Bang for Your Buck(eye): Sprouting Tree Seeds


| 10/3/2018 9:13:00 AM


Ohio buckeyes are easy to sprout. 

Last Sunday, the family went down to my father-in-law’s house for a visit. He has a couple Ohio buckeye trees by the driveway, and my six-year-old made a beeline for the grass to search for fallen nuts. After filling her hands with, oh, I don’t know, like, four buckeyes, Emery insisted that she needed a bag so she could pick up more from the yard.

My father-in-law told her where the bags were in the drawer, and said, “I ain’t gonna pick ‘em up. I hit them with the mower, so the hulls are off.”

Needless to say, we came home with a gallon zipper bag full of buckeyes. And they really are quite beautiful. Named for resembling a deer’s eye, the buckeye is a glossy, deep brown nut that is perfect for fall displays and jewelry (can I get an O-H?). However, I don’t know about you, but I don’t really know what to do with a gallon bag of buckeyes, since they are poisonous and I’m not really a crafter.

But after thinking about it, I decided that every good Ohioan ought to have a buckeye tree and looked up tips on how to sprout buckeyes. Most of the instructions seem straight-forward and not too laborious that I would get tired of the whole ordeal.



The first tip I read was that buckeyes need to be planted relatively quickly after falling because they can lose viability and may not germinate, so I got right to work. I was advised to try to sprout more buckeyes than I needed. So I put eight buckeyes in an old plastic superhero cup that my kids no longer used and soaked them in water for 24 hours. I read that any floating buckeyes would not sprout, and to chuck them into the trash. I had one rise to the top, and pitched it.

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