classicfur, so the general theory is disease takes over when crowded. I can subscribe to that assumption, but the one item that I cannot let go of is for years I find one very large plant, and no small ones around. Now, you can find smaller ones grouped together but few really old plants. I guess that makes me go with the plant getting rid of weaker ones, maybe i'm wrong, but this would be the first time.
That's a hard one to believe, especially when you have no study or documentation to back it up.
I believe that it's a miracle that one lone wild seng plant survives to be 25 years old, while all it's sibling plants have not.
I have heard of ferns and black walnuts trees putting out a toxin to keep other plants from growing next to them, but not to prevent it's own kind from growing next to them. All the ferns I ever see are always growing in large groups.
This is the first I have heard of the term Allelopathy. I looked at the link that TNhunter referenced but dont understand if it affects plants of it's own kind.
You mentioned that perhaps the plant produces infertile berries.
Berries and seeds are the result of being fertilized. The flower produces pollen which is what causes fertlization. So once a berry is formed, it has fertile seeds and if they completly develope before they are knocked off, eaten or damaged, they have the ability to become a plant.
I think that in the wild if the seeds just falls off the plant on to the ground and must keep from drying out for 18 months, makes it's chance for survival very slim.
Yep - that makes perfect sense now that you mention it. If fertilization did not happen there would be no fruit set, no berry.
It could also be that some of those big old 4 prongs all by themselves drop their berries early. I know some plants drop berries earlier than others and I do expect that the earlier the berry drops the less chance it has of making it (hotter, dryer, no quick leaf coverage).
PS - on my seed bed.
I have a good part of it planted now.
I watered it good 2-3 times this week slow and deep then waited 2-3 days and started planting roots.
It turned out to be a bit longer than I thought and I got 13 rows (across the bed) spaced out 1' each allowing for about 8 inches to spare at the top/bottom.
To encourage cross-pollination I planted them so that those 5 big mountain roots I am getting from Billy will be spaced out down the bed.
The bottom row = 4 roots (all local seng roots),
The next row up = 3 roots allowing more room for one of those big mountain roots in the middle of the bed.
Then next row up back to 4 (all local seng roots)
Then next row up = 3 roots allowing more room for one of those big mountain roots in the middle of the bed.
Repeats like that all the way up the bed.
The very top row is shorter than the others because I rounded off the top to help with drainage and water run off.
The top row will only have 2 roots in it.
Considering all 13 rows and spacing I will have 44 roots total in the bed.
Hopefully the spacing will be far enough apart that I will not have a lot of disease problems.
I have marked the location of each row with a couple sticks poked down into the bed and have some longer sticks poked in where I have reserved for those big roots Billy is getting for me.
I need 20 more roots to finish it up - counting the 5 that Billy is sending.
I will water it a bit from time to time until I get it all planted and will then lay strips of gypsum board and gypsum pieces between the rows and may even top dress with a bit more gypsum and then mulch it real good.
After I get it mulched good will not have to worry about it drying out so much.
As I was putting those roots in the ground I was remembering what some of the tops looked like (like that small 4 prong I got in my last youtube vid) and wondering what they will look like next spring.
I am sure the bud spur that has already developed for next year already has the top programmed into it so that is determined already.
Now that I have these local roots in some very good soil with mineral, calcium, bonemeal, etc - hope they do really well next year and the roots/tops grow even better.
I am looking forward to seeing some pictures of this bed next spring when they all come up.
Four years ago I transplanted about 300 good roots for seed production,but didnt till the ground or add anything except some gypsum. I have got a lot of seeds from my patch over the years,some producing 30 or better berries this year.
Yep - I am looking forward to seeing them next spring too. Got something to look forward too now other than turkey hunting, fishing and gardening.
Hey Guys - I am almost done with this project now for the year anyway.
I got those 5 big ole mountain roots from Billy and planted them and some more that I harvested yesterday morning, then today I found 3 more real nice roots and finished up the planting. Think that is a total of 44 roots in that bed.
They are all real nice wild roots and from 5 different areas so should have some nice cross-pollination happening.
After I got the last few planted today I put 3 more lbs of gypsum on top and watered it in. I also put all of those larger flake rocks on the bed in between where the roots were planted.
Then I took some Gypsum Board that I had stored up stairs and cut it up into 3\" strips and put it down in between the rows of roots and put some 10-12\" sticks in on the downhill side to keep the gypsum board from washing down the hill.
I then put on 2 more 50 lb bags of that dark reed sledge peat material and filled in the area between the gypsum board strips.
I planted those roots so that the bud spur was about 1/2 inch deep, then added that peat on top of that so the bud spur should be around 1' deep now.
Here is a couple of pics showing what I got done this evening.
About all that is left to do is thrash that wheat straw good and then put on a nice layer of that. Will get to that soon.
This has been a lot of work, hope it pays off well. Having my own seed to plant for many many years to come (Good Lord Willing) and some big old seng plants to look at when ever I want - yep that will be worth it.
PS - Classicfur - I checked with someone who should know today and they said the rock out croppings and bluffs that we have around here are Limestone. So yes my PH is higher than what Scott recommends. I have seen others recommending up in the 6.5 PH range and I know for sure that big healthy seng grows in that rocky soil on the bluffs around here - so hopefully I will be OK on that.
I have been following along with this thread and reading everything.I have learned some things from your hard work on this bed Tnhunter concerning the prep: etc.I will be looking forward to seeing a photo of your nice bed...