Many gardeners panic when they buy seedlings and then suddenly enter winter with a layer of snow and ice covering the soil. What to do with the seedlings, where can you put them, and how to preserve them so that they do not die? Now about all this, we will tell you how to deal with it.
DO NOT BE AFRAID, DO NOT BE AFRAID
Immediately discard drupe crops, about which we will talk separately. It has been written many times that drupes, cherries, plums, cherry, etc. are best planted in the spring. If you bought drupe seedlings in the fall, how to bury them, we’ll talk about later. But for now, about something else.
It is known that the biological root systems of various fruit crops, especially pomegranates, can develop freely in the soil if their temperature is only about 37 °F (3 ° C). For everything else, the surface part of the plant, i.e. most of it, is asleep, so transplanting or dividing in this state will not be felt.
Planted in cold soil, not frozen, but tundra, the seed crop develops immunity and the root system develops stronger and deeper, thus improving the plant’s drought resistance. Therefore, there is no need to panic if the soil freezes just slightly at the top.
Before you can safely bury the plant, you need to think about how to transport it. Many times, you can see a photo of a car rushing down a trailer full of seedlings on an icy road with the roots of the plant safely encased while the entire surface area is bare. This is fundamentally wrong and can lead to the death of the above-ground part, i.e. its frost. Therefore, when transporting in this way, be sure to cover both the roots and the above-ground part of the plant, the latter even better than the former.
STORING YOUNG PLANTS INDOORS
Bring the plants in, seeing that the soil is already quite frozen, for example, minus 42-44°F (6-7°C). Growing or burying plants in such soil is no longer possible. Then use the old, good, and time-tested method: place the seedlings in moist sawdust in the basement. The roots can be wrapped in plastic (if it is very cold in the cellar – i.e. almost as cold as outdoors) or not wrapped, but just covered with damp sawdust if the temperature in the cellar is around 32°F (0°C) in the negative direction.
The main thing is that under the sawdust, not only the root system of the seedlings, but also the lower part, up to the root neck, and in the case of one-year-old seedlings (i.e. one rod), then about 1 inch higher.
After the seedlings stored in the basement, start monitoring the temperature of this room. So if it suddenly starts to grow and rises all over, it will have to open the vents and doors to let in cold air and lower the temperature, because even at 41°F (5°C) the buds may start to wake up, i.e. the plant will start to wake up, and that is not a good sign.
Storing young seedlings, if winter comes suddenly, you can not only in the basement. The main thing is to ensure the optimal temperature and not to let the sawdust dry out. For this purpose is very suitable, in fact, any frost-free room, in which there is moderate humidity, – this is a cellar, basement, balcony (of course, if it is not heated, but certainly glass), in which the temperature is maintained at about 32 ° F (0 ° C) (plus or minus a few degrees, but no more).
STORAGE OF SEEDLINGS OF DRUPE CROPS
As promised, let’s talk about walnut seedlings, which you can also store in the basement if the soil has frozen. The main thing in drupes – remove all the leaves, because it draws moisture from the shoots, and often drupes are sold with a large number of leaf plates, especially – cherries.
Prickly pear trees can be placed in individual boxes or crates, no plastic bags should be used: these trees are very sensitive to wind erosion. Do not forget to keep the sawdust slightly moist.
Make sure to check the roots of the drupes carefully before putting them in the boxes or crates. If you feel that the roots are not moist enough, it is okay to put them in cold water for a few hours.
HOW DO I BURY SEEDLINGS THAT HAVE BEEN OVERWINTERED?
If it’s too late to sow and the ground hasn’t frozen yet? Then bury them directly on the plot and as soon as possible before the ground freezes. In order to keep, in fact, any sapling in the ground, it is necessary to build a hole or trench and position it roughly from east to west.
The size of this pit is difficult to describe uniquely, it depends on many factors: here and there the number of seedlings, their length, and age (whether the sapling is branched or not), how well developed its root system is – all these factors come into play and are reflected in the size of the pit. Therefore, the more seedlings there are, the more branches on them, the more developed the root system is, the larger the length and depth of the hole (trench) should be.
When choosing the location of the hole, try to choose the driest and well-ventilated place. Ideally, the north side should be sheltered from cold winds and allow more snow to accumulate.
For your convenience in calculating the length of the hole, let us note that on each plant, in addition to the immersion of the roots, there are dozens of inches covering the above-ground portion of the soil, and in the case of drupes, dozens of inches.
The average depth of the hole should be about 20inch (50 cm) and the width 12-20inch (30-35 cm) (again, these are average dimensions). Try to dig a trench so that the south side has a 45-degree angle slope (we are talking about a wall) and so that the north side is as vertical as possible.
On heavy soils, where meltwater may accumulate under the seedlings, it is best to make a “bedding” of peat mixed with river sand in the same proportions.
On top of the seedlings, be sure to lay down conifer paws and sprinkle pine needles and conifer sawdust before covering them with soil. You can then cover them with soil, and this layer should be 4inch (10cm) thick.
You can only take the dug-up stone plants out of the trench in mid-April when the soil has warmed up and you can plant them in a permanent location.
DIGGING OUT WALNUT SAPLINGS
Transfer to drupe crops (e.g. apples, pears, and others). In principle, these plants can be classified as sufficiently resistant to cold, if, of course, you choose the right variety for your region to grow. With this in mind, you can even plant them in the ground later if the soil is not frozen, but you should definitely bury them if caught by frost. If you don’t want to take any risks at all, it’s also worth burying the seedlings, regardless of the condition of the soil, just as a time-based guide.
