A: Although Norway spruce (Picea abies) is not native to the United States, it has naturalized and grows well in much of the country. The cones mature from September through November, and seeds are dispersed from September through April. Spruce seeds are found between the scales of the cones. Once the cones have dried thoroughly, they will fall out easily. In nature, the cones fall and release seeds, or they are shaken out by wind, or distributed through bird and animal activity.
You can sow seeds into a flat or individual 4-inch pots that have been filled with a soilless seed starting mix. Cover the seed very lightly with the mix; if you bury them too deeply they may not germinate. Keep the soil evenly moist but never sopping wet. You can place the planted containers outdoors in an area protected from rain.
Q: Our Norway spruce trees produced a bumper crop of cones this year. How do you go about starting Norway spruce tree seeds?
Shake the cones and collect the seeds. Store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator (NOT the freezer) until early spring. They will germinate best if you soak them in water for 24 hours prior to planting them.
Other propagation methods for spruce include rooting cuttings. Propagating spruce tree seeds and cuttings both produce viable plants.
Plant the trees outdoors in late autumn or early spring. The trees will need water and light. Depending on your climate, rain can take care of the need for irrigation.
Propagation Methods for Spruce Trees
The birds do it, the bees do it, and spruce trees do it too. Spruce tree propagation refers to the different ways that spruce trees reproduce. How to propagate a spruce tree? The methods include growing spruce tree seeds and cuttings. If you are interested in learning about propagation methods for spruce trees, and how to start growing new spruce trees, read on.
How to Propagate a Spruce Tree with Seeds
Take cuttings in late summer or early fall. Choose healthy shoots and clip off each about as long as your palm. Recut the base of the cutting at an angle and strip all needles from the lower two-thirds of each one.
Stratification Requirement: None required.
Zones: 3 to 7
Soil Type: Prefers moderately moist, sandy, acid, well-drained soils.
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Germination Range: 70-90%
The Norway Spruce tree can reach heights of 40 to 60 feet. The Norway Spruce is one of the fastest growing of the Spruce Trees. Commonly used as a wind break or shelter.
Indoor Planting: If your seeds require stratification or scarification – do the recommended pretreatment before planting indoors. Planting Instructions: Fill a container with seed starting mix to about ½ inch from the top. Place your seeds 1 inch to 1 ½ inches below the soil surface. Gently water your seeds to keep moist, not soaking wet. Heat & humidity is critical for germination. Germination may occur in 1 week or as long as 3 months (depending on the species). Place the seed container on a heat mat under growing light(s). Keep your growing lights on 14 hours per day. Keep your heat mat on 24 hours per day. Once your seeds germinate, move each seed into its own container under the growing lights and on the heat mat. Keep your seedlings indoors for 2-3 months before transplanting outdoors in the spring (May to June).
Outdoor Planting: If your seeds do not require stratification: the best time to plant tree and shrub seeds outdoors is after the last frost in your area (spring). In the Northern states – the best time to plant seeds outdoors is from May to June. If your seeds require pretreatment: you should plant your seeds outdoors before the ground freezes in your area (late September to early November). Your seeds will naturally stratify during the cold winter. Germination usually occurs in May or during the spring season.