The Rural New-Yorker, 66: 304 (Apr 6, 1907)
Walter Van Fleet

Will you give practical directions as to the selection, care and rules for planting apple, pear and peach seeds?
F. B., Granby, O.

Will you tell me how to plant rose seeds to get them to germinate? I have planted them a good many times with failure. I have now a quantity of Tea and Hybrid Perpetual seed on hand, and would be glad for any information on the subject.
W. G., Diagonal, lowa.

Much has been said in these columns about the care of the seeds above named. With the exception of seeds of tender Tea and everblooming roses of the Multiflora or Polyantha group, all succeed well if sown as soon as ripe, in boxes or prepared seed beds in the garden, and protected during Winter from vermin by covering of wire netting, and later with straw or litter to lessen the danger of being thrown out by frost, or they may be stratified by mixing with moist sand and stored over Winter in cellar or outbuilding exposed to moderate frost, and planted in Spring. Apple and pear seeds may be sown in drills 20 inches apart, dropping them an inch apart and covering one-half inch deep. Peach pits should be planted in rows at least three feet apart for convenience in cultivating and budding the seedlings, and would better be set on edge four or five inches distant from each other, and covered about two inches deep. If healthy peach pits are well stratified the kernels may so swell by Spring that the shells are easily cracked with a light hammer, or even separated by the fingers. The kernels may then be planted with good assurance of an even stand of seedlings. Although fruit seeds should, whenever possible, be planted or stratified when quite fresh the dried seeds found in commerce give fair results if they have been properly stored. Severe drying not only lessens the germinating power, but appears to have a weakening effect on the seedlings that finally come up.

Seeds of Hybrid Perpetual and other hardy garden roses may be treated like those of apple or pear, but as germination is very irregular and the little plants more readily injured than fruit-tree seedlings they are best sown in pots or boxes, and given the protection of a frame or other glass structure. Rose fruits or heps should, as a rule, be picked as soon as they begin to color and the seeds either secured by cutting open with knife, cracking with the hammer, or rotting in wet sand, which is soon accomplished in warm weather. The seeds may then be washed out. When secured by either the above methods they should at once be sown or stratified in moist, not wet, sand and stored in a cool place. Old dried seeds are very unsatisfactory, but if valuable, may be to some extent revived by packing in layers of moist sand in a perforated box—or in other words, stratifying them—and burying the box in well-drained soil 20 inches or more deep for a year before planting. This depth is so great that sprouting is not likely to occur, but the living kernels remain dormant while the hard, bony shells soften and decay. We have had a fair proportion of old rose seeds thus treated come up within two weeks after planting. If it is necessary to keep rose seeds dry any considerable time they are better preserved in the hep than if taken out. Seeds of Tea, Hybrid Tea and many small-flowered roses of the Multiflora class occasionally germinate within 10 days if planted as soon as the heps are partially colored. Other kinds may remain in the soil under the best conditions as long as three years before sprouting. There is now a pot of hybridized Cherokee rose seeds in the Rural Grounds glasshouse planted October 11, 1903. The first seedling came up last November—37 months after sowing—and several others have since appeared. The pot has been kept in the greenhouse during Winter, and in a sheltered frame outside throughout the Summer, the soil being well moistened in Winter, but allowed nearly to dry out in Summer.