How to choose good seedlings?

10 criteria for choosing a quality seedling

Here the summer season is over. The harvesting quest is almost back. Plants have gained strength over the summer, are grunting well and are gradually moving into the remnant stage. It’s time to think about planting new plants in the garden.

Many fruit and ornamental plants can be planted in the fall. If you do this in October, they will have time to adapt to wintering, and in the spring they will decide for themselves if you touch them.

In the fall you can buy seedlings with an open or closed root system. However, in both cases, you need to be careful and choose a pet to your garden. After all, the quality of the planting material largely depends on how it will be in a few years, how actively it will dominate, bloom and compact the space allocated to it.

In the fall and spring, many nurseries sell plants with an open root system. The advantage of these seedlings over container plants is that they grow in the open ground, which allows them to develop a more powerful root system, cover a larger flow area, and develop a stronger crown. However, they lose some of their roots when they are dug up. In addition, the open root system allows them to fully appreciate their.

1. Age of the seedling. Plants transplanted when they are 4-5 years old are difficult to get accustomed to disease, and can be fenced off. It is better to opt for a 1-2 year old seedling.

2. Development of the lower part of the seedling. The seedling should have a good trunk, about 1 cm. A one-year old tree should be about 1 m, a two-year old – 5 m. Seedlings with mischievous berries should have 2-3 well-developed, hidden shoots and a well-developed root system. Unseen shoots may not translocate into dormancy when planted in the fall.

3. The root system of the seedling should resemble a “beard.”

A sufficient number of thin roots should depart from the main roots – they feed the plant. Such a “bearded” root is called a honeycomb root.

The roots themselves should be resilient, dense. If you cut the root or scrape it with your fingernail, it should be light inside. If the root is dark, it means that it is bent. Before planting, such roots should be cut back to a “live” spot. The degree of final rooting in plants varies. Thus, the root system of black currants is more URO than that of red currants or gooseberries.

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4. Roots should not give thickening – this can be a sign of dangerous diseases. Such as root cankers, which are caused by bacteria that live in the soil. They penetrate through cracks, where under their influence, the root cells quickly begin to divide and form growths. The danger of buying such a plant is not only that it will die, but also that you can contaminate the soil in your garden. Once in the soil, when these growths are there to rot and break down, a large amount of bacteria is released that remains alive for two years.

But if you see growths on the roots of acacia, sea buckthorn, or wisteria pruning, don’t be afraid of it. These are nodules in which bacteria live that can fix nitrogen from the air. With this nitrogen you enrich the soil. Never remove these tubers – the plant could die.

5. Preservation of the roots. Pay attention to how the seller makes sure that the roots do not dry out. It is best when the seedling is dipped in mush in preparation for sale, which creates sufficient protection for all, including the smallest root.

6. The bark of a purchased plant should be smooth.

Wrinkled bark means that the plant has been without moisture for a long time and the bark has lost its turgor. But in this case the root system can be damaged. It is better to give up such a plant. But if you have already bought it, then before planting it should be placed for a long time in a container with water. I did so with roses that traveled for a long time in the mail and dried up. After a day of soaking in the tub, the stems became elastic.

7. A single-rooted seedling should be without leaves (at most a few leaves on the “crown” as it grows) – in this case, the root system is depleted. Although it is difficult to detect when buying that the seedling has dropped a leaf on its own, it may mean that the seedling was dug early when the leaves were preserved.

8. Zonality is an important reason for selection. Seedlings from warm countries like Holland, France, Germany or from the south of the country will not take root in the cold climate of the central zone. Therefore, it is better to rely on plants from domestic nurseries.

9. Reliable source. If you are deciding where to buy a seedling, choose plants from proven trees. Don’t be seduced by offers from the market, especially if seedlings are on display in large quantities. Very often you can buy a plant there that does not match the variety. Rather, you can trust a gardener who sells many different plants. He can always be identified among the vendors at the bazaar.

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10. A well sprouted flicker with roots. When choosing plants in pots with a closed root system, you should carefully check the soil in the container. If it is compacted and covered with moss, it is likely that the plant has been growing in that container for a long time and has had time to develop a good root system. This can be checked by easily pulling the stem at the base. Once you take it out you can see how densely it has grown roots.

However, it also happens that the stem is slightly pulled out. This is not a plant worth buying.

I would also like to add a recommendation on choosing a rose seedling separately. Sometimes unscrupulous sellers offer the inexperienced gardener rose bushes that have been plucked to sell flowers for bouquets. Such bushes look very massive. They differ from a young, high-quality seedling in that they are cut again and again, heavily woody, and lose their green shoots.

When selecting bush insulation, you must also consider the appropriateness of the root system and the number of shoots. Even a very beautiful, branched bush is not worth buying if it has a weak, poorly branched or pruned root. For a plant to grow, 2-3 good shoots are enough. This, of course, does not apply to a strong bush with a well-developed root system.

How to choose quality seedlings

If previously it was very difficult to get seedlings of fruit trees and berry shrubs, now gardeners’ eyes are running wild – what not! To choose good planting material, you need to carefully study the entire range. Here are some tips on how to do this.


How to choose seedlings of fruit trees

Look for area varieties

Only the right variety gives guaranteed high yields. We are talking, of course, about district varieties. Before entering the state register, they undergo many years of experience in all regions of Russia. And only if a variety gives the maximum yield, does not freeze, does not suffer from heat, drought and other hardships, it receives a “residence”. Which varieties are recommended specifically for your region, you can see on the website

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Watch out for rootstock.

