When to collect Bald Cypress cones?

ryan_tree(7aVA)August 11, 2010

Hey all,

I found some Bald Cypress trees growing in a zoo, with tons of cones. I was allowed to have some, so I took the most full looking ones I could find. Do you think it is too early for these cones? I have had the worst time trying to get seeds for these trees, and I really hope these seeds are viable. Thanks everyone!

Ryan

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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Here's something "Resin" wrote in 2006 that are general guidelines for most all conifers:

You want to pick the cones when they are freshly ripe - turning from green/red to brown - but not yet open. For most conifers, that's September or October, though a few (e.g. Scots Pine, Austrian Pine) are later, February-March.
Then leave them in a warm dry spot (e.g. sunny window) to open; some pines (e.g. Jack Pine) may need additional heat to open, best done with an electric fan heater.
Then shake the seeds out; if they don't fall out easily first time, give the cones 10 minutes in cold water, leave cool and damp overnight, and re-dry; they'll open wider the second time.
When you've got the seeds out, mix them with some sterilised, slightly damp sand (NOT dripping wet!), and put them in the refrigerator for the winter; ideal temperature +1°C. If the fridge is warmer than this (above +3 or +4°C), the seeds may possibly start to germinate in it after a couple of months: check out for this regularly.
Then sow in spring; indoors in pots in early spring, or outside when all risk of frost is finished.
Resin

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 3:21PM
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pineresin

Yep, too early. Try again in mid to late October.

Can't you find wild populations in VA? Not sure I'd want to get them from a zoo, suppose the lions wanted to get some at the same time.

Resin

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 6:21PM
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ryan_tree(7aVA)

Thanks for posting that Dax, and thanks for writing it Resin ;)

There don't seem to be any wild ones growing here in the Northern VA area, but maybe way down south there are some more. I was afraid it would be too early, but thought I would give it a shot anyway seeing as desperate as I am.

And believe it or not they didn't have lions! What kind of zoo doesn't have lions?!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 7:57PM
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theforestprimeval

Still way too early. Theres wild bald cypress in southeastern virginia, there might be some closer to the bay, as well, if I recall correctly. Google it. The cones should easily come apart when they are ready, early to late october.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 8:10PM
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scotjute

I have picked them as early as mid-Sept. and had good germination rates with Tx. hill country bald cypress. Late Sept to early October is best. However note that these trees have been isolated genetically from the eastern population and may have evolved diffences in when cones are ripe, so take my information with that caveat. I seem to remember bald cypress cones on north Louisiana trees still on the trees into November.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 12:30PM
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ryan_tree(7aVA)

I'm sure there are trees down in the Southeastern parts, but I'm up in the Northern area.

I saw cones on other trees already browning and falling, so I figured these would be fine. Then again, those were pine trees. The Bald Cypress were full of cones, and figured I had nothing to lose. Oh well. I'll get some seeds some time....

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 12:59PM
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ryan_tree(7aVA)

I'm sure there are trees down in the Southeastern parts, but I'm up in the Northern area.

I saw cones on other trees already browning and falling, so I figured these would be fine. Then again, those were pine trees. The Bald Cypress were full of cones, and figured I had nothing to lose. Oh well. I'll get some seeds some time....

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 1:00PM
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pineresin

It is native north to southern Delaware, and should be common anywhere around Chesapeake Bay.

Resin

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 9:53AM
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james_va(z6/7 VA)

There are a few near Virginia Beach (First Landing State Park, for instance), in the far southeastern/coastal corner of VA, but they're a rarity north of that -- confined to just four small stands/swamps, of which the Trap Pond group in Delaware is one.

The closest to northern VA is a Maryland swamp (Battle Creek) near the Chesapeake Bay (which seems to incorrectly think it's the northernmost outpost), but these rare northern wild populations are treated preciously, so collection of cones would not be considered an, um, encouraged activity. ;-)

If you go to Teddy Roosevelt island off the GW Parkway, you can see two planted ones off the nature trail...

James

Here is a link that might be useful: Battle Creek Swamp

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 10:13PM
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ryan_tree(7aVA)

Thank you both! I will have to make a trip to that area sometime in the fall (hopefully) and see if I can find any trees.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 11:11AM
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jimmy2010

They grow in both MD and DE- east of the DC area. There's the Battlecreek Cypress Swamp in Calvert County and Trap Pond in DE, not sure which is more north but both claim to have the northern most populations. However, I've seen stands growing in other parts of the Eastern Shore that are probably more north, Martinak State Park on the Choptank River for example.

I think the best time to collect in the MD/ VA area is late October.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 5:44PM
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sat0426

Hello all! Your postings have inspired me to try and grow my own Bald Cypress trees from a native species right here on the beautiful Chickahominy River in James City county, Virginia. Thanks for the help.
I am new to growing anything, and don't have a clue so I do have a few questions that I hope you can answer. I followed Resin's good directions to the T, and have enjoyed trying.
My question/confusion however is as follows: When should I expect my Bald Cypress seeds to germinate? This past fall I put a lot of seeds into a zip lock bag with sterlized damp sand, and placed them in the bottom of my fridge. The temp remained ideal as Resin stated at around +1 degree Celsius. It's now Spring here, but my seeds have not yet germinated. I checked a couple months after putting them in the fridge as Resin mentioned but nothing had happened. I'm confused should they have already germinated or should that happen once I take them out and sow them? Sounds silly to you I bet, but I have no idea? Thanks again for the help!
Stew Thiel

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 12:35PM
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pineresin

Ideal time to take them out of the fridge, and sow them. They should germinate in 2-3 weeks after taking out of the fridge.

Resin

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 4:36PM
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sat0426

Thank you Resin that is terrifc. I can't wait to see what happens! Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 6:03PM
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