[nafex] seedlings - overcome drying losses

Alexander Brands abb7 at Lehigh.EDU
Sun Mar 4 13:36:09 EST 2012

> Message: 3
> Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2012 08:40:19 -0700
> From: "alden at waldenwinds.com" <alden at waldenwinds.com>
> Subject: [nafex] seedlings - overcome drying losses
> To: <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID: <7fe020d$3f60ac83$6cfba3be$@com>
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> I want to start some small seeds of trees this year.
> In prior years, when I did get germination, I lost the resulting planted
> seedlings in their two-leaf stage before they could develop their first
> leaves, because they dried out in the pots.
> I can only think of two ways to overcome drying losses.
> One is to have an automatic mister.  I've done this before for
> cuttings...but is attendant with lots of set-up time, so is costly of my
> time.  Usually capital demanding, too.
> A second is to leave the pots always in standing water.  How many species
> object to the presence of standing water on the bottoms of their pots?
> Is clay better suited to the job of standing in water than plastic?   Thank
> you for any thoughts.
> Charlie in Massachusetts

If it's really a problem of drying out, you could increase the  
humidity around the seedling with a small improvised cloche of some  
kind.  Empty jars inverted over the seedling would do the trick.   
Alternatively, you could put several pots in a clear/translucent  
plastic enclosure, like a large plastic storage bin.

Are you sure it's a problem with drying out?  Are you familiar with  
"damping off"?  This is a common problem with seedlings where they are  
attacked by a fungal infection near the soil line, and superficially  
may look like they have dried up.

What kinds of seeds have you had trouble with?


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