View Full Version : Is frozen seed still viable?

12-18-2013, 09:40 PM
I planted some of my chestnuts and oak seeds in trays and buried them in my garden, but several days of single digit temps have the soil in my garden frozen 6 inches deep. I did cover my trays with an inch of mulch but i'm guessing that the seed in the trays still froze.

So, I'm wondering what it takes to actually kill the seed?

12-18-2013, 10:20 PM
While it is probably not best to freeze the seed intentionally, I would not count it out. In nature seeds go through freeze/thaw cycles all the time. I would cold stratify the nuts in your refrigerator vegetable crisper for 60 days and then see if they will germinate.

12-18-2013, 10:21 PM
Depends on the moisture content of the nut and soil around it.
Dry & frozen probably will kill them. Wet & frozen probably not.
Where the trays watered well before the deep freeze?
They are probably ok. When they drop off the tree and onto the ground in nature I'm pretty sure they get frozen.
I would mulch them some more and water them when you get some warm weather.

I have 500 chinquapin acorns in trays that are in a cold frame greenhouse but they were chunks of frozen soil the last couple of weeks even inside.

12-18-2013, 11:13 PM
I plant thousands of daylily seeds annually 1/4 inch deep every November. They freeze and thaw until late April when they finally germinate. It is in their genes to do that.
Acorns freeze in the top 2 inches of soil where squirrels leave them in the fall and they germinate in the spring.

12-19-2013, 12:25 AM
All, Thanks for the info. I kinda figured they could handle some freezing. I'll check the moisture in soil and be sure not to let them dry out.

12-19-2013, 06:23 AM
In the past I've direct seeded American chestnut seeds in the fall 1 to 2 inches below the surface of the soil. As long as the mice didn't get them they would germinated just fine the next spring. Since I live in northern Indiana they would have gone through many freeze-thaw cycles sometimes with and sometimes without a snow cover. I figure that the seeds from these trees have had millions of years to adapt to over-winter freezing conditions otherwise there wouldn't be any of them around!

12-19-2013, 08:47 PM
Or...we could all tell you that they are dead and you should dig them up and mail them to us for proper disposal...:D

12-19-2013, 11:24 PM
Or...we could all tell you that they are dead and you should dig them up and mail them to us for proper disposal...:D

I think maybe I'll hold on to them and see what happens. :D

If all goes well maybe I'll have seed to trade for some of your persimmon scions.:D

12-19-2013, 11:29 PM
I had some acorns in bags in the garage that froze - ice crystals in the ziplock bags.

I pulled 10 of them, soaked for 24 hours, and wrapped in a paper towel.

7-10 days later they are all in various stages of sprouting. I wouldn't worry about it.

The things to worry about are:
-Too wet (the worst)
-Too warm
-Too dry

As long as they are cold and wet enough but not too wet they will keep fine.