Dogwood producers occasionally face a shortage of flowering dogwood seed. Storing excess seed during years when seed are abundant would allow growers to stabilize their seed supply. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of seed moisture and storage temperature on the viability of stored flowering dogwood seed. Seed were collected in Fall 1999 and 2000, dried to 6, 10 and 14% moisture content, and stored at 22, 5 and −20C (72, 41 and −4F) for 1, 2 and 3 years. Following storage, seed were cold stratified and sown in a greenhouse. Percent germination and seedling dry weight were recorded. Seed stored at 22C (72F) quickly lost viability. At 5C (41F), seed moisture content was critical, with seed dried to 14% moisture content germinating poorly after 2 years and failing to germinate after 3 years in storage. In general, storage at −20C (−4F) was superior to storage at 5C (41F). Seed moisture content was not as critical at −20C (−4F) as it was at 5C (41F), but may become more important if length of storage is extended past 3 years. Based on the results of this study, it is recommended that seed be dried to 6 to 10% moisture prior to storage, stored in air-tight containers, and stored in a −20C (−4F) freezer.

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Author notes

Mention of trade names of commercial products in the publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

2Research Geneticist.