I have checked some plants i have and they have some red seeds on them but some are just pink and almost red will it hurt the seeds if i pick them when they are just pink and not all the way red like half the seed is red and the other half is pink i don't want to lose too many and it gets to be a long walk to the patch thanks bjb
Over on the Hunting Wild Ginseng forum we had a discussion recently about ginseng berries still being green in a lot of areas when the digging season opens.
I found the article below where they did a very detailed study on germination rates for green berries planted by different dates. Green berries planted at the first of August had a very low germination rate, but Green Berries planted Aug 26 had a fairly high 50% germinatoin rate.
In their study if the berries were partially red or pink, they called them red berries.
Of course the highest germination rate was for red berries, but berries that are still green mid to late August do have a good chance of germinating so I would plant them if harvesting a wild plant.
In your case if walking in a long distance to pick berries off a wild simulated patch - I would go ahead and pick any berries that show any red/pink color. Then come back perhaps a week later and do it again.
Good artcle TN. Very interesting findings. I wonder why some states have such early seasons?
I thought this was good food for thought;
Populations will likely
benefit from other self-restraining actions by harvesters, including not harvesting
from the same population every year and leaving some portion of the
largest and most fecund individuals (akin to ?catch-and-release? by fishermen).
Late-season stem clipping of plants being deliberately left by harvesters
can save the plant for harvest in a later year and simultaneously prevent
other harvesters from finding and digging the plant. With an appropriate
combination of regulatory change and improved harvest practices, the culturally
important ritual of ginseng harvest may be sustained indefinitely
Maya - on some states having early digging season openings...
That article seemed to have been done questioning the early seasons that some states have approved - for example Aug 1 or Aug 15 (it is Aug 15 here in TN).
I think they were leaning towards Sept 1 being a better opening season date for all of those Eastern States that were studied.
I know here in Middle TN by Sept 1 almost all of the berries are red - but around Aug 15 we do still find several mature plants that still have Green Berries or Berries that are just starting to turn.
I have always planted them - hoping the seeds inside were mature enough to germinate, or that the berries would do like green tomatoes do when you pick them green they will ripen later on.
That article sort of confirmed what I thought - that it is worth it to plant those green berries. The seeds do have a good chance of germinating - especially later in August.
I also think that berries or seeds planted 1/2\" deep in the dirt and covered with some good leaf mulch have a much better chance of germinating than the ones do that are left to fall off the plant (naturally) and then be covered later on by falling leaves.
I know in Scotts Book on Ginseng he said that one option for planting wild simulated seng (the least labor intensive method) is to just broad cast seeds (on top of the leaves) late in the fall - just before heavy leaf fall and just before a heavy rain is supposed to hit.
If you can time that just right and broad case the seed just prior to leaf fall, and just before a heavy rain, then the rain will send a LOT of leaves down and cover the seeds soon after being broadcast.
He did say that the germination rate is much lower for that type of planting than it is if you put them under some dirt and cover with leaves.
I don't have my book right now (loaned it out to a friend) but best I remember he said the germination rate for that broadcasting on top ground method was something like 20-30% where if you actually plant them under some dirt and cover with leaves you can get a much higher germination rate 80-90% at times.
The worst situation for ginseng seed (the killer) is to dry out. It takes them 18 months to actualy come up and if they dry out any time in that 18 month period they die.
I think putting them 1/2 inch or so deep under dirt then leaf mulch on top is the best bet for them surviving that 18 month period.
I thought just the opposite. I thought they were trying to get accross that it is very important to wait til they are red as the germinstion rate goes up by a very large %. Throw out all the other parts of the study on where and dates and the take home message is clearto me, plant red berries for the best stewardship. I'd rather see those higher percentages. In the long run you'll have more seng.
No doubt it would be best for Ginseng if all of those States that have opening dates of Aug 1 or 15 had picked Sept 1 for opening season dates.
I could sure wait another 15 days.
I do find it interesting that a Green Berry that is \"planted\" Aug 26 has a better chance of germinating than a Red Berry that just falls off and goes thru the natural process later on.
If statified seed that is broadcast at the ideal time (just before heavy leaf fall and rain) has a germination rate of 20-30% then Red Berries that are planted naturally (for example could fall off when the next 3-4 weeks is hot/dry with no leaf cover) has to have a much lower germination rate - probably in the 5-10% range or possibly even lower.
Planting Green Berries Mid to Late August is better than what normally happens with natural ginseng reproduction.
Ya , that's a good point TN, just about anything is better than them falling naturally. One bad thing about late seasons, specially in northern states like here in Vt, it's an all too short season. The first week in September we get some temps flirting with the low 30's and we get plants turning yellow way to quick!