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Best way to start seedlings? 1 month 2 weeks ago #72531

  • BentoSalesBoy
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So I have learned a few lessons, such as not starting or keeping them inside, not watering on a schedule and whatnot. I am preparing a new batch of what I want to sow in the upcoming months... (thinking pine, juniper, spruce, sakura, maple). I have researched plant hardiness zones and whatnot, and many of these species are ones that grow locally (I am avoiding exotic species until I get better at Misho and have more understanding of what those species will require).

So here is the question. For Misho, is it best to sow seeds directly in the ground? (If so, what's stopping the roots from growing too big?)

I was thinking of buying a seedling tray or seed starter tray with 50 cells or so, with drainage holes, but keeping it outside where there will be 9-12 hours of sunlight, and leaving it exposed during the snow (for natural stratification/scarification). My thinking is that these seedling trays have cells that will limit root growth until they're 1 year old and ready for transplanting.

Wanted to ask before I make a mistake. Also, should I just let nature take of watering the seeds until the Spring when I start seeing seedlings sprout? Or for Misho, should I still stick to watering when the soil feels dry?

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Best way to start seedlings? 1 month 2 weeks ago #72533

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Growing in tray or in ground makes no difference in the principle of watering. Water when the tree needs it. In my location there are no need for watering except for maybe one or two times in the peak of summer if its growing in the ground. Your location may be different. Obviously in tray one needs to water more often.
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Best way to start seedlings? 1 month 2 weeks ago #72534

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Do not focus on keeping roots small. Your seeds/saplings need to grow first, and good growth needs roots ( and foliage of course) . Give the roots as much space as needed without using an overly large container. That’s why planting them in the ground is so much easier: let nature do it’s thing.
What you can do is dig them up every few years and do some rootwork or plant them on a tile in order to obtain a better nebari, that’s common practice.
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Best way to start seedlings? 1 month 2 weeks ago #72539

  • Albas
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I like the idea of using trays and cell trays, but it's just to keep closer and easy to keep an eye on them, on the cell tray, it's really easy to transplant to a bigger pot or even on the ground, with a good root ball to start. When the species is more commom I just spread some seeds on a ground spot I have.

What I found more interesting, is that it might be easier (at least for begginers) to prune the taproot (to improve your nebari induceing side roots) when removing from the cell, and from the tests I made, it seems to be the perfect stage, the ones I did, simply kept growing like nothing happened.

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Best way to start seedlings? 1 month 2 weeks ago #72541

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Honestly.....Before I got into bonsai I rinced every seedling that sprouted in my garden as weeds. Now that I know better, I just let them grow. They are everywhere now in the range of 1 to 5 years. Come spring I will dig up, cut taproots and organice them in their own bonsai training bed.

Spending my money and time on growing seeds in small pots has never really been an option for me. I just let the nature do what nature is best at.
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Best way to start seedlings? 1 month 2 weeks ago #72543

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Yes, Tropfrog, I got you, I think we all pass tru the plant "hoarder" phase, hahahah.

The more trees you get, less you care about young seedlings, and would take a good reason why to start another one. I'm starting to realise that, as I may have now about 70 plants...

I'm now starting to put together a place to grow a few of them on the ground... I'm gonna grow a few Ficuses variations and other trees to train them on the ground (sides with bricks to make the rootwork easier), and at the same time get an advanced material, as I want to try the trunk fusion technique.

But I haven't spend anything on my recycled trays (used plastic packaging), nor the sand/soil that I use to start them, or even the cell tray (Gift from a friend that runs a Farming Store, good thing about beeing a country guy, hahahah)... As I said, for some commom seeds, easy to get, that grows around me, I don't even bother.

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Best way to start seedlings? 1 month 2 weeks ago #72546

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Curious that this just happened today, I just got some Brazilian Rain Tree's seeds today...
Since they are rare in my state/region, and it's not popular among people here, the only way to get this tree in my region would be buying seeds, buying the plant, or finding a Brazilian Rain Tree owner around (which I did).

So I don't mind to give it an extra early care (being that just putting them on a pot with rought sand by now... hahaha)




Tree last summer ( When I started scouting it, lol)



Sorry if I mislead the topic.

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Best way to start seedlings? 1 month 2 weeks ago #72549

  • Ivan Mann
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I should have mentioned this before.

Do something about birds.

My four year old bonsai assistant/grandson, being half Chinese, loves lichees, which have pretty big seeds. He wanted to plant some. About a week later all twelve were pushing out of the dirt the way seeds so, which is that the sprout was pushing the seed out. The next day something - bird, chipmunk, whatever - had pulled them all up, eaten the seeds, and every one was dead. We'll try again next spring, but it was disappointing, to say the least.

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Best way to start seedlings? 1 month 2 weeks ago #72551

  • Albas
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Hahah Sorry Ivan, but yes... That's why sometimes "Let nature do it's job" can trick you, because sometimes nature has another plans for your trees, :P just kidding, I had similar cases around here.
And really, a pot with sand is not expansive, nor that time taker, if the seeds present any value for you, and if you want to do so. (and if you just think a bit, a pot with sand can be for free).

If you have lands, big trees from species you like to work, that are always producing bunches of seedlings, great... I have this situation with Calliandras, Jabuticabas or Brazilian Cherry around here, and that's awesome, because it's just a mather of paying attention. I just think that this may not work for everyone.

But about the Lichee, I've read that the best way to propagate them is to Air-layer it, if you have access to a tree, of course. My uncle has a tree, so I'm planning to do so next year to gift my dad, as he loves the fruit.

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Best way to start seedlings? 1 month 2 weeks ago #72552

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Albas wrote: Hahah Sorry Ivan, but yes... That's why sometimes "Let nature do it's job" can trick you, because sometimes nature has another plans for your trees, :P just kidding, I had similar cases around here.
And really, a pot with sand is not expansive, nor that time taker, if the seeds present any value for you, and if you want to do so. (and if you just think a bit, a pot with sand can be for free).

If you have lands, big trees from species you like to work, that are always producing bunches of seedlings, great... I have this situation with Calliandras, Jabuticabas or Brazilian Cherry around here, and that's awesome, because it's just a mather of paying attention. I just think that this may not work for everyone.

But about the Lichee, I've read that the best way to propagate them is to Air-layer it, if you have access to a tree, of course. My uncle has a tree, so I'm planning to do so next year to gift my dad, as he loves the fruit.


I have no idea what how the tree would be as a bonsai, but the enthusiastic assistant proposed the idea, and therefore it was a good idea. I think I remember it would be tropical.

They go to the Chinese stores and get lots of interesting things, among them lichees. Next time I will have metal screen over the container to let in sun but not birds.

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