Join ACS
Member Login

Home \ Discussion \ Conifer FAQ \ Araucaria araucana artificial pollenation

Araucaria araucana artificial pollenation (5 Replies)

Posted December 23, 2015 at 1:00 am

Hi, I am a new member of the ACS and a proud owner of two mature Monkey Puzzle Trees that produces viable seed cones on my property. At this time I have achieved a 60% germination success rate. I am interested in increasing my seed yield by attempting to artificially pollinate other local mature trees in the area. My question to the forum, has anybody out there performed such a task? Your experience would be greatly appreciated. I know the male pollen cones mature is late summer to early fall but I am not sure what the physical stage of growth the female cone is at the time of pollination. Thanks in advance for any help you could offer.
Sincerely,
Ramon Mendoza

Cancel Edit
Save
Posted December 23, 2015 at 9:28 pm

Hi Ramon,
welcome to the ACS. It’s always interesting to hear from new members and the things that interest them about conifers. Unfortunately the question you ask today is very esoteric and there are likely very few of our members who have been brave enough to even try to hand-pollinate Monkey Puzzle trees. Theoretically I would think it’s pretty straight forward, but I’d like to know what you plan on going about it physically. I mean birds don’t even like to land in those trees. How do you plan on going about climbing around in the crown of a mature tree without suffering a million razor cuts???

Cancel Edit
Save
Posted December 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Hi David,
Thanks for the warm welcome. I must confess that the this years seed cones harvest was quite eventful, I utilization a make shift ladder system that allowed me to reach the ripe cones located about +50′. I wasn’t able line up a boom truck fast enough, the blue jays made short order of 5 ripe cones within hours. If I delayed reaching the ripe cones they would have taken all viable seeds within 1 day. So to answer your question, a well planned out boom truck effort to avoid my make shift ladder system next season. So access would be done using a bucket truck both for pollination & harvest. Extracting the pollen, administering the pollen, protecting the cone from blue jays and what is the physical characteristics of the female cone when ready to be pollinated is what I am looking to better understand. Thanks again for your reply
Sincerely,
Ramon

Cancel Edit
Save
Posted December 24, 2015 at 2:32 pm

Hi Ramon! So glad that you were able to get on, finally! I have pinged a couple of experts in the SE region where they have more experience with these trees. Not everyone in the Society is a technology fan, so if we don’t hear from them, I’ll email you their names and contact info and you can address them directly. Your project is more ambitious than most…
I see you are standing in front of Mount Rushmore in your photo – that was the site of my Pinus ponderosa confusion last year. I couldn’t ID the native pines (which were everywhere). They have two needles per cluster. Well I am a Californian and CA ponderosas have THREE needles per cluster. Only when I got back to the hotel and was able to do some research did I find that the ones in that part of the country have two needles. Just when I think I have something nailed…

Cancel Edit
Save
Posted December 25, 2015 at 11:41 pm

Hi Ramon, That’s quite an ambitious project! You are fortunate to live in an area where they thrive and reproduce, and obviously have both sexes nearby. Here in the southeast it is susceptible to root pathogens so the best we can do is graft it onto the more tolerant roots of A. angustifolia.
When you say you had 60% viability, is that based on one year’s worth of observations? At least in the wild, Araucaria often have better “mast” years than others, so by simply letting nature take its course, some years you might end up with more seeds that you’d ever want to deal with (if there is such a thing!), and other years you might get next to nothing. But of course if you are motivated to go through the effort and don’t want to wait for a mast year, artificial pollination would surely increase the chances of thorough pollination, compared with relying on wind-blown pollen to land on the female cones in sufficient amounts. I am not sure how to tell what a receptive female cone looks like, but in general when pollen is being shed the females should be more or less naturally synchronized. Have you looked online for literature that may be of help? I did a quick search and found a few that look like they might offer some insights. Some are focused on A. angustifolia, but likely applicable to A. araucana as they are each other’s closest living relatives compared to the old world Araucaria species. Links below to a few of the papers I found – there may very well be others if you look deeper. One of the following papers in in Portuguese but if you can translate it looks like it might be very helpful based on the English abstract. Good luck and hope you are successful – sounds like a good idea for a future article in the ACS newsletter!
http://www.scielo.br/pdf/cerne/v18n2/a09v18n2.pdf
http://www.scielo.br/pdf/babt/v51n4/v51n4a03.pdf
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1442-9993.2007.01792.x/abstract
Adam

Cancel Edit
Save
Posted December 26, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Hi Adam,

First of all thanks to Sara for all her efforts in getting my login account figured out.

Adam, I truly appreciate your reply and expertise. Yes I have looked online but have not been able to locate any detailed information to my questions and project. I am excited to check out the papers you have found. I will also research the A. angustifolia life cycle since they are so closely related to the A. araucana. The 60% is based on a 4 months period after sowing, this is my first growing season. I do expect the germination percentage to increase, likely at a slower rate during the winter period, since the heated greenhouse ambient temperature is lower now then when first sowed back in August 15th. Its my goal to develop a successful process to artificially pollinate the A. araucana and become an experienced grower for this unique and endangered species. Thanks again for your feedback, its well appreciated.

Sincerely,
Ramon

Cancel Edit
Save

You must be to reply to this topic.

Tex_CircleOak_20120716_0325