This section is from the book "Tree Planting For Timber And Fuel", by C. B. Mcnaughton.
Too much importance cannot be attached to this subject. The identity of the seeds is of the very first consideration as mistakes made are not easily detected until much valuable time has been wasted, let alone the expense incurred. It is generally preferable to obtain supplies direct from some responsible and reputable dealer and to sow as soon as possible after receipt. In the Colony tree seeds may be obtained from the Government Seed Stores at a fixed tariff. Not infrequently seed may be gathered locally, but a mistake often made is to collect from immature or sickly trees which not unusually produce large easily gathered crops. Seed should always be gathered from mature, healthy trees, for it must be remembered that while certain qualities which go to produce the healthy tree are non-transmissible through the seed, and that the condition is due to suitability to the locality factors, yet disease and other defects are transmissible and that it is a safe working rule to consider that an unhealthy seed bearer will produce unhealthy seedlings.
On arrival all seed should be carefully examined and tested for vitality. This can be done roughly by cutting and inspecting a proportion of the seed or more accurately by any of the germination tests. Of these the sand and sphagnum method is probably the-best and simplest. It is known to most nurserymen. With different species the proportion of perfect seeds in good fresh samples will vary very much from 5 per cent. to 95 per cent. Pines usually give a high percentage and cypresses a low one and this fact must be remembered before quarrelling with the seedsman. Knowing the proportion of sound seed and the stock requirements it is easy to calculate the quantity of seed to sow and thus save unnecessary expense in raising and handling unrequired stock.