How to help a seedling take root in a new place?
Seedlings are bought by everyone who still has space for them, and most of those who don’t already allow. This is such a specific disease of gardeners. The purchased seedling warms the soul. And if for cheap, it's even nicer. That is, seedlings are sometimes acquired overripe, overdried, with bare roots and sometimes frankly non-viable. Demand creates supply. About seedlings, their problems, planting and errors will be this article.
The vast majority of seedlings are bought with an open root system. That is, a plant that has taken root in the nursery is dug out of the ground, small suction roots break off and large ones are cut. In the best case, the roots are dipped in an earthenware clatter to preserve moisture and are sold as such. The best cases are rare, most often the roots are in a plastic bag, well, if with wet sawdust.
That is, cohabitation developed with roots over the years of life in the nursery with soil fungi, bacteria and protozoa - down the drain. Small suction root hairs that supply water and microelements to the entire plant are, in most cases, half torn off. Honestly, I marvel at the vitality of plants!
After this, planting begins in a new place, with new soil and a new microbiota in the soil. Local fungi, bacteria and protozoa, of course, are not enthusiastic about the new settlers and at first they will try to deal with newcomers (this is about the roots), highlighting all sorts of unpleasant substances. It’s not good for a poor sapling - a new place, a different orientation of lighting, less than half of the roots remained, and here the locals also poisoned.
If the crown does not correspond to the root system (it can be noticeably larger), the roots of the leaves cannot be drunk, the strength will not be enough. There are options - either the entire plant dies at once, or sacrifices with individual branches or even most of the trunk, awakening the lower sleeping buds.
The plants are tenacious, and the seedling will try to take root in a new place, sacrificing part of the crown and roots. The roots, by the way, also die off, if the crown is left small - the leaves will not be able to feed the root system. Therefore, the main task of the plant in the first year after planting is to survive, the second is to take root.
To return to normal condition, the seedling needs to acquire new suction root hairs, a new rhizosphere (the so-called soil around the root hair). The rhizosphere is populated by friendly microorganisms that help the plant fight the hostile environment, to extract water and trace elements.
But friends need to be fed, sometimes this plant spends up to 30% of the absorbed carbon dioxide, converted by photosynthesis into nutrients. That is, without leaves in any way, and the larger the leaf surface, the “friendlier” the rhizosphere.
Plants are also thrifty. For the initial formation of root hairs and buds, they spend accumulated reserves. Survive and take root, it is clear if these reserves are enough.
Container seedlings cannot be said to have no problems, but they are fewer. Root hairs with rhizosphere in place, whole crown. It is only necessary to take root in the new climatic and soil conditions. "Disassembly" with local microorganisms is inevitable, but to an uninjured plant it is much easier to do.
How to help a purchased seedling?
Water plays a crucial role in the life of plants, so immediately after the acquisition, it is advisable to wrap the seedling in something so that it does not lose moisture. Roots, if not provided with moisture, put in moist sawdust or just in a plastic bag and add some water.
After arriving at the place, the roots and the upper part must be brought into correspondence. The only long root of the plant is nonsense. Such roots serve for fixing in the soil, and for nutrition you need a fibrous root system. By the way, one long root does not speak well in favor of the seller, because normal nurseries form the root system with a fibrous one.
So here is the correspondence: the length of the branches should approximately correspond to the length of the roots (the trunk does not count, there are some requirements for boles). If the branches are long, you need to shorten. If the crown is small, and the roots are large - also shorten.
Then you need to water the seedling. It is water that makes the connection between the tops and roots, dragging everything necessary back and forth. The easiest way to put it in a bucket of water for a day.
Submerge the container seedling at half the height of the container in water until the earthen coma is completely saturated. But do not hold for a long time so that the roots do not suffocate.
All these manipulations should preferably be done in a quiet, shady place: the sun does not really need seedlings yet. Just like a withering wind - and so there is not enough water.
