Tree seed storage guidelines
- Category: Management
- Author: Fabrice Feyton
- Published: May 10, 2020
- Views: 57
It is important to dry seeds uniformly to as low moisture levels as possible depending on the category of seeds to prevent fluctuation in moisture content during storage. The respiration continues at low temperature which is necessary to keep the embryo alive. It is advised to store seeds in low temperature environments as this will extend viability slightly.
Seed storage is necessary
- Seed ripening and collection often does not correspond with the appropriate time for seedling production and tree planting
- The location of the seed sources may be far from intended planting sites
- Some species do not produce seed every year and seed needs to be stored to be used in plantation year without dependence on flowering.
- Some pests may attack a plantation and destroy flowers which affect seeds production in the all around year.
The following are the key factors to consider when storing seeds with temperature and humidity being the most important of all.
- Seeds will remain viable for a long time when stored at a consistent cool temperature. “The cooler the temperature the better!”
- A fluctuating temperature will cause a loss of seed viability
- The respiration continues at low temperature which is necessary to keep embryo alive.
- Seed stores best under low air humidity
- the lower the air humidity the better
- High humidity conditions will cause seed to absorb moisture and lose viability
- As with temperature, fluctuating levels of humidity accelerates a loss of seed viability
- As mentioned in tree seed categories, seeds stores best at consistent low moisture contents
- Moisture contents of 8-12% can be achieved by sun drying or air-drying
- Maintaining consistent low moisture content in seed is directly dependent on maintaining low levels of air humidity
- Exposure to direct sunlight deteriorates seed’s protective outer coat. Deterioration of the seed coat facilitates moisture absorption and a loss of viability
- Under high moisture conditions, exposure to sunlight encourages germination
- To avoid those problems seed should be stored in the dark or covered in non transparent containers. Shop Now
Pests and diseases
Pests and diseases is the leading cause of seed damages attacking seeds before or after collection, or even undergoing extraction. Exposure to pests during storage decreases seed viability and even kills seed. To avoid such problems seed should be thoroughly cleaned and stored in sealed containers
When available, chemical or organic pesticides can be applied to stored seeds. some organic pesticides including Neem oil, Gliricidia leaves and soap can help fight pests in stored seeds. Local methods used to protect agricultural seeds may be appropriate for tree seed and should be tested.
Interested in setting up a nursery, Check out our nursery budget template.