Pine Seeds - Stratification?

Hello everyone!

Do Pine Seeds need a cold stratification?

Is it enough to put them in late fall into the soil and let nature do its magic?

Thank you :grin:

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I normally soak them for a few hours and toss out the floaters. I then sow in a seed flat and put it outside for the winter. I normally cover the seed flat with wire mesh to keep the squirrels out. If you get a warm spell in January/February with a good cold spell you will need to get them some protection from the extreme cold. I had a batch that started to sprout (nothing above the surface) and then died due to some temps below -10C (14F).

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Mix the seeds with slightly damp, fine gravel a few weeks before sowing. I put the whole thing in a small screw-top jar and put it in the fridge. When the seeds start to grow, sow them.
I have done it like this several times and it works very well.


Im just a self learned hobiest… In my experience it just improves germination %. I have alot of bad habits that just work for me. if i go text book i fail lol. Seeds are what got me into bonsai. I have failed constantly with all junipers and Psuedolarax wich is a false larch like the Chinese golden larch… many seeds can take over a year… like the sakura and hinoki… and i heard rumor that juniper can take 4… dry maples will sproud if sew them late spring , speratic sprouting till the following spring. If you cold strat pines its best i found to soak 24 hours then start the cold strat or fall sewing… i highly advise u check on them often regardles if natural or artificial stratification. the roots in most seedlings can be pruned once the first true leaves statr to emerge. just the vary end, like a few mm only. i had some success just cutting the tree off the roots and sticking the trunk in a medium like a cutting but not as successful. snipping the tip i hardly lose anything… i hope i helped a little. trial by fire i lost alot of money winging it. watch out for fungus gnats and earwigs… larvea will destroy the roots of a new seedling fast… birds too, they eat the tops. ( addition) paper towel method on trees , the fine roots will cling to it and tare off, but it will show mold easier.

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I have grown Scots Pine from seed the last 3 years in Sweden. I collect the seeds myself. I simply put the seeds in a seed tray filled with a mix of decomposed pine bark and pumice. I sow them the autumn and leave the trays out over the winter. I do not know the exact success rate since I usually just mix a bunch of seeds in with the substrate, but I would guess that approximately 40% of the seeds germinate. Maybe not the best method if you pay för the seeds, but with collected seeds it is good enough.



I only ever sow my seeds once they have germinated this saves me alot of wasted time and a poor yield rate etc. I have only tried this with JBP and JRP seeds… so not sure if it would work with others:

I have my dry JBP and JRP seeds in the fridge and when ever I want to germinate some I do the following:

  1. I float them in water for a night or two in a big glass of water.
  2. I fill a glass of water up and mix in a tea spoon of white vinegar I then wet a few sheets of kitchen paper so its damp but not soaking wet.The seeds that both sunk and floated are placed then folded up in the damp kitchen paper.

These are then placed in sealed sandwich bags, placed on a plate and put in the fridge for a a few weeks to a month.


  1. After that I take them out and leave them in a dark hallway at room temperature for around 2 weeks.
  2. Keep an eye on the bag, once the seeds start germinating they will start growing and start pushing the bag up, you may also see the roots growing through the paper towel:

  1. Make sure you see green on the stem before you sow them:


these can them be removed and sown into seed trays etc


What time of year do you do all that?

Early spring time… around feb where I live… On a further note people are always asking how they get buds down lower… This season I have just cut the tops off the seedlings at decandling time and they have budded back:

before (May 24th):

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After (13th July):

Out of 25 I’ve only lost 4 doing this to them… not sure the cause of death.

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That’s awesome. Thanks for all the thorough information!

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I’ve been doing similar things on seedling Ponderosa and shore pines. What do you do with 8 buds on a stick…:rofl: got buds lower down, too.
@Drew I see you are utilizing deep pots.
I have tried to keep roots shallow. I cut the tap root at first spring. Lose few seedlings. Again in third year. Otherwise I get few feeder roots up high.
Also, there is the standard Japanese technique for radial roots on pines. Cut the seedling root off completely at base of seedling, dip in root hormone, and pot up in wet fine sand.
I’ve done that with limited success.
6 year old 8" tall pine in 2" pot. I do decandling and fall de-buding. Needs one more level of limbs…


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They are planted in 2 litre water bottles that are sitting on top of pond baskets (colanders) I am growing negeari (exposed root) style bonsai, I’m not aiming to grow shallow roots with these ones.