I spent a very cold couple of hours collecting cones from an isolated group of amazing Blue Atlantic Cedar trees. The trees are of immense stature and must be at least two centuries old.
Using a ladder to acces the lower branches I couldn't reach enough cones for my liking. I conected together the four sections of an ancient aluminium polesaw that now only has a hook attachment remaining. Using this I could reach around 10 meters (33ft) up into the trees. By hooking the cones and giving them a sharp tug I could snap off the cones, causing very little damage to the branches.
After a couple of hours I had amassed several hundred cones, now the fun of extracting the seed begins. For most conifers you need to dry out the cones to allow the seed to fall out from between the cone scales. This does not however seem to work for cedrus atlantica glauca.
After a little internet research I found a recommendation to soak the cones in water to soften then so that the scales will relax and begin to break apart. So far, after two days of soaking I have opened up a few cones to find very limited water penetration - more patience needed I guess.
I have so far found that the only way to exract the seed has been to drill out the core of each cone and then remove each scale one at a time, picking out the plump seeds as I go. This method is not to difficult, but very time consuming for several hundred cones. So far I have managed to collect about 150 grams of seed using this method, but I need to get the seeds extracted as it will soon be time to start their pretreatment for Spring sowing. The seeds are lovely and fat and have not been subjected to any drying which quickly damages the viability, the parent trees are stunning and their offspring will make beutifull specimens - I am sure.
Once the water has soaked into the cones it may be possible to freeze them to force the scales apart, at least that is what I have read.
Thanks for reading, All the best - Michael
About the author
I have always had a passion for trees and woodlands and spend my time looking at and thinking about little else. You can read much more about me on my "About Me" page listed at the foot of the pages list.