The buckeye tree is a medium-sized deciduous tree native to the midwestern United States. This shade-loving tree thrives in rich, well-draining soil and is often found growing naturally in damp areas around river banks and streams. The buckeye tree will grow well in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 to 7. Popular landscape varieties include the Ohio buckeye, the red buckeye and the shrub bottle brush buckeye.
Collect buckeye seed pods in late September to early October when the seeds are dropping from the tree. Select the fresh-fallen seed pods from the ground.
Remove the seed by gently pushing it away from the smooth nut underneath using your thumb and index finger.
Dig up and loosen the soil in a garden plot. Smooth the soil over and make 3-inch-deep holes 30 inches apart. Make holes for twice as many buckeye seeds as you want to germinate because this tree has a 50 percent germination rate.
Place one seed in each hole and cover with soil. Water the area until the soil is damp to a depth of 3 inches. Spread a 4-inch-thick layer of mulch over the garden bed.
Keep the soil and mulch layer damp through the winter. Apply 1 inch of water per week, adjusting for rainfall.
Remove the mulch layer in the spring. Work carefully so you don't damage any early shoots.
Fertilize the seedlings once a month using a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer. Check the back of the package for the right dilution and application methods.