How to Plant a Buckeye Tree From a Seed


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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

Remove the seed by gently pushing it away from the smooth nut underneath using your thumb and index finger.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

Keep the soil and mulch layer damp through the winter. Apply 1 inch of water per week, adjusting for rainfall.

Step 6

Remove the mulch layer in the spring. Work carefully so you don't damage any early shoots.

Step 7

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.

Things You'll Need

  • Seeds
  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • Water
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer


  • Ohio Division of Forestry: Buckeye
  • USDA Forest Service: Ohio Buckeye

Who Can Help

  • National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: tree propagation, seed propagation, USDA hardiness zones

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.