Under normal growth conditions in the upper parts of both the stems and root hairs, heteroauxin, a growth promoter and cell division, accumulate. In a seedling with an open root system, in which the roots are torn off and the tops are trimmed, it is almost absent. It is advisable to add. After saturating with water for an hour, immerse the roots in a heteroauxin solution (it is always on sale). Water, which the seedling has already been saturated with, “drags” it along the tops and roots.
It should be borne in mind that when dosages are exceeded, heteroauxin begins to inhibit growth processes, so it is necessary to act exclusively according to the instructions.
About what land, how to plant, how to water, much has been written, I will not repeat. I will only remind you that you do not need to make any fertilizers in the landing pit. The plant must first become comfortable. The main requirement for the soil is that it must be loose, structural so that the plant can build up suction roots without undue stress and expenditure of reserves.
In container plants, especially those imported from abroad, the main problem is a sterile substrate in which there are no microorganisms. Therefore, when planting a garden ground, difficulties with the development of the substrate are also inevitable. The loose nutrient soil around the roots is also important here, so that the roots begin to develop outside the container substrate. It happens that in the container, due to the long content, the roots are twisted in a spiral - they need to be gently “stirred” and evenly distributed in the landing pit.
By the way, container plants, especially from sterile soil, are very often reluctant to grow into the surrounding soil. They are scared and unusual. You can speed up the process by placing at a certain distance from the root coma along the perimeter of a small amount of mineral fertilizers - the roots will certainly stretch there. Mineral - it is familiar to them.
The surface of the earth around the plant in hot and dry regions must be immediately mulched to preserve moisture. It is good if the mulch is organic, but not very active (dried grass without seeds, hay), an extra crush of microorganisms in this place is useless.
It is not a bad idea to spray the plant itself with Epin, again, without exceeding the recommended doses, and cover it with, for example, medium density spanbond. So the aboveground part will not dry out, and the hot sun (during spring planting) will not torment him. And the microclimate under the shelter will be smoother. A week later, from the north you can open a little - let him look at the world. In cloudy and rainy weather, open completely. But, if the sun shines continuously, two-week quarantine, as with coronavirus, must be maintained.
If the planting is autumn, it is advisable to make an air-dry shelter with the onset of cold weather. In the first season, not having time to really get comfortable in a new place and prepare for winter, seedlings are very vulnerable. Even the most frost-resistant.
Starting a new garden life in a new place, we undertook to plant all sorts of different plants, both fruit and ornamental. Immediately organized an electronic catalog in order to know where, when received, where they planted and what the result was. And how much, by the way, the re-sorting.
This thing turned out to be useful. After three years, it turned out that the attack of seedlings amounted to about a fifth. There was no fundamental difference between fruit and decoration in this regard. But the difference was found between seedlings with ACS (open root system) and container ones. If the container lunge is about 13%, then the seedlings with ACS - almost 30%.
The overwhelming majority of seedlings were received by mail, the roots of seedlings with ACS were either packed in moist sawdust or in clay, and they looked noticeably more decent than those that I observe in seasonal markets.
An analysis of the attack of seedlings from different suppliers by forwarding, by the way, did not show dependence on distance. Self-respecting nurseries approach packaging very responsibly. So far or close is not as important as the responsibility of the supplier.
There were also nurseries with which it is better not to cooperate - 100% (!) Resort. Moreover, a replacement was also sent for a replacement, until I was tired of shoving unknown seedlings in the corners that had not taken root to burn, and I did not stop contacting them.
This is what I observe now, living in the Kuban and writing out within the European part. During the period of residence in the Far East, seedlings from the Urals and Altai turned out to be surviving; seventy percent died from the European part. The country is large and such distances already play a role. For example, parcels from Krasnodar to Khabarovsk last three weeks. A rare plant it can withstand.
In order not to torment the plants and not to suffer then yourself, it is better to look for reliable nurseries nearby, reviews on the Internet will help. It is better for those who are thirsty for exotic (such a thing) to write container plants - less disappointment and it is easier to take care of them.