preparing locust seeds for planting

(Question)

Could you please inform me as to the proper procedures in the germination of locust tree seeds. These seeds are dark brown and about the size of a large apple seed. For example, should they be scarified; should they be left outside before or after being scarified; and the depth of planting (if any).

(Answer)

Dear Gardener,

By your description of the seeds, you may be talking about Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) and not Black Locust whose seeds are larger.

In nature, Honeylocust seeds go through a process of scarification when digested by animals. You can speed the process of germination by boiling some water, then remove the pot from the heat element and add the seeds to the water until the water cools and the seeds swell. This process will ‘crack’ the seed coat and allow permeability.

Once swollen, you can plant the seed in moist potting soil, covered with a plastic bag and place in a sunny location until germination;  you can then plant it outside next spring. If you have sufficient seeds, you can try planting some of the swollen seeds directly outside now in a pot filled with potting soil and buried in the garden. Some studies show that Honeylocust seed embryos require natural stratification to break dormancy. Sometimes experimenting with various germination methods, will provide a lot of satisfaction.

 

Good luck and hope you have found the information helpful.