In 2010 my first year of planting stratified seed - I planted some in the fall and thru early and late winter, up to the Feb timframe.
Here in Southern Middle TN, the ground is real nice for planting in Jan/Feb, especially after a snow or freeze and thaw.
But that next spring I found that I did not have much luck with what I planted past about December.
Not sure if it was the time of planting or the quality of seed. In Jan/Feb the seed I planted was from a different source than the first so it could have just been the seed source - or getting seeds later in the year after they had been stored a while (improperly), or some of it could have been green seed (did not know enough about how to check for that yet).
This past fall 2011, I planted all of mine (3 lbs) in October, mostly the last 2-3 weeks of October.
I thought about doing more this winter, but never got past thinking about it.
So I guess you could call me, or at least I seem to be leaning towards a fall planter at this point.
If I ever get to where I just want to plant a lot more seed, I could see going at it thru October, November and December - or even longer if I wanted.
Before I did a lot more late winter/spring planting I would want to try some seed I knew was good and see how it does.
Like the others have said, it all depends on the weather and conditions where you are. Here in north central Ohio...forget spring planting on anything but the tiniest hobby scale. Way too many things that can and often do go wrong.
Those big broken limbs are due all their respect. One fell out onto a friend of mine about eight years ago, it went straight through his stomach and past his spine nailing him to the ground. After a life flight and a month in the hospital, he pulled through it. To this day he has an indention in his belly that would hold a cup full of water. They can be awfully dangerous, windy days especially.
Wow! Glad your friend is okay. That is the exact \"horror\" scenario I envisioned for myself.
First year was two years ago. I got a pound of seeds in the spring, and got good germination, both in test potting and on the hillside. Put out 100 3yo roots that spring, three came up.
Last year, I put out 5 lbs of seed in the fall, and it did terrible both in the ground and in the planters I use for a test, but I think that was a bad batch of seeds - several people had trouble last year. Also put out 10 lbs of 2yo roots, they did terrific.
Planted another 5 lbs last october, still waiting for them to come up.
So, my experience has been: planting seeds in the spring is not necessarily bad. Planting roots in the spring - not good.
I am a fall planter exclusively.We have done a small bit twenty years or so ago in the spring and the results did not compare to the fall planting.
I like to give the seed some time to get settled in the soil and maybe start to establish some microbial connections before it sprouts. This is an important part of what works for us.
I've had success with both spring and fall planting, but I prefer fall planting. With spring planting, it is sometimes hard to time the planting due to weather conditions. Plus, it is much slower planting spring seed that is already sending out a root than it is to be planting entact seed in the fall. Again, that is a timing thing, but I have found sprouting seeds in my stratification areas when the ground was still unplantable. Really adds some stress...