properly, or shed their seed coat, or damp off, etc...I don't have the best humidity control with my clear plastic drip tray placed over the seedlings! But a few more may pop up over the next few days as well.

Anyway, 18 is a good number to select eventual keepers from. My hope is to pull one or two early for a mame pots so I have individuals to experiment on at this scale :D I'd like to grow one "naturally" the way I intend to grow this forest and use it to play around with how this forest should be managed. If I pull two, the second I might try and twist/contort into anything BUT a natural redwood style and see how it responds :D

Since "they" are always saying germination of redwoods is very low (I've seen quotes on this site even of less than 5% germination rate) and all my personal (though anecdotal) evidence is contrary, I thought I'd try and be a little more diligent about counting and measuring the germination rate this year. I have this set plus one additional set I want to start to rebuild my "spaceship" (really a hallowed out cypress knee) this fall that I hope to measure my "typical" germination rates with. I have had really poor rates with random seed bought off the internet...maybe the source of the lower end quotes? I've always had acceptable germination rates from Sheffield's seed, however.
 

LittleDingus

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...and with that little guy at the base of the trunk in the center, this batch has achieved 100% germination! 28 for 28 :D

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That's quite a few seedlings in a tiny pot!

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When I started these, I was thinking I would pluck away the ones I don't want. In the end, I only want 5 trunks. That's a lot of seedlings to pluck away :(

I was planning on starting another small batch a little later: I need a few trunks for my mixed redwoods planting in this competition


plus I want to restart my forest-in-a-cypress-knee that I've had for several years but tore apart to try and beef up a branch on one of the trees that grew an albino stripe. Since so many seedlings sprouted, and since they are still tiny enough to move easily, I thought I'd try moving some of these instead of starting a new batch a little later.

At this size, they are still very easy to move...some of the just-germinated seeds have roots still fighting across the surface looking for a nook to dive into. At this stage, everybody looks pretty much like this

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As long as I don't break the root tip, they should move safely enough. So I carefully plucked out half of the seedlings to move into my hallowed out cypress knee. I left 14 trunks behind. 14 should be plenty to allow for some mistakes that lead to attrition. Once things start taking shape, if there are still more than 5 trunks, I'll grab a pair of pruners :) I'll try to get down to the final 5 trunks sometime before they get to 6" tall.

Here are some of the ones I moved into the cypress knee for other projects:

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And here are the remaining 14 for this project:

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I'm going out of town for the weekend. I'll be moving these under my larger propagation dome so I don't have to worry about them drying out while I'm out of town. After that, I'll be weening them off any sort of humidity dome and just letting them grow for the duration. I love having some of these guys to watch grow over the winter months :D
 

LittleDingus

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A quick update on these...

They're just hanging out. They've been inside under lights. I've been busy with other things and haven't been watering them as often as I should. They've been on the dry side for the past few months so they're not growing much. I'm fine with that. I need to move them to a new house sometime over the winter. Fingers crossed they survive the move!

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