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Proceedings of the International Plant Propagator's Society

Vol. 46

Breaking of Tree Seed Dormancy at Controlled Moisture Content

Martin Jensen

pp: 296-304


In nature it is very common for seeds to have mechanisms that delay germination for shorter or longer periods. This delay or temporary inhibition of germination is often termed seed dormancy, and covers a range of different physical, chemical, and biological conditions in the seeds. More than 60% of Danish tree and shrub seeds have some kind of dormancy. In commercial production seed dormancy constitutes a major problem, causing losses of viable seed resources and reducing possibilities for optimizing the size of the production to the demand of the market.

In breaking physiological dormancy by a prechilling or cold stratification treatment, the seed has traditionally been fully hydrated and kept at a near maximum moisture content (MC), sometimes mixed with peat moss or sand, and prechilled at 2 to 5C for a time period required for the seed to initiate germination at the storage temperature. The duration of the prechilling treatment depends on the species and the

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