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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #179046


item Reed, Sandra

Submitted to: Southern Nursery Association Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/8/2005
Publication Date: 12/28/2005
Citation: Reed, S.M. 2005. Stablizing dogwood seed supply through proper storage of excess seed. Proceedings of the Southern Nursery Association Research Conference. 50:417-419.

Interpretive Summary: An adequate supply of seed is a necessity for production of flowering dogwood; however, growers occasionally face a seed shortage. The objective of this study was to develop a reliable method of storing flowering dogwood seed that will allow producers to overcome year-to-year fluctuations in seed production. Because seed moisture level and storage temperature are known to greatly influence the viability of stored seed, these two factors were examined. Seed were dried to 6, 10 and 14% moisture content and stored at room temperature (22C; 72F), in a refrigerator (5C; 41F) and in a freezer (-20C; -4F) for 1, 2, 3 and 4 years. Following storage, seed were stratified to break dormancy and sown in a greenhouse. Data were collected on percent germination. Overall, the best results were obtained when flowering dogwood seed were stored in air-tight containers in a freezer. Use of these storage conditions should allow flowering dogwood seed to be stored for at least 4 years without a significant loss in viability and will stabilize dogwood seed supply.

Technical Abstract: Dogwood producers occasionally face a shortage of flowering dogwood seed. Storing excess seed during years when seed is abundant would allow growers to stabilize their seed supply. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of seed moisture and storage temperature on the viability of stored flowering dogwood seed. Seed were collected in Fall 2000, dried to 6, 10 and 14% moisture content, and stored at 22, 5 and -20C for 1, 2, 3 and 4 years. Following storage, seeds were cold stratified and sown in a greenhouse. Percent germination was recorded 4 weeks after seeding. Seeds stored at 22C quickly lost viability. At 5C, seed moisture content was critical, with seed dried to 14% moisture content germinating poorly after 2 years and failing to germinate after 3 years in storage. In general, storage at -20C was superior to storage at 5C. Seed moisture content was not as critical at -20C as it was at 5C, but may become more important if length of storage is extended past 3 years. The results of this study indicate that dogwood seed can be successfully stored if they are dried to 6 to 14% moisture content, placed in air-tight containers and stored in a freezer (-20°C; 4°F). Seed stored in this manner maintained good viability after 4 years in storage. Use of this seed storage procedure will help stabilize dogwood seed supply.