Do your seeds require stratification (pre-treatment)?
Stratification is required for most seeds but not all. Most pine, spruce, cypress, elm, some oak, and other seeds do not require any pre-treatment. Listed below are the stratification requirements for each seed we sell - listed by category in alphabetical order.
If your seeds do not require stratification/pre-treatment: You can plant your seeds indoors anytime during the year and outdoors in the spring (after the last frost in your area). This is usually after May 15 in most US states and Canada.
If your seeds require stratification: The best time to stratify tree and shrub seeds is in the winter months. If the stratification requirement is: 60-120 days - you should start stratification in January or Feb. You can also put your seeds in the ground during the fall - in September or October (Before the ground freezes). If the ground freezes in your area during the winter months - then your seeds will germinate (sprout) in the spring after the last frost in your area.
How to: Cold Moist Stratification:
If your seeds require cold moist stratification: You are mimicking the natural winter cycle for seeds. Most seeds fall during the fall months (September to November), then go through winter under soil, leaves and snow. The seed will not germinate until the weather is in the seeds favor to grow. The outdoor growing season for tree and shrub seeds is: May to October. This gives the seedling enough time to grow strong enough to survive the winter weather conditions.
Stratification Supplies: You will need ziplock bags and Jiffy Seed Starting Mix.
Instructions: Fill a ziplock bag half way with seed starting mix. Add 10-20 seeds (depending on the size of the seed - less for acorns). Shake the bag a few times to make sure the seeds are covered with soil. Add water to keep moist. Place the bag in the bottom drawer of your fridge. Check on your bag once a week to see if you need to add more water to keep the soil moist.
Cold Stratification: Cold stratification requires placing your seeds in your fridge in a ziplock bag or container - without the moist seed starting mix.