Gardeners who enjoy a challenge may try to germinate and plant pine seeds. With proper attention to detail and a little luck, a determined gardener can collect pine seeds from a parent tree and plant them during the winter months. After the pine seeds germinate and grow large enough, the next step is to transplant them to a large container and allow them to continue to grow. Eventually these new pine trees will be large enough to plant in the ground in a permanent location.
Search under an established pine tree in the autumn to find mature female pinecones on the ground. Female pinecones are larger than male pinecones. Mature pinecones will be brown, and the side wings of the pinecone will be open to reveal the seeds.
Fill the bucket with water and shake the female pinecones you collected over the water. Allow the seeds to fall into the water as you shake the pinecone. Some seeds will float and some seeds will sink. Remove and save all of the seeds that sink; these are the seeds that you will plant. Discard the seeds that float.
Fill the seed-starting tray almost to the top with potting soil. Lightly spray the potting soil with the spray bottle to moisten it.
Insert one pine seed into each cell of the seed-starting tray. Place the pointed end of the seeds into the soil first, and cover the tops of the seeds with approximately ¼ inch of potting soil.
Place the seed-starting tray in a sunny location or under a grow light. Keep the soil evenly moist by spraying lightly with the spray bottle. Do not water so much that the soil is saturated.
Watch for the pine seeds to germinate within two to three months. As the seedlings grow larger in the seed-starting tray, make sure that the seed falls from the seedling. If the seed does not separate and fall, the seedling may stop growing. Gently pull the seed away, if necessary.
Rotate the seed-starting tray 45 degrees every other day to ensure that the seedlings grow vertically if the seedlings are sitting in a sunny window.
Transplant the seedlings to individual larger containers when the seedlings are between 4 and 6 inches tall. Move the containers to an outside location and keep the soil evenly moist.
Move the pine trees to a permanent location in the soil when they are approximately 1 foot high. Perform this final transplant in the spring for best results.