TN, that plant and a few other threes are quite larger than the fours I found recently.
I figured seng might gain prongs as they age but now wonder if they are predisposed to a certain number of prongs at germination or at some point along the way. Have you read or experienced anything along these lines? I've assumed that seng, as they age, grow additional prongs until mature, which makes me expect, more prongs, larger in size, which is not necessarily the case.
Once I finish searching that area, I will determine a safe location to plant that slope if I plant this year.
On another note, it finally dried up and I got my garden planted Memorial Day weekend. Corn, cukes and beans are up, still waiting on carrots, parsnips and lettuce. I also planted 6 tomato, 3 pepper and 4 Brussels sprout plants.
Looks like the strawberries I planted are going to put out several berries if the birds don't beat me to them. Blackeberries, blueberries and raspberries all looking good.
I planted 7 fruit trees which don't appear like they're going to die right away which is a huge success for me. No fruit, but's that's ok, year one plus the last two frosts we had didn't help none.
ON the number of prongs... the normal early on progression from seed to first leaf...and the first 4-5 years is...
seed, then 3 leafer, then perhaps a 2 prong with 3 leaves on each prong, then possibly a 2 prong with 5 leaves on each prong, then 3 prong.. with possibly only 3 leaves on one prong, then 3 prong with 5 leaves on each prong... and that may repeat for a few years... and then eventually get to a 4 prong (first year, possibly 3 leaves on one prong)... then next year 5 leaves on all 4 prongs...
But now exactly how that progresses depends a lot on the conditions...
Condition can be just barley good enough... and the progression thru those stages may go a lot slower... and they may never get to the 4 prong stage (small to medium 3 prongs at best).
Also conditions can be perfect, and the progression thru those stages can go by much faster... first year 3 leafer, 2nd year 3 prong with 5 leaves on each, 3rd year small 4 prong, etc... 4th year large 4 prong.
When they grow it in artificial shade, and cultivated raised beds, applying fertilizers, etc... in just 4 years they can be huge 4 prongs.
I think one of the best possible natural sites for seng to grow in is along a bluff (limestone) bluff that faces almost due east and where the seng plants get lots of morning sun, but no direct evening sun. The soil is loaded with calcium and other minerals, and the light conditions are sweet.
See the picture below...
Those 4 roots top right were found in my normal woods on a north facing hillside, the soil was good but timber heavy, so deep shade. See the long root necks - those were in the 20 year old range, and notice the smallish size... that is about average that I find in my normal woods in heavy timber, deep shade situation. all of those were 10-12" tall average 3 prongs (even though 20 years old or more).
But just down the hollow from where I dug those 4... it runs into a creek and bluff (limestone bluff) 200 ft tall or more, with some soil around that bluff that is just full of rock chips... notice all of those big fat bulby roots, with very short root necks (5-8 years old)... and most of those were BIG stout 4 prongs, or huge 3 prongs, with big berry pods on them.
That is the difference that location can make... soil and light...
Also I think anything over a 4 prong is just where the plant is doing so well, it just has to break out of the norm and grow something extra.
I think that almost always happens in locations where it is just very ideal for growth.
TN, thanks for this post and the pic (very enlightening), what I'm seeing these past two years with young plants aligns with what you say. I kind of wondered if the progression from three to four prongs might affect the plant's size that particular year. I don't want to dig any of mine this year (maybe one for personal consumption), I read where you can carefully brush away the soil and count the growth scars on the neck without destroying the plant, have you done this successfully?
I don't know one rock from another but one consistent characteristic I'm noticing is rock outcroppings above or within plant locations or a lot of small rocks under foot making walking a bit challenging. I've got several two and very nice three prongs growing what appears to be right out of large partially buried boulders. I was showing my wife one such spot and commented that I think I'd need a sledgehammer to get to the roots.
I've also read that placing your seeds in the fridge until planting might delay germination from one to two years? Thanks again.
TN, you mentioned wild sim passing on disease to wild plants, have you experienced this? I kind of wish I'd known this awhile back.
Regarding berries: I suppose the recommended method is to plant berries near the parent plant. Have you read of anyone successfully planting berries from multiple locations to a common location? Are you aware of any reason why this would be a bad idea?
I am doing well woodsrunner... just been extra busy lately. One child (My son) graduated highschool, heading off to college... another (my Daughter and her hubby) just moved from a apartment to a nice little 3 br 2 bath home... and we have made two trips to their location (Cookeville TN) and helped them get moved in and the place fixed up... did some landscaping, painting, electrical work... you know just anything to help them out some.
On seed... almost all seed sold is from artificial shade grown cultivated ginseng... where they grow it thick, and it has the potential for lots of disease issues (gets a lot of fungal spray, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc)... there are some woods grown seed sources, but they are not as common... and they still grow it thick and have disease potential...
So yes, you can introduce disease into your wild ginseng by the stratified seed that you purchase.
In Scotts Book.. he recommends a 10% Clorox solution be used to treat your stratified seed before planting. I did that myself with my stratified seed, no matter where I got them.
I think the main thing is not to plat them to thick, keep it more natural, just a few here and there, and give them plenty of space.
That is if you are mostly growing it for fun... I would put myself in that category.
If you are going to get serious about it and try to make a nice profit at growing ginseng, I think you will have to plant it thicker, and you will have to spray, to control disease.
I planted many of my early plantings thick, and the first year they came up thick, and looked great for a few months... then the yellow spots showed up, later on leaves looked burnt, melting, stalks falling over...
I learned the hard way... plant it too thick (and want to grow it natural, organic) with no sprays... simply is not going to work. Not work well anyway... a lot of it will disease and die... and it will thin out on its own.
I do think that disease could spread from your wild sim to wild plants if you plant near wild... but it is also true that the places you find wild in, is definitely a good place to grow it. I would not say don't plant near wild seng... I would just say plant it very thinly, and natural like... just a few seeds here and there and spread them out.
Once I started planting like that, my disease issues went away. The land can only support so much of anything naturally... over do it and you will get bad results... or you may be able to force better results if you are willing to spray, and spray and spray. That is not for me.
Chief - man it has been hot here too... but we have had some good rains... all thru June and now into July some really nice rains...
You know what that means... BIG Fat Black Berries, and everything in the garden is looking extra good... Huge Tomatoes, Sweet Corn that is near ready (silks turning brown this week). Eating fresh strawberries out of my food forest... harvested some huge bell peppers, all my net little fruit trees and bushes and just doing excellent.
I am going to have to get out and check on my wild sim, and seed bed soon and make a few pics.
Also... I have been to busy to get any FISHING Done... and you know that I have been busy if that is the case. I need to catch a few more Bass soon too.
Hope you all are having a good summer, staying healthy...