Seedling question   Sky Davis
  May 06, 2004 12:01 PDT 

Don't know if anyone here on the list can help me or not. It has
nothing to do with an old growth tree, but instead about a very young
tree. I was sent an 18 inch tall white pine to be planted as a peace
tree in Easthampton MA next week. I received the tree today. It is
bare root and wrapped in wet newspaper at the moment, sitting rather
unceremoniously in a pizza box. Anyone know how I can keep this tree
alive for a week? It has a very important task ahead of it and I would
feel horrible if I contributed to it's early demise.

Re: question: seedling storage   Paul Jost
  May 06, 2004 13:09 PDT 

Keep seedling alive instructions:

Put it in a plastic garbage and seal it air tight. Place it in a
refrigerator. I have kept many hundreds of white pine seedlings alive
over a week this way. If the bag isn't airtight, the refrigerator will
dry it out. If you aren't sure, check it every day or two and keep the
paper moist, not wet.

Paul Jost
Re: question: seedling storage   greentreedoctor
  May 08, 2004 07:44 PDT 

Here's a little planting info for you. Never have done a bareroot planting but it sounds like Paul has had success using the 'fridge.   I have enjoyed good success in other planting methods.   I am presently nursing back to health my closest tree loss. The basement or ice cooler would also probably work without the worry of desiccation.   Bartlett Research Laboratories in Charlotte has seen remarkable success with rootdipping into common table sugar gel. You need to get the amount of sugar just right, but the storage and transplanting rates are much better (talk to Tom or Bruce). Even with their success, BR does not enjoy as much success as balled & burlapped, and B&B is not as successful as tree spading (with a hydraulic spade), and spading is not as good as container grown trees.   Mycorrrizae root dip also can speed establishment.

There is much push to "Plant a Tree".   John Denver can still be heard on National Arbor Day ads. But the truth of the matter is that most trees are installed incorrectly and will perish before establishment.   Selection, or choosing the right (healthy and structurally-superior) species for the right site is the most important decision you can make.   After that, water management is the most important thing.   Irrigated trees are twice as likely to become established. But many urban irrigated trees die from flooding (poor drainage).   Early spring and late fall are usually great times to plant. Dr. Ed Gilman (UFL) believes in planting in early summer.   Since the soil is much warmer and the plant will likely become established at a faster rate.   Few landscapers plant in mid-summer.   This may be because if irrigation and drainage are not adequate, the plant will soon perish.

Planting holes should be at least 3 times the rootball.   Bareroot should be large enough to stretch out radically from the stem the largest roots.   Tillage is recommended prior.   While aged mulch, duff or litter can to incorporated into the soil to facilitate drainage, fertilizer and imported soils are not recommended.   Most plants do not need propping.   Props should be removed in 1 to 2 years.

Good luck with your new planting. Let's hope the deer leave your seedling alone. BTW, I believe Sandy Rose of Texas has just joined us and may want to make some comments. Few, is any on this List, have planted as much as SR.