My appleseed adventure continues - I'm watching the Sepp Holzer videos and he plants out pretty good-sized trees when he plants new areas. It seems to me they get a head start, being taller than the weeds planted around them. So I'm debating the merits of growing my seedlings in a nursery bed for a year or two then moving them vs. planting them directly where I want them (in the pasture).
In the pasture I'd have to build a fence around each tree, regardless of the size, to protect them at least the first 5 years (and maybe longer since the donkeys strip bark off the trees they like). With a tiny tree seedling it would make it harder to keep it clipped/weeded enough that the tree wouldn't just get smothered out by weeds, I think. But in reading about growing trees in a nursery bed then moving them, it says it takes them 2 years or more to overcome "transplant shock" and really start growing again. Is that just for bigger trees or even 1- or 2- year seedlings?
I'd like to grow other trees from seeds to put in the pasture - persimmons and beech grow well here, and I'd like some more oaks and chestnuts too, so the apples are kind of a learning/trial experience that I'll apply on a bigger scale maybe next year.
I plant my peach seeds in a nursery bed for all of the reasons you mention above. Sometimes I plant them in pots but last year I had so many I did both...the nursery bed (the bottom of an old compost pile) had almost 100 percent germination and the pots much less. I have apple seeds up in some planters too. Things just disappear if I plant out tree seed... either the deer or one of us with the sythe, sickle or mower wipe it out. The problem I see now is digging the peaches...judging from the top I have over a foot of tap root to dig in very rocky soil. I think if I catch a rainy week over the winter here I can move them more easily.
But persimmons just keep appearing on their own...I just remove the ones that I don't want.
I dont notice transplant shock with peaches from seed or pie cherry suckers that I planted after growing in pots for a year or two but I have never tried apples before.
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
I had apple seeds sprout for me, then wilt and die. The peaches and pecans do great from seed, as do pomegranates, citrus, loquats and other stuff. I did a big post on it at my blog a while back. I've started re-reading Sepp Holzer's Permaculture and it's inspired me yet again to chuck seeds around.
I know what you mean about seeds in place getting killed. Maybe the trick is overplanting, then letting some survive?
I've toyed with the idea of making a good nursery bed just for trees, though. I'm always saving seeds and sticking them in pots.