Seedlings are a great way to add trees to your landscape, providing everything from shade to nuts and fruits. You can order seedlings online or head to your nearest garden centre to buy them. There are lots of initiatives around that encourage and support your planting of native seedlings, for example, Trees for Life. For some advice, if you’re unsure about whether to start with seedlings, seeds or mature plants, click here. There are a few things to keep in mind when planning to use seedlings in your gardening plans.
The best way to store your seedlings is in the ground. Plant them as soon after you buy them as you can. Planting them the same day you bring them home is ideal. For more information on when to plant seedlings click here. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to do this, which means you’ll need to store your seedlings before planting them.
There are some steps you should take when storing seedlings to give them the best chance to thrive once they’re in the ground. Some seedlings can survive several weeks with proper storage; however, this could impact a seedling’s chances of taking root and living.
Cool and Dark
Seedlings should be stored in a cool, dark place. This environment will give them the best chance to survive until they can be planted if you’re not able to do so when you bring them home. Just remember that the clock is ticking on your seedlings once they’re home, and the less time they spend in storage, the better, no matter how cool and dark your storage area is.
Dampen the Roots
You may find yourself in a position where you need to store your seedlings for several days. If so, you’ll need to dampen the roots periodically.
You may have seedlings that are “bare root,” which is precisely what it sounds like. Dampen the roots directly every few days until you can plant them.
If your seedlings have their roots contained inside a bag, open the bag and moisten the dirt. Don’t set your seedling’s roots into water for convenience, as this can lead to problems. The excess moisture can give mildew a chance to form on the roots, which isn’t healthy for your new tree.
Wax On, Wax Off
The best way to store your seedlings is inside waxed boxes. You can get these from any nursery, such as Bunnings, and you may have been provided some when you purchased your seedlings. These boxes will keep your seedlings from drying out, and they will keep them safe.
Keep your seedlings out of the wind until it’s time to plant them. Air movement can dry the plug of the seedling out, causing your tree to be unable to take root once it’s planted.
What Type of Seedlings Are You Storing?
Different types of tree seedlings can handle different environments for longer periods. For example, while some are capable of being stored inside a planting bag, others will die if left in these bags for any length of time.
Ask someone experienced with tree seedlings, such as your local nursery operator, how to best store your new seedlings if you have the need to store them.
The Second-Best Storage is Short Storage
If you need to store your seedlings before planting them due to time constraints, the less time it takes to get them into the ground, the better the chance your tree will have of surviving. If “short” is the second-best type of storage for a seedling, what’s the best? That’s easy; the very best storage for a seedling is no storage at all.
If possible, don’t buy your seedlings until you’re ready to plant them that day. Make sure you know where you are going to plant them where they have the best conditions to thrive. By avoiding storing them, your plants will have a much better chance to survive and thrive with proper care.