oak tree germination?

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Fri Sep 26 12:21:00 EST 1997

At 11:19 AM -0400 9/26/97, Kellie_Bonnici wrote:
>Why the mothballs? I don't know any technical details about them, but they =
>somewhat widely regarded as toxic. Is it necessary to place them near acorn=
>and if so, for what reason? I worked at a native tree nursery this summer
>we grew many trees from locally collected seed (incl. acorns) and mothballs
>were never mentioned.

Paradichlorobenzene (the active ingredient) is a
very strong clothing moth repellent.  It is used to
keep many invertebrates out of herbarium cabinets
and so on.  But that is not why I use them.

The strong odor released overpowers the squirrel's
(and DOGS!) sense of smell, so that they avoid digging
there.  In fact they avoid the whole area.  The moth
balls last a fair amount of time even in hot summer
months.  By laying a few around on the soil surface
of bulb and nut plantings, I find I get 0% squirrel and
dog damage.  If a few moths are repelled that's OK, but
keeping dogs and squirrels from digging up nuts and bulbs
is the reason I use them.  Prior to using moth balls in
my urban setting, planting nuts and bulbs was really out
of the question because of dogs and squirrels.

I place them over the planting site spaced several inches
apart.  They go on top of the soil, not next to the bulbs
or nuts.  I haven't tried planting them with the bulbs or
nuts.  They do slowly evaporate (technically they sublime;
just as in a closet) but they do last throughout our long
winters because of the low temperature in CT.


Ross Koning                 | koning at ecsu.ctstateu.edu
Biology Department          | http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479

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