Each seedling is a variety grafted onto some kind of rootstock. In this case with the “top” everything is clear, but the “roots”, that is, the rootstock, there are different: seed and clonal. Seed breeding stock is grown from seeds – this is a dish into which cultivated rootstocks are then put. Clonal rootstocks are obtained by cuttings. The procedure is complicated, the shoots of apple and pear trees practically do not give roots, but producers go to this trouble to get dwarf and semi-dwarf rootstock. Such rootstocks have many advantages: – quickly enter into fruiting; – the trees are low, compact, take up little space on the plot; – it is expedient to take care of them: to treat against diseases and pests, to prune, to harvest; – they can grow in areas with high groundwater. But there are also disadvantages: – they are less durable – live from 15 to 25 years, – they have a weak root system – during hurricanes, trees can be flooded with harvest, so apple trees on clonal rootstock require support. – lower yields. So, evaluate your skills and drilling and choose the rootstock that suits your plot and requests.

Buy from proven places

When with the varieties decided, you can go shopping. It is best to buy seedlings in reliable, proven nurseries or breeding institutes (we deliberately emphasize “reliable” and “proven”, as even in scientific institutions there are potboilers). Or from experienced gardeners. There is a place in every city where enthusiastic gardeners have been gathering for a long time and selling their surplus seeds. They have been coming there for years, are always in sight and therefore value their reputation.

Examine the seedling carefully

Before you buy a seedling with an open root system, inspect it carefully. You must pay attention to 3 things:

1 Roots. It is important that they are undamaged, not rotten or dried out, no shorter than 30 cm. The longer and more branched the roots, the better the tree will take root.

2. Shoots. The trunk of the seedling should be straight, with no damage to the bark. The buds are sleeping! If they are brown, or even the leaves have blossomed, then such a sapling will not take root. This applies to seedlings with an open root system, yes. If seedlings are sold in the agronomic network, the moisture reserve in the earth coma is enough for the buyer to save the purchased seedling from planting in May, provided that such a seedling is stored in cool conditions (basement, cold veranda, balcony or shed). When a seedling is in a container, even if it is asleep or with leaves, it can be bought without damage to the seedling.

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3. Age. Seedlings of fruit trees are usually sold between 1 and 3 years old (this age is counted from the time of grafting, that is, a “two-year-old” was grafted two years ago). Of course, the most beautiful will be a three-year-old sapling – large, fluffy, and it seems that it is not this year, so the first fruits will be next year. But this impression is deceptive, because the older the tree, the harder it is to root. The best options for plants are annuals and biennials.

How to choose seedlings of berry bushes

Berry plants should have several skeletal shoots 15 to 20 cm long and, above all, a lot of roots.

Black currants usually have a well-developed root system. But it is weaker in red and gooseberry. Nevertheless, there are a lot of roots! And not one or two.

Preference, as in the case of fruit trees, it is better to give the district varieties.

How to recognize southern seedlings

Every year, gardeners fall for the tricks of salesmen from the “Leaf” and buy a tree of dubious origin. And often they take seedlings from the south. Is it any wonder that they do not grow in the north and even in the middle belt? Where are such seedlings sold? Mostly at markets. For example, they are brought there from southern republics, from Uzbekistan. In this case, the seedlings themselves are often of excellent quality – there are no complaints about them. But they have a disadvantage – they are not adapted to life in the climate conditions of central Russia. By the way, such seedlings feel very well in the southern republics. Somewhere in the Rostov region, in the Stavropol or Krasnodar Territory, they can safely be planted, but not in the north.

Signs of southern seedlings

1 . the height of the plant. Choosing a young tree, measure the growth of the main shoot in the last year. If its length exceeds 1 m in the pear, in the apple tree 60 cm, then it is not worth taking such a sapling, as in the middle belt shoots of such length simply can not grow. But the southern annuals easily reach a height of 3 m. Sellers take advantage of this, passing them off as 3-4-year-old seedlings. And the inexperienced buyer is happy to take such a seedling, believing that the harvest can be obtained faster. 2. Variety of varieties. You’ve probably gotten into outlets where seedlings are sold right off the machines. Have you ever seen them on sale? The bundles of young trees received from the car have no tags. And so the owner takes such a bundle, and the saleswoman hangs a picture on it. The second bundle has another picture on it, and so on. Try to get to the market early and you’ll see for yourself. Or just stand next to the seller for a while. There are almost always a lot of customers in such outlets, and a certain “variety” with a bright picture quickly runs out. Wait until the moment when the customers disperse and there is a short lull. And you’ll see how at this point sellers start to optimize sales and change images: on the bundles that deviate a lot, they hang an image with which sales go better. Or another option: examine the varieties on offer and then ask if they have a variety that doesn’t belong on display. Well, for example, the Pepin saffron apple. Eight times out of 10 you will be assured out of the blue (get out of the car, run to another location) that it was a Pepin Saffron. But, so be it, I’ll turn you in. ” 3. The seller’s address. More accurately, you are unlikely to know the real address of the seller who is peddling at the market or from the car. But look at the license plate number. And if it has 01 (Adygeya), 05 (Dagestan), 23 (Krasnodar Territory), 26 (Stavropol Territory) – you can be sure that the seedlings came from the south.

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Where to buy local varieties

The easiest way – from local producers. As a rule, in regional and territorial centers there is either a scientific breeding institution or a nursery, where local varieties are grown. Search the Internet, you’re sure to find one. Local nurseries usually take care of customers and value their reputation. So more often than not, they give their address, make a phone call, and invite you to check out the assortment right on the spot. And if you have a car, a trip to the nursery, even for 100-200 km, will be much more profitable than buying seedlings from dubious manufacturers.

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