I am a Minnesota newbie to the Ginseng growing so I wanted to get a little advice from you all, I'm a 19 year old and wanted something profitable to do in the great outdoors. I am interested in starting to grow some wild simulated ginseng on a wooded piece of property, I haven't bought the property yet as I wanted some advice. The land is 12 acres of steep hills and dense hardwood trees, on the north side of a river valley. The issue is that about 50% of the trees are oak trees, the rest are some elm, birch, etc. but I was wondering, is that too many oak trees to successfully grow sang? I'd appreciate what help you guys would have. Thanks!
Also let me say this property is right on the Minnesota River Valley, which has been known for good ginseng growing and there still is some wild ginseng up in the hills. So my main concern is just about the oak trees.
Hey MNsang welcome.
Back 30 years ago I tried growing some ginseng in a woods full of Oak. Guess what you are right. The oak leaves are just to heavy. Yea some little ones will make it up but the majority will do their best to push through only to run out of energy. You can literally lift up the oak leaves and see a ginseng seed sprouting a white stem up to 2 to 3 inches long laying sideways looking for a way up only to run out of energy. If they don't make it up the first year they will never make it up as they are dead.
1. Rake up the oak leaves and plant the seeds and then cover them with mulched leaves.
2. Your ginseng will most likely sprout around the first or second week of May up there. So a week or two before that, go out to the woods and GENTLY rake some of the oak leaves off the seed beds and fluff up a thin layer that you leave on them.
3. Rake off all oak leaves and cover with straw in the fall after the oak leaves have fallen and after you sow the seeds. Cover with a good 3 to 4 inches or more of straw.
4. Look for spots to plant under other trees since only 50 % of the forest you want to plant in is oak.
Last tip is this and every woods is different. You will find that the ginseng you plant will do better at different levels on the hill. My best spot has ginseng doing well up top then not so good in the middle and then good again at the bottom of the hill. I am sure many have had similar or very different experiences so find out what works best on your land and go with it. It may take you a couple of years to see a difference. Last but not least if there is standing water at the bottom of the hill or a low area that floods often then ginseng will not continue to thrive down there and any attempt to plant that area is just wasting time and money.
Also, once the ginseng plants get to be about 3 or 4 years old then you can leave them alone. However, if it were me I would GENTLY fluff the leaves up a week or two before the plants sprout each year.
Thanks a lot for your help, very helpful. I'm liking the option of mulching the leaves the best as I plan to do quite a bit of ginseng over the next couple years, so it might be the most efficient and natural route. Do you got any ideas on how to much a lot of leaves? I know you can get the Stihl leaf blowers that work as a vacuum and mulch leaves, but that could be quite time consuming, although it would work.
Another question, sorry I'm just trying to my head around it all. In MN would it be best to plant in the spring or wait until the fall, more like Sept/Oct time frame?
May sound crazy but get a cheap mulching mower and mulch it before you plant in the fall. Always plant in Oct or November is best.
Many video's on how to plant wild simulated. Check out TNhunters \"Modified rake and scatter\" method.
Below is a link to my youtube channel and part 1 of planting wild simulated (rake and scatter method). If you start with that one it should continue to part 2, then other parts showing seedlings, etc...
PS. I have a lot of oak trees on my place too and I have not had too much trouble with the 3 leafers coming up.
In fact I usually get really good germination and high counts of nice 3 leafers even though I have a high percentage of oak trees in my mix.
You are welcome MNsang.
That's what I did too with the push mower. Just had an old self propelled mulching mower (Without the bag) and just drug it into the woods and let er rip.
Obviously it would be difficult to get one deep in the woods possibly.
Remember if you plant a pound of seed that's anywhere from 6,000 to 7,000 seeds per lb. If you plant it so no more than 4 seeds per sq foot you will do alright most likely without having to worry too much about disease.
If you plant it that way and only have 2 seeds per square foot come up then you only got 50% germination and that's not good.
When I planted in an area with lots of oak I bet I only got 10% germination.
When I lifted up the wet oak leaves in the spring there were thousands of seedlings that didn't make it up through the oak leaves.
Trust me don't waste your money planting in an oak forest if you do not mulch and fluff. If you are OK with 10% then don't worry about it. However, if you are like me I do not like to lose 90% of them.
After seeing it in person and talking to woods grown ginseng growers the power of a straw covered planting beds far surpasses any leaf mulch. Many will disagree with me but many that know from first hand experience will agree with me.
Not a natural look by any stretch of the imagination but the ginseng seeds will germinate far better. Some will lay it down 4 to 6 inches deep in the fall and the seeds do great germinating in the spring.
Just make sure you use straw with as little seed and disease in it as possible. Talk to some growers about this if you want. I haven't done it personally and year after year I see my new seed germination rates much lower than what I had hoped for.
When using leaf litter to mulch sometimes you will see great ginseng germination and a couple feet over from that the ground is bare. All planted at the same time and in the same bed. Most often the good spot has some leaf litter on it and the bald spot has had the wind blow the leaf litter off and no ginseng babies growing. Crazy but true and you will see it if you use leaf litter to cover your ginseng seed.
Thanks again Latt, I'm going to give the mower idea a whirl in one spot and then try just removing the leaves and doing straw in another spot, and then compare the germination percentages. Now I just can't wait for summer and fall!