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Where to put baby trees for a year?

 
steward & bricolagier
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I wasn't expecting the world situation this year. I expected to be able to build my terraces etc. I cold stratified a BUNCH of seeds, mostly fruit, some nuts, that I haven't let warm up yet. When I do, they are going to sprout, and I have no place ready for them to be planted in. I'm not strong, it would not be easy to just dump them in the dirt here and dig them back up. They do need to be protected from heat and cold though. How can I put them so they will grow, be safe, but be fairly easy to remove when I need to move them?

A second variant on that question is some of them are over a year old, in tall tree pots (about 4 inches across) they need more root room, again, I need them to be moveable when I can do so.

I do not have indoor space for any of them. And depending on  the germination rates, there were hundreds of cherry pits in there, as well as 30- 50 stone fruits various types. And nuts. I have some plastic 1.5  inch diameter tubes, but they won't work for long  (Think fast, what can I do with these? )

I need wise advice... I DON'T want to lose them all due to not letting them grow, or due to not being able to dig them back out. Or heat or cold, and summers are hot and muggy here, and winters don't get below zero much, but constant COLD wind.
Help help help!!

:D
 
steward
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Do you have areas of your new place where you could plant them (zone 4/5)?  Then just repeat the whole cold stratification process next fall for 2021?

I hope someone has some great advice for you but that's all I can come up with.  Make a bonus hedge row at the end of the property.  Or something like that...

Oh, what about planting a bunch of them in a 5 gallon bucket of sand (or something lighter).  Then next spring you can pull the 20 trees out of the bucket in one massive plug, soak them in a wheelbarrow full of water and tease them apart.  Then plant them in their final location as bare root trees.
 
Pearl Sutton
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No place I can put them at the property that gets water consistently right now that isn't occupied, or due to be tore up as soon as things start. 5 foot deep pasture grass over the inconsistent areas, and soil I'd never get them back out of easily, if I could even find them. Oh, to  stratify them? No, it all gets hot. I'd have to put them in the fridge, and space in there is at a premium right now (Excess sauerkraut!!  :9  ) There really are a lot of pits, I have been saving them for quite a while.

Good idea to put them in a medium, as a lump, you are right, they won't be big for a long time. That helps my head wrap around this.

thank you! I will keep hoping for more input, but think about treating them as clumps.

:D
 
Mike Haasl
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Here's some idea of how closely you could consider packing them:

 
gardener
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I wish I had a solution, but I'm in the same boat with the seeds in my refrigerator. I'd hoped to have them planted by now, but surgery has set me way back on the to-do list.
I was able to get the rose seeds for my breeding project down, and noticed that the big bags of peach pits from last summer are full of sprouts & roots.
I thought about double digging a trench along the fence line, but that takes more strength/endurance than I have right now. My next thought is to plant them in one of the big buckets that cow feed comes in for the growing season, then uproot & pot up, or plant, the best ones when they go dormant in the fall. Otherwise, I'm not sure what else to do with them.
Hopefully you can find a solution for your seeds. I am following the thread for ideas, and will let you know if I come up with anything for mine that may also work for you!
 
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Mike beat me to it.

That's exactly what I was going to suggest. Air prune beds.

If you're feeling frisky you might even make the Twisted Tree Farm variant. (I think he's got some YouTube videos showing his.)

They're basically just longer versions.



 
pollinator
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Honestly, I'd pot them up in nursery pots.  If you worry about them freezing out in the winter, just mound them with shavings after they go dormant this fall.  I've done this countless times with good success.  We currently have about 2 dozen landscape plants we dug from a friends yard that are going on 2 years in pots.  This past fall I "planted" the pots out next to the sawmill and covered them over with sawdust.  I'll dig them out as soon as the snow decides to melt down where I can get to them.
 
pollinator
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I’ve had some success with large felt pots (45gal) filled with potting soil or compost and sharp sand (50:50%). While it not mobile, it will function as an air prune bed and The size helps insulate and reduce watering frequency. Then you can just dig them in clumps and tease them apart like in the video above. When I bought the felt pots 5yrs ago, they were 10$-15$ a piece, and are still going strong. If you want pots you can move but with similar benefits, you could put 5-10gal felt pots into a hydro tub or kiddie pool with drainage holes, then fill that with sharp sand and compost, burying 1/3 of each felt pot. They will send roots through the felt, but won’t circle and have transplanted out of them fine.
 
gardener
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Pearl,

I once had to “heal” growing stock in place.  This involved digging shallow trenches and laying the tree stock in mostly horizontally.

