Looking for stratification advice

I am attempting to stratify some maple seeds I collected in the fall but I am facing a small hurdle. I have the bag with peat moss in the fridge, in the vegetable drawer, and it’s starting to look like white mold is about get started.
Is there any “zerotol” like concoction I could spray with? Zerotol seems to be only available in large quantities for $150.
Somewhere I read that adding alcohol or bleach to the water should help, but I am not sure about the ratios. Any comment or suggestion on this will be highly appreciated.

I would suggest a couple of changes to your approach.
Prior to stratification allow the seeds to soak in a diluted solution of Lime Sulpher for 15-20 minutes. I use 1 part Lime Sulphur to 10 parts water. Then rinse and pat the seeds dry with paper towel.
Substitute the peat moss with sphagnum moss. Soak the sphagnum moss and squeeze out all the extra moisture.
Lay out a paper towel and spread the seeds out. Sprinkle the damp sphagnum moss on top of the seeds. Fold over the towel and place in the plastic bag. Refrigerate for the time reccomended for the species you are using!
I like to check progress weekly to ensure proper moisture and condition of the seeds.
When adding moisture do so sparingly. They just need to be damp not wet!
Hope these comments help!
For specifics a good resource is the information contained on websites such as Sheffields. They give stratification advice for each species.


Another option is hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) it kills mold with water H2O + O. Nothing like chlorine bleach that can burn plants. It is cheap. Use about 2 TBS per quart of water if you buy the 3% strength. This can also be used to sterilize seeds before you start the stratification process. I have had mold issues stratifying seeds with peat and switched to vermiculite years back with good results.


That is interesting. I never thought of Lime Sulfur other than for Jins and sharis.
Thank you so much for tip!

That’s awesome. I had heard about peroxide but wasn’t sure about the ratios. Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. Much appreciated. Great tip.

I agree with David. Used peroxide for the first time this year while stratifying Tilia cordata seeds. As long as I checked frequently, it eliminated the issues I’ve had with mold previously.
I also have started using it as a spray to moisten the insides of my clear plastic sprouting tray covers and have had no problems at all.

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I am giving it a go. Just got my vermiculite and peroxide. Seeds are soaking as we speak until tomorrow. I bought them from Schumacher and someone actually told me that stratifying was not necessary.
I think I will still put them in the fridge anyways.

Many tree seeds do not require stratification to germinate, however stratification will make the seeds germinate in a more consistent amount of time. As I transplant seedlings into individual pots, having them all ready at the same time is helpful (unstratified seed germination time can range from 1-10 years). Even within the same genus the preplanting range can require nothing to seed coatings plus double dormancy, fire and smoke dormancy. A waterlily seed can float around for 10 years before the seed coat dissolves enough to allow germination thus nicking or filing the coating is required. I soak Iris seeds in the refrigerator for minimum of 10 days changing the water every day, otherwise even planted outdoors they can take up to 10 years to germinate. Short answer, make sure you know what the seed requires.

Also there is a method to use hydrogen peroxide to sterilize cardboard to grow mushrooms. Works well.

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That’s what I figured. There is no reason for me NOT to stratify teh JBP because ther eis no way for me to plant them now-it’s freezing. Sheffields recommends 90 days of cold stratify, so I will go with that. However, I got them from Schumacher and the gentleman I talked to said it’s not necessary. I don’t think it will hurt the seeds. If anything, I agree. It will probably make them germinate with more time uniformity.
Thank you DWHull!