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Proceedings of Past Forest Nursery Association Meetings:

Dormancy-Unlocking Seed Secrets
Carole L. Leadem
1997: Boise, ID
It is difficult, if not impossible, to know a priori what type of treatment is needed to break seed
dormancy. However, knowing the reason(s) why seeds are dormant may offer clues about what seeds
need for dormancy release. An evaluation of the habitat in which a particular species is found also may
point to the most effective dormancy treatment if the requirements for a particular species are unknown.
Dormancy may be due to: unfavourable climatic conditions, immaturity, a light requirement, genetic
variation, or protection against predation. Depending upon the type of dormancy, stratification, light,
leaching, scarification, growth regulators, or high 0 2 concentrations may be used to promote
germination. Treatments such as stratification may have to be modified to meet the particular
physiological requirements of different species. Five different types of stratification are presently used to
release dormancy of forest trees.
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