Now that your seedlings are planted in the ground, you’ll shift your focus to follow up care. Proper follow up care is necessary in achieving the highest survival rate. Without proper follow up care, you will experience a higher mortality rate among your seedlings.
Mulching: To contain moisture around the root zone, we recommend a 2”- 3” layer of wood chips approximately 12” diameter around seedling center. This works in moderating the soil temperature and assists in keeping the weeds at bay during the critical establishment period. Keep the mulch about an inch away from the leader or stem.
Watering: Water during the crucial first year of growth is the most important component to ensure seedling survival. In the event your seedlings are not receiving 1” or more of rainfall each week, it will be necessary to provide supplemental watering.
Deep watering approximately once each week is more beneficial than frequent light watering. Deep watering is achieved when the soil at and around the root zone is thoroughly watered, not just the surface area. This forces roots to grow deeper in search of moisture. We suggest 1-2 gallons of water each week, per plant.
The exception to this guideline is when temperatures are warmer than 85F, the planting site is in an area with exposure to hot sun or wind or drought conditions. It is necessary to provide more frequent deep watering under any of those conditions, up to 2-3 times per week.
Keep competition at bay: After planting, be sure to keep grasses and weeds at bay. This will further encourage seedlings to flourish without the need to compete for sunlight, water and nutrients in the soil. Mow, trim or spray the area immediately surrounding each seedling. If using a non-selective systemic spray, be aware that you must not allow the spray to touch the seedling. Removal of competitive vegetation will result in faster growth and higher survival rates. Mulching also assists in keeping unwanted vegetation in check.
Keep the critters away: While some trees, such as the Colorado Blue Spruce and Eastern Red Cedar are naturally deer resistant, others may be susceptible to deer and/or rabbit browsing. Methods to control browsing include fencing around the seedlings, tree shelters and animal repellants. Consider using the SunFlex™ Grow Tube System tree tubes or our Super Repeller product to help keep unwanted guests away! Visit www.chiefrivernursery.com for more product information and to place an order.
The quickest growth and highest survival rate of your seedlings directly corresponds to the amount of consideration, planning and effort put into planting and follow up care. While some people plant trees and then neglect them, those who use the proper methods experience the best results. If you have any questions regarding seedling storage, planting techniques or follow up care, please email us at [email protected] or call us at 262-377-5330.