Pine trees can be gorgeous additions to any yard. Their stunning silhouette, their pleasant scent, and the shade they cast contribute to making pine one of the most favorite trees in the Northern Hemisphere. Keep reading to learn how to start a pine tree from a pine cone and enjoy the benefits of this stunning plant in your garden.
If you live near a forest or somewhere pine trees are common, you are probably familiar with noticing plenty of cones on the ground during the fall. But can you start a tree from them? And what should you know about growing these plants in your yard?
How to Start a Pine Tree from a Cone
Starting a pine from a cone might sound like trying to grow a flowering plant from a seed. But the truth is that a pine cone is nothing more than a container.
Still, you can use it as a starting point to get your seeds out and try your luck growing a pine tree. You have landed in the right place to learn more about this! Here, we illustrate the steps you should follow to get the most out of pine cones!
Pine cones protect a pine tree’s seeds from the outdoors conditions such as strong winds and extreme temperatures.
But you won’t get a tree by planting a whole cone in the ground.
Instead, collect the seeds you’ll find inside it and plant them in a suitable location. Under appropriate conditions, you will get a tree in a couple of years. But let’s look at what you need to do to grow a pine tree from its cone.
1- Take the Seeds
To begin with, you must select a cone with seeds on it. Pay attention: most of the cones on the ground will be already empty.
Also, don’t be tempted to pick one from the tree: cones take years to mature, and if they are still on the tree, they are probably not ready yet. But how do you collect seeds from a cone? It is much simpler than what you think!
Shake the cone until you get the seeds to come out. Do so over a container to avoid losing them.
Many people skip this, but to increase your chances of success, don’t forget to check your seed viability. To do this, fill a container with water, place the seeds inside, and select those that sink: they are the more likely to produce seedlings.
2- When ready the seeds are ready, plant them!
Once you select the viable seeds, you can plant them directly in the ground or store them in the fridge, depending on your local climate.
Before the seeds germinate, they should go dormant for about three months. If the weather in your region is too worm for that to happen, store them first.
Place the seeds in an airtight container in the fridge for approximately 6o days. Don’t forget to let the seeds warm naturally to room temperature before planting them in the soil.
If you can plant them directly outdoors (because your local climate conditions are ideal), ensure you pick a sunny location and plant the seeds about half an inch below the surface.
Allow one inch of space between them to give them enough room to grow.
Alternatively, consider starting the seeds indoors, using a container: the potting mix should ensure adequate drainage and contain the proper nutrients to support their growth.
To avoid problems with transport, consider using pots made from compressed fiber. With it, your plant’s exposure to shock will be minimal: its roots will grow through the container, minimizing transplanting issues and stop the tree turning brown.
3-Grow Your Seedlings
Of course, a necessary step to get trees out of pine cones is to give appropriate care to the seeds.
For instance, you will have to keep them moist until they germinate. Once that happens, let the soil dry before adding extra water to your plants.
Also, if you are starting your seeds indoors, consider using grow lights: these plants need plenty of light to get the energy to become taller. But be patient: pine trees might take up to a month to sprout.
How to Start A Pine Tree From a Pine Cone: Final Thoughts
You will be able to transplant your seedlings outdoors when they get at least two sets of needles or when they are between 8 to 12 inches tall.
Then, ensure you take proper care of your plants and give them all they need to thrive. Don’t forget to be patient!
Related Article: How Long Does it Take a Pine Tree to Grow?