Stone-oak (Quercus ilex L.) has great ecological and naturalistic importance for Mediterranean regions. However, most of the stands have been transformed in coppice forests and show decay symptoms. Efficient reforestation is hampered by inadequate supplies of high quality seedlings. In this article we report on the first results obtained within a research project, funded by the European Union, aimed at the implementation of modern seedling production methods. Stone-oak seeds show recalcitrant behavior and therefore can be stored only at high moisture content. Acorns with 42% m.c. have been stored successfully at 0°C for six months. Storage at 3°C allowed seeds to pre-germinate, while temperature of –5°C has proved to be totally unreliable, due to seed death during the first months of storage. Although stone-oak seeds show a slight dormancy, stratification treatments proved not to be able to improve seed germination. Only in a few cases it was possible to speed up seed germination, but saved time is much less than treatment duration. Thermotherapy proved to be highly efficient in keeping under control insect infestation of seeds. Treatment in water at 45°C for 30 minutes killed all larvae present inside seeds while not decreasing seed germination characteristics.
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