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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Blackthorn, aka sloe. Prunus spinosa.

I searched all over for sources of cuttings or trees. The UK sources I found don't ship here. The three USA sources were out of stock. So I just purchased seeds from Chiltern Seeds in the UK.

I could be in trouble for this one - if the grandkids get all scratched up. It will do no good to tell them to stay away. Won't be the first time...........or the last.

Prunus spinosa.jpg
 

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Your going to try your hand at growing?
 

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Your going to try your hand at growing?
Yes, the seeds should be here by the last freeze. If they arrive sooner, I will have peat pots going indoors anyway for my peppers and I can get them started. I checked the climate zones map and, although Oklahoma is near the southern limit, they might just make it here.

The soil in my backyard is a silty, sandy loam, very well drained, with slopes that help as well. I have two corners that could work. My only problem will be with my wife and daughter whose objections to the spines in a yard where the grandkids run wild will likely be expressed. I have not a clue as to how long it will take these things to sprout. All the UK companies I found that sell the cuttings and saplings do not ship to the USA. Three U.S. companies I found were out of stock. So seeds it is.

I'm 66, so they had better grow fast!

I feel better with the oak shillelagh that I'm working on, now that I discovered that the early ones were also made of oak, not just from blackthorn.

However, the knobs that are crafted from the blackthorn root are attractive and I have read that the oaks gradually disappeared from cutting (for firewood ?) in Ireland, causing them to begin to use the blackthorn.

For me, it's just about a memory of my Grandfather.

World English Dictionary

shillelagh or shillala (ʃəˈleɪlə, -lɪ, Irish ʃɪˈleːlə, ʃəˈleɪlə, -lɪ, Irish ʃɪˈleːlə)

- n

(in Ireland) a stout club or cudgel, esp one made of oak or blackthorn

[C18: from Irish Gaelic sail cudgel + éille leash, thong]
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A little Miracle Grow and you will be good to go! :)
I hope so. I'll try to find some literature on the pH and shade/sun tolerance. I think the native plants were an understory growth, but if they were planted as hedge rows, they must also tolerate a lot of sun.
 

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Prunus spinosa, blackthorn, sloe, whatever - the seeds have arrived!

http://walkingstickforum.com/gallery/image/132-irish-blackthorn-seeds/

Last night I soaked the seeds in water for several hours and then planted them about an inch deep in peat pots. Then, I stumbled onto a website that said they should be planted at a depth of only 2 mm. Now, I may get some tweezers and try to raise them a bit before things begin to happen.

These will sprout (I hope) a little too late but we shall see whether they can survive the first hot summer and the first winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have a black thumb. The proof is in the pudding - the Prunus spinosa seeds did not come up. Nurserymen have told me that they are difficult to grow, requiring careful "stratification", whatever that is.

After searching many U.S. nurseries, I found the final one remaining at forestfarm at Pacifica ( http://www.forestfarm.com/contact_us.php ), and it was in the 4'-6' category, much larger than I wanted and expensive. But, if this doesn't happen now, it may never, so without checking with my CFO I ordered it. It should ship by UPS this Wednesday or Thursday.

The nursery in North Dakota may have some in this Fall.
 

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CAS, stratification is basicly similating winter by storing seeds in moist soil in a cold, or sometimers warm, place for a specific period of time. I think Blackthorn has a long stratification period of about 180 days or so. My fear is that even if you get them to germinate that your climate might be too hot, I think you're in zone 7. I stratified Osage orange and Hickory for growing sticks this winter. I'm also growing Honey locust and Black locust, but those don't require stratification
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
CAS, stratification is basicly similating winter by storing seeds in moist soil in a cold, or sometimers warm, place for a specific period of time. I think Blackthorn has a long stratification period of about 180 days or so. My fear is that even if you get them to germinate that your climate might be too hot, I think you're in zone 7. I stratified Osage orange and Hickory for growing sticks this winter. I'm also growing Honey locust and Black locust, but those don't require stratification
Thanks Marcus! Then, I'll never be able to grow P. spinosa from seed. The one coming by UPS should make it. It supposedly tolerates USDA zones 4-11, a very broad range, and Tulsa is about in the middle at 6b. I have well-drained silt loam with only moderate morning shade where I want to plant it. I will try to find more this Fall, if it does well.
 

