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Planting from seed vs Paper Pot Started

 
Joseph Lewis
Posts: 21
Location: NE Missouri
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I am planning on planting lots of trees in the coming years. I hope to keep my small farm in my family for generations, so longevity of what I plant is important to me. Many people have stated that a tree planted by seed directly in the ground is the best way to go, as it will not have damaged roots/tap like a bare root seedling or one allowed to grow in a pot. How about starting in a paper pot just to germinate and get it growing for a couple days then plant? I figure there is no way the tap root would reach the bottom by the time you planted, and by the time it does it will already be in the ground. The paper will cause no barrier to the root as I have had tomatoes grow together too often using this method. Seems like it would be as good as planting directly, or am I missing something?
 
Jim Gardener
Posts: 29
Location: Acton (north Los Angeles County), CA
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This depends on what type of trees you plan on planting. Some trees don't transplant well, especially the ones that have deep tap roots. Sometimes those tap roots can grow very quickly, so most pots are out. You can get deep pots and then just cut down the sides of the pots before planting.

Potted trees won't always be a problem, unless you let them stay in the pot till they become root bound. A 1-gallon tree will generally grow faster and taller than a 15-gallon tree, even though it starts out smaller.

Some trees won't grow true to seed, so you may not like what you end up with, though you could always graft the variety you prefer onto that seedling. Many trees in the nurseries are grafted. That way you can have a rootstock that addresses your soil conditions.

Here's a hint for growing from seed or cuttings: Create a miniature greenhouse for the plant. Get a 1/2 gallon or gallon clear plastic juice bottle (like apple juice). Cut off the bottom and place the bottle over the plant, embedded in the soil. This keeps the moisture up and allows you to add supplemental water or nutrients by removing the screw-on cap. It also reduces the likelihood of critters eating your your plants.
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