How To Successfully Grow Seedlings
Growing seedlings requires the proper balance of supplies and technique. With a little determination, successfully growing them is only a few shovels of dirt away. How to nurture a seedling into a plant varies from species to species. Some species are similar, however. Oak seedlings and pine seedlings, for example, are grown in a similar way. Multiple seedlings of any type should be tended to and sprouted, even if only one tree is desired. It is a natural occurrence that many of the initial plants will fail.
Depending on the type of oak seeds, a technique known as stratification may be necessary. Without it, the plant will not develop. Red oak seeds for example, will only germinate after going through a deep cold. These seeds drop from their trees in the fall, nestling under the foliage on the cool ground. Stratification is the replication of this natural occurrence. After determining if the species of oak requires stratification, the seeds must be placed in a dry, sealed zipper bag and then stored in a refrigerator. Without this process, the seeds will never sprout properly.
How a seedling should be harvested depends on how the seed was planted. Ones grown in a plant pot must be carefully excavated and placed in its final location. Seedlings planted in an outdoor seedbed are somewhat easier to remove. In any case, the roots must be dug around and gently repacked in the desired location. Choosing a proper place for the young plant is another crucial factor in success. The area prepared must have full access to sunlight during the day, and free of any other large plants or vegetation. A hole about two feet deep should be dug into healthy soil.
Oak seedlings are not ready for transplantation until the plants have grown at least six inches in height. Pine seedlings should be about six inches as well. At least three of the plants should be transplanted next to each other, increasing the chances of a successful growing tree. Not all plants are to be planted and grown at the same time. Oak seedlings should be planted in the spring, while pine seedlings should be planted in the fall.
Transplanted plants will need specialized care. Organic compost or mulch may be added around the early trunk for nutrition and to absorb excess moisture. The plants must be watered occasionally if necessary, but generally nature will tend to them from here.