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That's great, I didn't know they tolerated all the way down to zone 11, I thought they needed a much colder climate. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That's great, I didn't know they tolerated all the way down to zone 11, I thought they needed a much colder climate. Good luck!
Well, that's only if the websites on the internet are accurate. At least it's not a political website, so there is a chance the information is good.
 

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If they say it will grow between 4 and 11 it should be fine, maybe try it in the shade before putting it in full sun. You should be in the middle of Osage country, which is what I opted for, you might try your hand at that as well. Osage only requires 30 days of stratification. My seedlings are already 2.5 " tall. I'm adding a link to a site that I have purchased from before, I see they offer Blackthorn seeds if you can't find from other sources.https://sheffields.com/seed_genus_species_lot/Prunus/spinosa
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, Tulsa County is immediately SE of Osage County, home of the Osage Nation, although Bois d'Arc is found across a broad range.
Those get too large (as if I would live that long) for the garden hedgerow I want, but I do have a spot where one could grow. Don't know whether I want to mess with picking up those "horse apples" although it seems like I read somewhere that a male cultivar is available. Alternatively, my grandparents would throw them under their house, thinking that they would repel insects. I could place them along the concrete slab. But, that would be too many years hence anyway.
 

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I like making shillelagh/knob style sticks, so I only need 3/4" to 1" diameter for the shaft. I think I have a pruning method that will yield several sticks per branch which I have already started wity my crab apples, but they grow pretty slow. From what I have read Osage has a rapid growth rate, hopefully this is true. My plan is to keep the trees short and spread out the branches and work from there.
 

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I have a minor certificate in Ornamental Horticulture and a personal interest in propagation technique.

As far as seed stratification goes, 3 to 4 months in the fridge ought to do it.
 

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I have a minor certificate in Ornamental Horticulture and a personal interest in propagation technique.

As far as seed stratification goes, 3 to 4 months in the fridge ought to do it.
After doing some reading, 2 months should do the trick nicely.
 

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On the USDA web site it says that Blackthorn is naturalized in 15 states in the US and over a wide area of Canada so why is it impossible to buy seedlings? I have searched the internet for 3 years for plants (having failed at my attempt to grow them from seed) and have yet to find a single nursery that has them. Someone has a fence row full of these things that could be cashing in but doesn't know it I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
On the USDA web site it says that Blackthorn is naturalized in 15 states in the US and over a wide area of Canada so why is it impossible to buy seedlings? I have searched the internet for 3 years for plants (having failed at my attempt to grow them from seed) and have yet to find a single nursery that has them. Someone has a fence row full of these things that could be cashing in but doesn't know it I guess.
My single seedling from a nursery in Oregon (?) survived my yard guy's lashing with a weedeater and a winter that included two ice storms. It hasn't grown much and I don't see signs of it's "invasive" habit as yet. It was costly, and when I inquired about another they had none. I'll dig through receipts and see if I can find the name of the nursery.
 

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We have a couple of basswood trees that we acquired several years ago in the border lakes area of the Superior National Forest in Mn. We were in an area where the Forest Service had done a prescribed burn a couple years before and there were hundreds upon hundreds of seedling basswood and pines popping up all over. We dug up 3 of the basswoods with a tablespoon and brought them home in coffee cups. What's crazy is the one in the pot and the one in the yard were the same size when we transplanted them. The one in the yard outgrew its pot in two years and since I transferred it to the yard its grows like the its on steroids. At the rate its growing I'll be harvesting branches for carving materials in a couple more years.

The third one I planted outside the fenced in portion of our property and "Bambi" or his relatives think its the drive through at McDonald's.
 

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