Last year I tried two different approaches to planting black pine seedling cuttings – planting them in individual containers, the approach I’d most often taken in the past, and planting groups of them together in terra cotta pots (see “How to pot seedling-cuttings“). While the seedling-cuttings planted in 3” pots did well, the ones planted in larger terra cotta pots did much better. I don’t have a good photo of what they looked like this winter, but you can see what they looked like last spring below.
Newly planted seedling-cuttings – May, 2012
This winter I separated the seedlings and planted them in their own containers. One of Nomoto’s cohorts in Japan has grown black pines from seed for many years and recommends developing them slowly in the early years and encouraging stronger growth once the basic shape of the trunk has been established. Nomoto and I rooted around looking for appropriate pots and found tall 4″ containers that struck me as a bit large and tippy. Nomoto thought they were perfect – as long as we cut them down a bit.
The bottom half, the top half, a complete pot
The drainage holes were huge and required a large piece of screen to cover the entire bottom of the pot, but as this sounded like a lot of work, I used large drainage soil instead.
Large drainage holes
Lava covering the drainage holes
The seedlings themselves ranged from 1 inch tall with an inch of stem below the surface to almost 4 inches tall. Even the smaller seedlings had lots of roots.
One of the smaller seedlings (a red pine)
To plant them, I held the seedlings in place and slowly added soil.
Ready for soil
It took a while to plant them all. Each time I finished a flat, I placed them on a bench and watered.
1 year-old seedlings
Toward the end, I found that I had a small number of young trees and a large number of pot scraps. I also remembered that I wanted to make a few exposed root pines. What to do?
Pumice in a stack of pot scraps held together with duck tape
Ready for soil
Lots of room for future roots
Larger pots with lava keep the cylinders from tipping over
I’ll water and feed these 1 year-old trees for another year or two before it’s time to start wiring. I’ll show the work for 3 year-old seedlings Friday.
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