Description: Sow scarified seed after the soil has warmed in spring or fresh seed still swollen in pod in fall. Lightly cover the seed in a pot large enough to allow good root development the first year. A light dusting with a general fungicide is a good precaution to prevent a fungal infection. Mountain laurel seedlings grow slowly the first two years. Cuttings from juvenile trees may root. Since S. secundiflora is a slow growing plant, most specimen sized shrubs are made commercially available by digging them from the wild, and then balling and burlapping. It is difficult for S. secundiflora to survive this kind of transplant because it has a sparse root system with a deep taproot. Because it is impossible to dig up the entire root, the plant often goes into shock and dies. Seed Collection:Fruit maturation occurs mid to late summer, but the fruit will remain on the plant through the winter, finally releasing the seed the next summer. Young fruit are large thick, leathery pods that appear brownish gray because of a layer of silky pubescence, which gives the pods a silvery luster. In their second year, the pods weather to become black and thin walled, and soon fall from the plant and deteriorate, eventually releasing the seed. The seed are usually deep red but can be orangish red to almost maroon. They are also very hard. Collect seeds when the pod begins to dry and the seeds turn red Seed Treatment: Separate seeds from pod and store in bags or containers in a cool dry place. Soaking the hard pods in warm water will soften them and make seed removal easier. Seeds must be filed or mechanically scarified with a knife. Commercially Avail: yes Maintenance: Prune to avoid a dense shrubby appearance.
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