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Desert Tree Seedlings

 
R J West
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona Zone 9a
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I have been growing Desert Tree Seedlings in SC10 Cone-tainers. Has anyone used these? How tall can Tree Seedlings get before they need to be mover to larger containers? What would be the best soil media to use?
 
Miles Flansburg
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Howdy RJ welcome to permies!
I have never used them but Jack Spirco has a short video that might help?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOeKy0jY1Jw
 
R J West
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona Zone 9a
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Thanks for the reply Miles,
The cone-tainers are they only way to go when growing Tree Seedlings. The video shows the SC10's and that's what I use, there are 98 to a tray and the Tray is 1'x2', so you can grow a lot of seedlings in very little space. For Desert Tree Seedlings the growing media is 1 Mulch, 1 Peat, 2 Perlite, and 2 Coarse sand. I water every time with Soluble Triple 20 @ 12ozs. per 100 gallons injected into the watering system. I have a lot to learn about growing Tree Seedlings, so any help is appreciated. I made a Watering Wand that puts out the water a least twice as fast of conventional ones, saves time in Hand Watering if anyone is interested I can post instructions on how to make one, cost is less than $10. Thanks again!!! RJ
 
John Elliott
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I think it would depend on how you want the taproot of the seedling to develop. I have seen oak seedlings that are around 4" tall that already have a taproot longer than the 8.25" of your SC10 cone-tainer. Needless to say, once the taproot hits bottom, you would want to get it out to its final location or the taproot will grow in some freaky manner not in keeping with its own nature. If you are raising a variety of Chilean mesquite and you want it to develop a 200' taproot, better plant it directly in the ground and let the taproot develop undisturbed.

However, if you intention is to grow a bonsai tree or something like a bald cypress that has a spreading tangle of shallow roots, 8.25" is plenty deep.

Now that I have mentioned both the deepest and shallowest rooting trees that I can think of, I would suggest a rule-of-thumb that you plant them out when you have as much above the soil level as below, i.e., when the seedlings get about 8" tall.
 
Rebecca Norman
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R J West wrote:I made a Watering Wand that puts out the water a least twice as fast of conventional ones, saves time in Hand Watering if anyone is interested I can post instructions on how to make one, cost is less than $10.


Yes I'm interested in your watering wand. Does it hook to a hose and require water pressure, or is it handheld?

John Elliott wrote: If you are raising a variety of Chilean mesquite and you want it to develop a 200' taproot, better plant it directly in the ground and let the taproot develop undisturbed.


Whoah, 200' taproot?! Are there any trees like that, that can grow in a temperate climate, ie with a cold winter? Wow! Our land has some 70' of bone dry soil before the groundwater at about 75 or 80 feet deep. Would one have to somehow tempt the taproot down with moisture all the way down, or how would that be done?
 
R J West
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona Zone 9a
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John Elliott wrote:I think it would depend on how you want the taproot of the seedling to develop. I have seen oak seedlings that are around 4" tall that already have a taproot longer than the 8.25" of your SC10 cone-tainer. Needless to say, once the taproot hits bottom, you would want to get it out to its final location or the taproot will grow in some freaky manner not in keeping with its own nature. If you are raising a variety of Chilean mesquite and you want it to develop a 200' taproot, better plant it directly in the ground and let the taproot develop undisturbed.

However, if you intention is to grow a bonsai tree or something like a bald cypress that has a spreading tangle of shallow roots, 8.25" is plenty deep.

Now that I have mentioned both the deepest and shallowest rooting trees that I can think of, I would suggest a rule-of-thumb that you plant them out when you have as much above the soil level as below, i.e., when the seedlings get about 8" tall. [/quo



John,
Unfortunately in the Sonoran Desert there is from 2' to 6' thick of Coleache, (concrete like substance) from 1' to 10' under the top soil. There is no tap root that can penetrate this. Your rule of thumb theory makes a lot of sense, when the Tree Seedling is 8.25" tall the tap root will be as long or longer. There are Tree Pots that are over 24" deep. I know another Grower that has Trees in 4" PVC tubes that are over 4' tall. This is a method used in Reforestation, a 6" auger is drilled 4' deep and the screen at the bottom of the tube is taken off, the tube is placed in the 4' hole then pulled up over the tree. The roots are never touched by human hands, then the tree is watered and a jell is placed around the stem and releases water over a period of time. There is no irrigation when planting for Reforestation, and sometimes it doesn't rain for months. I don't doubt Mesquite tap roots can get very long if given a chance. By taking a Tree Seedling out of the cone-tainer probably would be the best way to know when to Pot Up!

Thanks again for your input, most members just read and don't contribute!
 