Seed crops buried in the ground can be cultivated according to the same principles as for drupes. There is no special difference here, although the trunk can be buried for a third less, the main thing is that the roots are in the hole, are moist, and covered with soil.
Some gardeners additionally cover all buried seedlings with polyethylene film. This is actually undesirable because if sunlight hits the foil, condensation can accumulate under it, which can lead to future rot. If you do want to cover your shelter with something, it is best to cover the crop with a non-woven fabric or other breathable covers. Cover at the beginning of the first frost, not too early.
In the cellar, seed crops, as well as stonecrops, are buried in sawdust. You can do this by placing seedlings vertically and placing them under a small slope. And in the case of a balcony, you can place a sapling or several saplings in a wooden box with sawdust at the bottom put the saplings in it, and cover the box to the top with sawdust.
GENERAL RULES OF EXCAVATION
For seed crops, for drupes, for any shrub or semi-shrub, before going into storage – in cellars, wine cellars, crates, during digging – it is necessary to remove all the leaves. First, they draw water from the seedlings, even if they look sluggish; second, the leafy slabs, dying, begin to rot and the rot spreads easily to the shoots.
Next, pay attention to the roots, we have already written a little above, but again it is useful to remind: if the root system raises any suspicion, for example, it seems that you dried up, then do not be lazy and soak in water for a day, only clean, without fertilizers and other substances that can stimulate plant growth. After this time, the seedlings can be put into storage.
Important note: When placing any seedlings in the trench, it should be done so that the roots face north and the top of the seedlings face south. This is the best way to protect the seedlings in the trench from cold winds (which can cause them to dry out) and from active sunlight (which can cause them to be burned).
Next, and this is also important, any place where you open a trench for seedlings needs to be protected from rodents. There are two ways to do this: one is arguably dangerous, and the other is not. The dangerous way is to spread large amounts of poisonous bait – dangerous because both pests and useful animals or birds can eat it.
A safer way is to cover the entire bait hole with a sturdy net of plastic or metal and secure the edges of this net with anything you can do, as long as it is sturdy.
You can use sticky glue in your basement: It is unlikely that you have rabbits in your basement, but you can easily trap mice with sticky glue. It’s safe for pets and deadly for rodents.
TIPS FOR STORING YOUNG PLANTS
If the necessary covering materials, such as sawdust, rags, moss, sand, or even the box itself is frozen, frozen, frozen, the easiest way is to pour boiling water on it. Do not knock off and cut down: so and the physical cost will increase significantly, you can damage, say, at least the same box.
If the seedlings are quite small, for example, sent by mail, but it is so late that there is no possibility of burying them in the street, in the basement, there are elements without space anymore, then they can be banal in the refrigerator, but you need to wrap the film to the branch, you can and ordinary food.
From the bottom of this simple package, it is necessary to punch small holes, you can pierce the film with an awl or a thick needle, and when the height of snow outside the window will reach 7-8inch (18-20 cm), transfer the seedlings directly from the refrigerator to the snow, without taking them out of the package.
To prevent the snow from melting when thawing, be sure to fill the snow pile with seedlings with a layer of sawdust, preferably no less than a few inches thick.
Also, I would like to say a word literally about conifer and rose seedlings.
STORING CONIFER SEEDLINGS
Let’s start with conifers, so their seedlings are not suitable for storage in the cellar, it is better to dig in the garden, but choose a place protected from the sun and wind. Since conifers are always sold in containers with closed root systems, you don’t have to dig huge holes, you can simply put them in boxes and put them in the ground.
The main thing is – make sure the roots of such seedlings are slightly moist, you can top the pots a bit hotter, cover them with soil, and were allowed – dry, the sides of the container should always be wrapped with any covering material. If you have a lot of reeds, you can make a cone out of it and cover the plant completely, or cover the whole box with the plant.
If you receive conifer seedlings when there is a real frost outside, do not leave them outside, but put them in a room similar to a garage. Inside you should put bins or boxes, pour about 1 inch of sawdust on the bottom, place the seedlings in these bins or boxes, pour sawdust on all the free areas, and at least 1 inch or so on the top.
It is not necessary to cover the conifer canopy in the garage, but mainly to insulate the roots, and if a severe frost is expected, wrap the box itself with a felt cloth or any old clothes or blankets.
Important note: The soil in the container containing the conifers should be slightly moist, but not wet or dry.
STORING ROSE SEEDLINGS
Finally, about roses. the end of October is the ideal time to take care of your summer beauties. Until around mid-November, they can be planted without any worries in the middle of the United States. If the ground is frozen, they should also be placed in trenches.
To do this, also dig a trench about as deep as a shovel, place the seedlings there, cover them with soil, and then cover them with spruce boughs or lay down any kind of mulching material.
Small rose seedlings can be kept well in an ordinary household refrigerator, mainly by placing them on the lowest shelf, the layer where the temperature varies from 32-39°F (0-4°C) heat. It is best to wrap the roots in lightly moistened paper, or you can use newspaper paper, then place them in a plastic bag and tie it tightly.
If storing roses in the cellar, try to keep them at the same temperature. Remember, roses are best stored not in sawdust, but in moist river sand and not in two-thirds of the stems.
So that’s all I wanted to tell you about storing seedlings. If you have any questions, we will be happy to answer them in the comments.