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Sowing seeds of fireweed-Epilobium angustifolium

Posted by wisconsitom 4/5 WI (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 25, 13 at 9:41

AKA Chamerion angustifolium; Has anyone here successfully begun a patch of this plant via seed? Specifically, I'm planning on a dormant seeding which for my area usually is done after mid-October. The idea is that frost action will place the seeds at just the proper depth-hardly any-in the soil for germination the following spring.

Anybody see anything wrong with this plan? Other than you don't like fireseed! I've got some big areas up at my tree farm that would be great for this plant for a while, until the forest takes over.

BTW, this is native to my state. But as far as I've seen, there is presently none on my land.

Thanks in advance.......+oM


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RE: Sowing seeds of fireweed-Epilobium angustifolium

Hi Wisconsintom,

I have started Chamerion angustifolium from seed. Got the seeds from Prairie Moon Nursery, sowed them in early winter via winter-sowing about 3 years ago, and got lots of germination. They sat in the container over the first winter and they survived fine so they are quite hardy. Planted the seedlings out the next Spring in an area where I have previously burned brush - figured they would like that!

The plants are hanging on and even spread a little, however the deer must LOVE this plant, because they eat it down every year and I've yet to see a single bloom. I only get light deer browsing in the back, and it is generally in the wilder area and always the same plants, Jewelweed, certain asters, fireweed, etc. so these must be their favorites.

For your purposes I would assume you purchase bulk seed and frost-seed, which sounds like a great plan. Or direct sow in the fall and mimic their natural dispersal mechanisms, which I believe is far and wide via wind on their "fluff".

It sounds like a great choice for your young forest, such a beautiful plant (at least in pictures since I haven't seen a bloom yet, haha).


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RE: Sowing seeds of fireweed-Epilobium angustifolium

Thanks much, Terrene. I think that, based on your response, what I'll do is have my farmer guy work up a few smallish patches of ground, < than one acre each, and hand sow after all chance of germination is past for this growing season, what you refer to as frost-seeding.

Do you happen to know of a seeding rate for this species on a per acre basis? This more for at my work, where I also wish to start some patches of this species to "diversify the diversity" a bit, by which I mean, around our stormwater ponds, etc. we've installed many a prairie planting, and I wish to get something going more akin to what this area would have actually had-not much for prairie up here- but there would have been temporary clearings following forest fire and other disturbance, with plants like this fireweed taking over for a while. I've done some looking but have not seen any direct reference to a per-acre or per 1000 square ft. seeding rate.

thanks again....+oM


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RE: Sowing seeds of fireweed-Epilobium angustifolium

These seeds need a fairly lengthy period of cold stratification so I doubt they would sprout no matter when you scatter the seed in the fall.

Isn't frost seeding when you sow seeds after the ground has already frozen, in late winter? From what I understand ideal conditions for frost seeding are when temps are below freezing at night, above freezing during the day, and no little or no snow cover. This creates a honey comb effect in the soil and the seed will settle into the little cracks.

Sorry +om, I have no idea how much seed you would need to spread!


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RE: Sowing seeds of fireweed-Epilobium angustifolium

Yeah, I just mean a dormant fall seeding, one in which the intent is for the seeds to not germinate until the following spring. We do this all the time with various native seed mixes.

In my part of the world, mid-Oct. usually gets you there.

+oM


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