How to reanimate seedlings before planting?
We advise you to buy seedlings exclusively in specialized nurseries. Even better - in those that have been working in your city or district center for several years and have an excellent reputation. In addition, try to purchase seedlings zoned in your area and approved for local use. But what about when healthy seedlings bought from an unfamiliar seller, when thoroughly examined at home, were not so healthy? Is it possible to reanimate seedlings that leave much to be desired? Can. And in this article we will tell how.
- How to choose and where to buy seedlings?
- Resuscitation of seedlings with water
- Life-giving pruning
- Saving seedlings
- Do cut-off seedlings save?
- What to do with rot?
- When is the best time to buy seedlings?
How to choose and where to buy seedlings?
Ideally, you need to buy seedlings with a closed root system. They are good in that they can be planted year-round (large-sized plants, even in winter), and in that they are often well developed: after all, they are not dug up for sale, they grow for themselves and grow in pots constantly.
The main thing is to make sure before buying that the seedling in the pot has always grown, and has not been transplanted there a couple of months before the sale. The easiest way to find out is to gently grab the trunk and pull the seedling, as if trying to pull it out of the ground. If a seedling in a pot has always grown, then you can’t just take it out so easily, but if it has been planted there recently, it will be easy to take out, you should not take such ones.
Buying a seedling in an unfamiliar place, get ready for the worst, and the market, by the way, can also be called an unfamiliar place: after all, you will most likely not see the seller who sold you a substandard seedling. Often the main thing for sellers in the market is to sell their goods faster and more expensive, they don’t think about the consequences.
Given this, when buying a seedling, always inspect it carefully: are there any broken shoots, are the shoots stapled with wire and smeared with dirt on top (and this happens). Inspect the place of vaccination, if there are any strong thickenings, inspect the trunk - if there are hailstones that look like small sores.
At the root, you can gently pinch a piece of bark with your fingernail, and under it a light green, living tissue should be exposed. Inspect the roots, they should also be lively and elastic, whitish-green in color, but if they are brown, it is quite possible that they have already begun to die and revive them will be difficult, if at all possible.
We do not recommend focusing on the selection of large seedlings, with a powerful crown and almost with berries or fruits hanging on the shoots. Firmly remember that the older the seedling is, the harder it will be to take root in a new place, such large seedlings after a transplant will be sick for a long time, they may drop flowers and ovaries, but in the end you will not guess in terms, or you may even miscalculate. Unfortunately, buyers almost always seek to buy large seedlings.
But the buyer is getting smarter, and market traders are tricking - an adult seedling has not sold, we will make it young. All that is needed is a short crop, leaving thin shoots and removing thick ones. Yes, it is so successful at times that it is possible to distinguish a young seedling from an adult only by its roots, but if the roots are hidden in a container? In general, you always need to think and be smart, and not risk it in vain either.
But we were distracted, let’s still talk in more detail about the resuscitation of seedlings and start with resuscitation with the help of water.
Resuscitation of seedlings with water
Water is needed for the normal functioning of all life on our planet, sometimes it literally works wonders and revitalizes. Water can help seedlings, moreover, for this it is best to use soft water, for example, rain water.
If you bought a seedling, brought it home and forgot about it for a couple of days, without even digging it in, or realized that you had purchased semi-dried planting material (far from uncommon, by the way), then as soon as possible get a full bath or a barrel of soft water (rain, thawed, standing a couple of days) room temperature and immerse the seedling there, so that its maximum mass is under water for two or three days. Interestingly, such a simple way will allow you to restore even seedlings, the bark of which began to shrink.
It was the first, easiest option, it is good, but it does not give a 100% guarantee that the seedling will come to life. In order to revitalize a seedling with a greater guarantee, it is necessary to use a solution of camphor alcohol to revive it. To prepare the solution, you need to take drops of twenty camphor alcohol and dissolve in a liter of water. Next, pour this amount into a bath or barrel, and put your seedling there for a couple of days.
Another solution for revitalizing dried seedlings is called “living water”. To prepare live water, you need to take a tablespoon of urea, a tablespoon of superphosphate and a couple of drops of any growth stimulant - “Kornevina”, “Epina”, “Siliplant” and the like from those sold in ampoules. First, you need to dilute all this in a bucket of water, and then pour it into a larger container, where most of the seedling can fit.
This solution is good in that you can not wait three days from soaking the seedling before planting it, usually 15-20 hours are enough for resuscitation, after which the seedlings can be safely planted.
Do not forget that seedlings resuscitated in this way need to be planted only in loose, fertile and well-moistened soil, literally in nutritious slurry, and the first month should be watered well, preventing the soil from drying out, only this way they can take root and begin to grow.
If you bought an adult seedling and only at home realized that part of its shoots and the tip of the central stem have dried up, you need to cut off these shoots and the section of the central conductor without interfering. When pruning, try to touch a couple of millimeters of living tissue, and after trimming, be sure to protect the cut points with garden varnish or garden paint so that infection does not penetrate through the cut, as through an open gate.