R J West
Posts: 8
Location: Phoenix, Arizona Zone 9a
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Rebecca Norman wrote:
R J West wrote:I made a Watering Wand that puts out the water a least twice as fast of conventional ones, saves time in Hand Watering if anyone is interested I can post instructions on how to make one, cost is less than $10.


Yes I'm interested in your watering wand. Does it hook to a hose and require water pressure, or is it handheld?

John Elliott wrote: If you are raising a variety of Chilean mesquite and you want it to develop a 200' taproot, better plant it directly in the ground and let the taproot develop undisturbed.


Whoah, 200' taproot?! Are there any trees like that, that can grow in a temperate climate, ie with a cold winter? Wow! Our land has some 70' of bone dry soil before the groundwater at about 75 or 80 feet deep. Would one have to somehow tempt the taproot down with moisture all the way down, or how would that be done?


Rebecca,

The watering wand is made from 1/2" Sced. 40 PVC pipe. and you can make it any length you want. I bend the end of the pipe with a heat gun, just like the bend in the wand your using now. I glue a !/2"FSx3/4"MHT at the shower head end, at the handle end, I use a !/2FSx1/2MPT then screw on a 1/2" PVC shut off valve, (the kind that when open has a 1/2" hole straight through, FPT both ends, last I screw on a brass 1/2MPTx3/4" FHT. Most wands have a shut off valve with a 1/4" hole or smaller, restricting the water flow. If your using a Siphon Hose Fitting for your Soluble Fertilizer it won't make that much difference but if you have an Injector, you can hand water twice as fast. The parts are less than $10. I made a 1/2 dozen, and keep the shower head on a holder, that puts the head in a can of Clorax Bleach, CLR, and water, this keeps the head sterile and clean.

I also use a Water Conditioning System with Bead and Brine Tank, I use Potassium Chloride in the Brine Tank, this Takes the Magnesium, and Calcium out of the water, keeps the misters clean, and no white powder residue, left on the leaves, works great!

Thanks for your thoughts Rebecca, I hope I have helped!
 
John Elliott
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RJ, don't surrender to the caliche so easily. When I lived in Las Vegas, my property had a layer of caliche running 3-6' below the surface. I know because this entailed extra $$ for the pool contractor to hammer through it. However I also had a mulberry tree on the property. Couldn't get rid of it. I pollarded it severely, and it came right back -- even though I made a point not to water it. Now for a mulberry tree to survive in the 4" rainfall of Las Vegas, it had to find a way to access the water table under all that caliche -- and it did.
 
John Elliott
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Rebecca Norman wrote:
Whoah, 200' taproot?! Are there any trees like that, that can grow in a temperate climate, ie with a cold winter? Wow! Our land has some 70' of bone dry soil before the groundwater at about 75 or 80 feet deep. Would one have to somehow tempt the taproot down with moisture all the way down, or how would that be done?


Look into bur oak or Mongolian oak. These are the oak trees I was mentioning that have a tap root much longer than the part above the ground. You may have to baby them the first few years, but once that tap root gets established and finds that groundwater, you will have a permanent tree -- it will come back again and again from the most severe coppicing.
 
Ardilla Esch
Posts: 198
Location: Northern New Mexico, Zone 5b
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The NM Forestry Division uses these for their seedling program - I have bought several hundred seedlings from them over the years. It seems like most species seedlings can get to over a foot tall before needing to be transplanted, some up to two feet. Oaks seem to be another situation though. They are usually planted in fall and put out a couple seed leaves and a lot of root. In spring they will be a couple inches tall but the roots will have grown to the bottom of the SC10 and back up to the top and down again. The oaks I am talking about in particular are Gambel oaks. The acorn supports a lot of root growth with very little above ground growth, and they get root bound quickly.

I have been getting the seedlings in SC10 containers and transplanting them into 2 or 3 gallon pots for a year before transplanting into the ground. The potted seedlings are put in partial shade, somewhat protected from the wind, and in fencing (to keep out rabbits). Before doing it this way, I killed hundreds of seedlings - now not nearly as many. I do this for tree seedlings that will eventually go into zones 3 and 4 and/or aren't as hardy.

FWIW - the Forestry Division seems to use a fairly standard potting mix that isn't dense. There is very little sand in it at all - mostly peat, vermiculite, perlite, etc.
 
R J West
Posts: 8
Location: Phoenix, Arizona Zone 9a
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FWIW - the Forestry Division seems to use a fairly standard potting mix that isn't dense. There is very little sand in it at all - mostly peat, vermiculite, perlite, etc.



For Reforestation in the Desert area around Phoenix they like to go light on the Organics, because ground the trees are planted in, has very little.

The mixture is 2 Coarse sand 2 Perlite, and 1 Organic ( Peat, Forest Mulch, ect)

I have seen Deep Tree Pots that fit in Milk Crates, 24" and deeper.

These Trees are For Sale, so planting in the ground is not an option.
 
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