[NAFEX] pear seed germination

Luffman, Margie luffmanm at AGR.GC.CA
Mon May 30 10:06:47 EDT 2005

Hello. This is the procedure which we have used successfully for germinating both apple and pear seeds. 

Guidelines for Malus Seed Germination

1)  Wash and disinfect all containers to be used for chilling or 
germination and disinfect the working surface on which the seeds are handled.

2)  Soak individual seed lots in separate containers, for a minimum of 24 
hours to a maximum of 48 hours in regular tap water.  Start the soak in 
the a.m.; Change the water every 2-3 hours to remove any possible growth 
inhibitors. You will not need to change water for the overnight 
soak.  Label containers with appropriate identification and handle 
carefully to avoid misidentification.

3)  Distribute seed evenly on saturated but not dripping wet blotter paper 
or paper towels, shake off any excess water.  Place germination containers 
in the dark at 1.5oC (34oF) (regular kitchen refrigerator works fine at 
38F to 42F) for a minimum of 90 days.  Check on seeds once a week, 
changing paper every two weeks.

4)  As needed, surface disinfect each seed lot in 10% chlorox (bleach)for two minutes, followed by a thorough rinse in running tap water.  After 60 or 
more days, the radicle (white root that starts to emerge from the base of 
the seed) begins to emerge; then discontinue the use of all surface 
disinfectants so as not to burn the root-tip.

5)  Therefore after about 60-110 days of chilling as you see a few of the 
seeds in each seed lot showing radicles, place seeds at 10oC (50oF) (or 
cool room ~ 60oF is fine) for 2-5 days to promote full germination of the 
seed lot.   If some of the seed still appears viable continue to hold the 
seed at 10C (50F) until you see radicle emerge and then plant.

6)  When radicles have emerged, carefully plant pre-germinated seed in 4" 
plastic pots with Cornell mix (commercial potting mix).  When planting the 
seeds with the white radicles, take extra care in not damaging the young 
radicle (1st root) tip.  Grow seedling to 6-7 true leaves and transplant 
to nursery.

Margie Luffman 
Canadian Clonal Genebank/Banque canadienne de Clones
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada/Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada
Telephone/Téléphone: 519-738-2251 ext. 474
Facsimile/Télécopieur: 519-738-2929
2585 County Road 20
Harrow, Ontario 
N0R 1G0 
luffmanm at agr.gc.ca
 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of tanis cuff
Sent: May 29, 2005 7:33 PM
To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [NAFEX] pear seed germination

Well I have a dozen nice little pear seedlings which made it thru the blight 
stage, so I can report now.

In past years I had tried several different methods to germinate pear seeds. 
  I harvest my tree (sorry, cultivar name not known) later than recommended 
because this pear doesn't keep, even when picked way green.  I figure one 
advantage is, the seeds inside tree-ripened pears are fully mature.  But, no 
luck on germination.  So, last fall I thought I'd try once more before 
giving up.  I wrapped about 50 fresh moist seeds in damp p.towels and put 
them in a plastic bag, put this bag in a compartment of the refrigerator, 
and forgot about them.

Discovered this bag of stratified seeds in mid-March.  I'm not normally 
shocked by what I find in refrigerators, but this was ugly.  I carefully 
picked thru the mold and gently pinch-tested all the seeds.  In about half, 
the kernel inside was rotted, or there never had been a kernel.  The other 
half were firm.  Of this sub-set, about half were plump and half seemed only 
partially filled.  I planted these in separate seedling tray rows, and the 
plump mostly germinated and the part-filled mostly tried but failed.  Two of 
the strong seedlings died of a seedling stem- or root-blight.

Germination was in a cool room, but in the sun of a south-facing window.  I 
built a tent of clear plastic loosely over the seedling tray, to increase 
the r.h. and temperature during the day (loosened further and eventually 
removed as all seeds sprouted).  Night temp in the room was cool enough I 
wondered about aux heating, but didn't get around to it.  Soil was a mix of 
odds/ends left from last year, not sterile but high in healthy compost.  
Water was collected rainwater.

I hope this saga helps others.

Comments, please, from the more successful seed-starters!

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