In the event that the buds (after planting the seedling) did not wake up on it and the shoots begin to die off and dry out, then there are two ways - either dig out the seedling and just throw it away, or take a chance and cut it back to growth, cutting everything except hemp 8-10 cm high from the site of vaccination.
It is possible that young shoots will start to grow from sleeping buds and the seedling can be brought back to life. If this is so, then in the future it is necessary to monitor the growth and development of shoots on the remaining part of the seedling, one of them must be selected as the strongest and growing as vertically as possible, the rest should be removed.
Subsequently, this shoot, in order to avoid breaking it from a gust of wind until it gets stronger, must be tied to a support peg, and a crown should be formed from its side shoots.
In addition to the fact that the seedlings can be dried after the purchase, they are often rotten or with foci of mold, which is not easy to notice when buying: sellers can simply periodically remove it with a cloth, but at the site of the outbreak the mold will appear again after a couple of days. What to do with such seedlings?
Some gardeners after buying a seedling suddenly notice brown marks on it, with a high degree of probability - these are foci of black cancer. This disease is quite dangerous, so the seedling can simply be thrown out or pruned (below these foci). Thus, you will get a very shortened seedling, but alive, which in the future, quite possibly, will perfectly grow and develop.
Thickening on the roots
With a careful examination of the roots, thickenings can be found on them, they can be a sign of a disease, so it is not recommended to plant a seedling with them on the site. Thickening is better to remove, even if you have to trim some part of the root.
After trimming the thickening, the root system of the seedlings must be dipped in a 3% solution of Bordeaux liquid, then rinse with water and dip into a mixture of humus and clay in equal proportions (approximately 500 g) in a creamy state (adding a couple of liters of water, 200 g of wood ash and a tablespoon of nitroammofoski). After such a bath of the root system, seedlings can be safely planted in the ground.
Growths and thickenings on the roots should not bother you if this is a seedling of acacia or sea buckthorn, their thickenings on the roots are created by nodule bacteria that synthesize nitrogen and live in symbiosis (mutually beneficial cohabitation) with these cultures.
Do cut-off seedlings save?
It sometimes happens that nurseries sell non-conditioned planting material at a big discount, which, for example, was damaged during excavation. Typically, such seedlings have their roots trimmed or torn off and their stumps literally stick out. Is it worth taking such seedlings? If you have free space on the site and free time, then why not. We unequivocally answer what is worth, but of course, you need to be prepared in advance for the fact that the seedlings may not survive.
Before planting, the remains of the roots of such seedlings should be dipped in a talker, which we recommended making for seedlings, the roots of which are cut short, removing thickening. Then you can plant the seedling as usual, and then shorten each of its shoots, including the central conductor, exactly halfway.
In the first month after planting, the seedling should be watered daily, trying to maintain the soil moist, but still it is not worth it to overmoisten it. A week later, the seedling needs to be fed, putting under it, in a previously loosened and watered soil, a tablespoon of nitroammophos.
All that remains now is to monitor the development of the seedling: if the buds bloom and shoots begin to grow, then the root system has earned, and the seedling is likely to survive.
What to do with rot?
It often happens that seedlings sent by mail or brought from other regions during the journey are greatly depleted, begin to dry out or, more often, overly carefully packed, begin to simply rot.
We have already talked about resuscitation of dried seedlings, but how to get rid of rot (including on seedlings bought in a nursery)? So, after receiving the seedling you need to inspect well. Places of rot on the shoots and trunk can be removed by trimming shoots with foci of rot and cleaning the foci with a wooden scraper, and then treated with 3% Bordeaux fluid.
If rot is present on the roots, they can be trimmed, thus removing the foci of rot, and if the rot has settled on the main roots that cannot be removed, then they can be treated with a 3% solution of copper or iron sulfate.
Before planting, such seedlings can be dipped in a talker, the recipe of which we have given above, or in a solution of any growth stimulant, for example, Epina, Kornevin, Heteroauxin and the like. Growth stimulants will contribute to the formation of additional roots.
When is the best time to buy seedlings?
If you received or bought seedlings in late autumn, then it is better not to plant them at this time, but to plant them in the spring (especially seedlings of stone fruit crops). For the winter it is better to dig them on a site in a place where there are no mice and a lot of snow accumulates. Seedlings can also be stored in the basement, where the temperature is near zero, covering the roots with moist but not wet sawdust.
If possible, try not to order seedlings by mail in the winter and early spring, in the winter they can become corny freeze, and in the spring - bloom, and then it will be impossible to reanimate them.
We hope you find our tips useful. If you have your own experience on how to reanimate seedlings, be sure to write about them in the comments, perhaps it is your advice that one of the readers of Botany will take advantage of.