Greenhouse plug seedlings have the distinct advantage of having soil attached to the root system. Upon receipt of your seedlings, all boxes should be opened and inspected immediately, clearing aside packing material if necessary. Plugs should be watered as soon as possible. If a plastic bag insert was used in shipping, remove the bag before watering. These plants can now be stored in a cool area for several weeks, if necessary, prior to transplanting. Limited light exposure during this period will help your cause, but always try to get your plants into the ground or transplant bed as soon as possible.
Upon receipt of woody ornamentals, inspect the contents of every box, remove the packing material, then remove the plants, and water if dry. Our woody liners are wintered-over in white poly-houses that are maintained at 28-32F. Plants that are still dormant should be stored under similar temperatures with minimal exposure to light. Actively growing plants should also be stored in a comparable environment, but need additional light (filtered), and a period of "hardening off" before planting in direct sunlight. Plants shipped June thru September should not require a "hardening off" period.
Bare-root seedlings and transplants are an entirely different matter. Whether our trees are shipped in the spring or in the fall, every effort is made to ensure dormancy. As the spring season progresses, this task becomes more and more challenging. Upon arrival, all bare-root plants should be inspected, unpacked, and re-dipped in water immediately. After re-dipping, the trees can be placed back in the boxes with moist paper around the root mass and stored in a cool area for a short period of time, usually 1 week during most seasons. If, for whatever reason, the trees cannot be planted within that 1 week period, then remove and cut the bundles, dip them, and lay the individual trees out ("heel in") in a prepared trench. Do not heel the trees in while still in bundles as air can penetrate the open center of the bundle causing desiccation. Trees should be planted at the same depth (root collar) from which they were harvested. Shade over your temporary holding beds is preferable.
Water the trees directly after heeling in and every other day henceforth until out-planting. (Note: the use of synthetic root dip during this process may be well advised.) Trees adequately spaced in a holding trench can survive for several weeks. When removing the trees for out-planting, re-dip them in fresh water and root prune. For most of our seedlings and transplants, 6"-9" of root length is sufficient for good root development. Never allow a bare-root tree to dry out. Two minutes of exposure on a sunny day can dry the roots enough to kill the tree!
Western Maine Nurseries, Inc. warrantees its bare-root transplants. Claims for spring shipments must be made before July 1st of the same year. Claims on fall shipments must be made before July 1st of the following year. Plant materials shipped with soil attached and bare-root seedlings are not covered under warranty.
Using a few basic precautionary measures will minimize the potential for problems and help to ensure the longevity of your valuable plant material. Please contact us if you have any questions on the proper care of your seedlings, transplants, and woody ornamentals