Problem with moldy seeds

Discussion in 'PALM TREES - WHERE TROPICAL STARTS' started by kenamac, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. kenamac

    kenamac Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    VT 3-4 GTC 9-10
    Well since I don't seem to be able to Edit the subject line it should read:
    "PROBLEM with moldy seeds"

    Hello from Vermont! I’m a new member (also pretty much a novice at palm growing), and though I told Dean I would not post until I had at least 1 sprout from the seeds I’m germinating, this situation changes things. I’ve got an emergency problem (at least to me); my seeds are Moldy! I also wanted to post some photos and a bit about my obsession which I will do in the near future.

    Technically I do have a sprout, but it’s a Cycad, 1 of 5 Cycas panzhihuaensis seeds. I started all my seeds between 12/19-12/24/09. Here’s an outline of my germination journal as it best explains the situation:

    • Chamaedorea elegans Neantha Bella Palm Whatcom 12/3, 12 seeds, soaked 48hrs, started in baggy 12/19/09. T ~90F

    • Licuala grandis Ruffled Fan Palm - Whatcom 12/3, 8 seeds, soaked 48hrs, started in baggy 12/19/09. ~90F.

    • Kerriodoxa elegans Whatcom 12/3, 8 seeds, soaked 48hrs, started in baggy 12/19/09. T 90F, moldy 12/31, treat w/ Serenade.

    • Chamaedorea metallica Kinni_koala, Ebay 12/6, r’ced12/23/09 10 seeds, soaked 24hrs, bagged 12/24 , ~90F.

    • Chambeyronia macrocarpa, Ebay 12/7, arrived 12/17 after 24hr@ 10-20deg F (in mailbox), soaked 24hr, bagged 12/18, T ~90F

    • Cycas panzhihuaensis, Whatcom 12/3, 5 seeds, soaked 4 days, started in baggy 12/24/09. T 90F, 1st sprout 12/29/09, planted in community pot 12/29 with other 4 as they had become moldy, so treated with Serenade and placed in new growth area 12/30/09, ~ 80deg, 2 4’ 40watt grow lights ~5000 ft candle

    • !/3/10 Went through all seeds and found mold in most batches. Removed and washed all seeds in warm water, treated with Serenade, put in new shallow Rubbermaid containers with fresh Sphagnum moss, and returned to warmer.

    • 1/5/10 Checked again and found some of the treated seeds again had mold.


    Is there something else I can do to slow/ stop the mold? As you can see I didn’t pre-treat with a Fungicide because it seemed that the sources I checked were ambiguous as to whether this was effective. Is it too late to soak in bleach?

    Serenade is an “organic fungicide” containing Bacillus subtilis.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Susan

    PS I started all the seeds before joining this forum and I've since read all the posts so I feel like I kind of know you all!





     
  2. MattyB

    MattyB Moderator

    Messages:
    449
    Location:
    Spring Valley, CA
    Re: Prolbem with moldy seeds

    Hi Susan, Welcome!
    You're discovering the problem with germinating with heat in a sealed baggy. You've gotta be absolutely sterile if you're gonna use this method. This includes cleaning all the fruit off, soaking in a weak bleach solution, soaking in fungicide, sterilizing your medium (I use 100% perlite to avoid these hassles), making sure your medium is just slightly moist, never wet, seriously almost dry. It's too much of a pain for me to do anymore. If you can keep them from rotting, you should have very quick and successful germination. Good luck.
     
  3. kenamac

    kenamac Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    VT 3-4 GTC 9-10
    Re: Prolbem with moldy seeds

    Thanks Matty, I do have a bag of perlite; I think it would be easier for me to keep track of what's happening using that (it's been hard to find to seeds in moss). I originally thought the bag method would be best with my dry and often cold (60's) house.

    And this project of seeds was to help my cabin fever which started with the 1st snowflake this year!
    Susan
     
  4. palmnerd

    palmnerd Well-Known Member

    Re: Prolbem with moldy seeds

    Hi Susan, You could also try treating your germinating medium with any mild fungicide. Copper and sulfer based products work good. You could use neem as well. I sprout a lot of seeds year 'round using the "baggie method". I'm usually too lazy to treat my seeds and have not suffered too much loss. If I am trying to germinate something special I will take the fugicide route. And by the way I think some of that New England weather has spilled down here to Florida. Yikes it's terrible down here for a palm freak!! Best of luck with your future growing.
     
  5. kenamac

    kenamac Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    VT 3-4 GTC 9-10
    Thanks Palmnerd, I'll try that; I don't have any here but our garden center loves to have me stop by as they mainly get clean this time of year! I do have some captan but I haven't been able to find a concentration for this application. Also I'll try to keep the cold up here!

    At least here I know when it's time to bring the my palms inside and at the moment I'm still able to bring them in. I'll try to upload a couple of photos. These are my Vermont palms but, I also have my Abaco plams. It may take me sme time to put up photos of those.

    Also Matty, do you have a dryness gage for perlite? With the moss I just squeezed it dry. That's not as easy with perlite.

    Thanks much!

    Susan
     

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  6. MattyB

    MattyB Moderator

    Messages:
    449
    Location:
    Spring Valley, CA
    Re: Prolbem with moldy seeds

    Good question about how to judge the moisture of the perlite. I'm not sure how I gauge it. I usually just pour some in a bucket, spray some water in, and mix it up thoroughly until the dust stops forming when you turn it. It should still feel light, fall apart easily, and not want to clump up too much. It's hard to describe, it's a feel thing. But start on the dry side and once you seal up the baggy and put it on bottom heat you should see condensation forming on the inside of the baggy and you can judge the moisture level from that too. You can always spritz it as needed. Basically, you'll be keeping the seeds in a humid air based environment, as opposed to being burried in wet soil.
     

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