General Tree and Shrub Seed Germination Guide for Canada and North USA

General Tree and Shrub Seed Germination Guide

Stratification prepares nuts and seeds to grow when planted. Most nuts need to go through a cold moist period, usually 2 months or more, in order to trigger germination. Fresh seed can be planted in the fall shortly after harvest and they will stratify naturally. However, when planting nuts outdoors in the fall, chances are some may be “stolen” by squirrels and other small mammals.

To stratify the nuts for spring planting, the nuts can be mixed 50-50 with a moist medium like peat moss or sawdust, placed in a sealed plastic bag and stored in a refrigerator for the winter. Never freeze the nuts. They can then be planted in the spring about 5 cm (2") deep when the ground is ready to work. If the nut has sprouted when planting time comes, be sure to orient the white root downwards and take care not to break it.

If the nuts are mixed with peat moss when reaching you, please add a tiny amount of water to keep it moist. Make sure to keep it moist but not damp. Too much moist may introduce mold and damage the nuts.


Stratification: cold stratify for ~90 days.


Step 1:Large seeds like pawpaws or hazelnuts, sow 1-2" deep.

            Small seeds like elderberries or raspberries, sow 1/4"-1/2" deep.

Step 2:Tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed.

Other: can be fall-sown without stratification.

Safeguard the saplings from pest, weed and drought after they break ground. It is a long journey but full of joy. Please contact us at if you have any concerns regarding your purchase.

Native tree American Elderberry


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