If I were doing it again I would line the trenches with several layers of newspaper, cardboard, or fabric (burlap) to help contain the roots a bit the first year.

This technique will work for about 1 season.  If you “healed” the trees in place today, I would very seriously consider planting in fall.  In the climate zone you and I live in, the fall up to early winter is prime time for transplanting trees.


Good Luck,

Eric
 
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Do you have access to a pond or body of water?  Techniques for tree raft-culture exists.  Rodney Sidloski has a patented system for such along with the non profit HELP International.




 
Pearl Sutton
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So, after reading all the answers I have been given, and looking at what I have available, I think I'm going to sink nursery pots (I think they are 4 gallon or so) into the ground, and fill with cheap potting soil, and let the seeds sprout tightly, and remove them as bare root when it's time to plant. That gives me my best temperature and water control, and the best chance of getting them back out of the ground. That makes it so I have to dig one good sized trench (ow!) but only the one. The ground is currently soft enough to do that.

The young trees are still an issue, as I don't have deep pots for them. I may get weird there, and make them some kind of odd trench thing too. I really don't want to lose any of these, and I really can't do the things I'd like to, and had planned. I have serious health/strength issues, and cannot assume I can consistently water anything in pots that are anyplace but in the ground. Things in pots have a bad time here, either over or under watered. In the ground gives them the buffer of the soil water.

:D

Oh, and no, no body of water.

 
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Mike and Kamaar both beat me to it!

We use air prune beds for our nursery - similar to Sean and Akiva's set ups. We've made two videos on air prune beds thus far - one detailing the various components and showing them mid-summer during the growing season, and one at "harvest" time when we pulled the seedlings from the beds.

If you have a ton of seeds that need a home AND you want to ensure a healthy, highly-branched root structure (which won't happen in pots) other than air pots (which are expensive, would require a lot of soil, space and watering time, air pruning beds are the best way I know of to get a lot of trees into a small footprint without damaging them for the long-term and hold them over until you are ready to put them into their final homes. We hook up an automated drip timer to our and they are good to go for a year!

Here's a video of how we harvested the dormant trees out of the air pruning beds during the winter to get them ready to ship:


Air prune bed components and summer growing season video:


We've also got an article on our nursery website that dives into the details of air pruning - including construction photos if you want to see it step by step - really simple  - https://www.honeybadgernursery.com/air-pruning/ ~ Air Pruning 101: Science, Application, Bed Construction, Air Pots and More - definitely worth a look and your trees will thank you for their well-formed root systems for the rest of their lives!

 
pollinator
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I appreciate you asking this question Pearl! It sent me down the YouTube rabbit hole and I learned all sorts of good info about air pruning baby tree roots. Perfect timing as I have a few hundred rooted cuttings right now...
 
Kc Simmons
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Regarding air pruning roots: In my bonsai projects, I will often plant in the cheap colanders one can find at Walmart or other stores for $1 or less. This results in a lot of ramification of the feeder roots, which is desirable in that hobby. Since summers are so hot/dry here, I will often heel the colanders in the ground and mulch the surface over the summer months to reduce the need to water each day. While the roots will grow through the colander during that time, they are still easy to remove from the ground once you're ready to do something else with them (I usually wait until they go dormant in fall).
This may not be super effective for fruit trees that you want to encourage a taproot for future planting, but I've found that the extensive feeder root system seems to do a good job of keeping the tree securely in the ground as it grows.
 
Kc Simmons
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Pearl,
I got half my peach pits planted yesterday (wore me out big time). There were more than I thought, though I suspect many won't survive. I used one of the big mineral tubs I previously mentioned, and treated it like a wicking/hugel bed by filling the bottom 1/3 with old sticks/wood mixed with a few scoops of rabbit manure, then filled the rest with a mix of old potting soil and ground soil that has some biochar in it. That container only held about 1/4 of the sprouts, so I also planted a bunch in some 1gallon pots, and various other containers I had on hand, with 2-3 sprouts per container that can be thinned or divided. Since most of the pots are black & will get hot & dry easily, I'll probably heel them in the ground once my body heals enough to dig a trench for them.
I'll let you know how it goes. I'm glad you made this post, because I had the exact same issue and wasn't sure how to handle it. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the other half of the peach pits, and the various other tree seeds that are still in the bottom drawer of the fridge.
 
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