A ten day aerated water soak was developed as a seed conditioning treatment for red oak (Quercus rubra L.). Conditioned seeds had higher germination completeness, uniformity and speed compared to control seeds. Seeds could be conditioned under a wide range of temperatures and durations. Conditioned seeds were maintained at 7(0)C for 30 days without loss of seed quality. During conditioning, pericarps split in response to seed hydration. Split pericarps could be used as a pre-sowing indicator for high quality seeds. Seed conditioning was ineffective on dormant seeds. Increased crop uniformity and higher stand establishment can be realized by subjecting red oak acorns to an aerated water soak treatment followed by selecting seeds with split pericarps. These results are especially important in container production systems where limited numbers of value seeds are available.
Quercus rubra; acorns; stratification; aerated water soak; germination capacity; seed storage; seedling quality