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Monday - June 06, 2011

From: Monroe, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Saving seeds of western red cedar from Monroe WA
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I would like to know how to save and store seeds of western redcedar if not planning on planting them their current year.


On our Native Plant Database for Thuja plicata (Western arborvitae) (also known as Western Red Cedar), here are the Propagation Instructions:

"Description: Cuttings taken in Dec. or Jan. and treated with hormone root very well. Western cedar is also easily grown from layers or seeds. Occasional dormant seeds are found which require stratification.
Seed Treatment: Stratify at 34-41 degrees for 30-60 days. No treatment may give satisfactory results.
Commercially Avail: yes"

This USDA Plant Profile Page has pictures of the tree and seeds and shows that the plant is, indeed, native to Washington. After some more searching, we found a long technical paper from the USDA Index of Species Information that had this paragraph germane to your question:

"Germination:  Germination is epigeal.  Western redcedar seeds germinate
well without stratification and remain viable for at least 7 years
stored dry (5 to 8 percent moisture) at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 deg C)]. 
Stratification may improve the germination of some dormant seed lots.  However, in others it may lower the germination capacity. Haig reported germination rates of 73 percent, and Schopmeyer reported germination rates of 34 to 90 percent."



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