CLIMATE – Planting Containerized Seedlings in Warm Weather
There has been concern over the lack of consistent cold weather as we continue shipping seedlings for planting across the south. Our customers have been planting seedlings since early October. Based on our experience and the fact that we only ship container seedlings, we have advised them to continue to plant. In addition, we continue to advise our customers to plant as container seedlings are NOT the same as bareroot seedlings where dormancy is desirable before lifting and shipping. Container seedlings are frequently shipped when they are not in full dormancy.
Bareroot seedlings are often put into refrigerated storage for several days to accommodate lifting and shipping. When there has been very little cold weather, storage of bareroot seedlings in coolers for an extended time is not advised. It has long been known that planting container seedlings in the fall gives them significant growth advantage and ability to tolerate dry spring conditions. 100 percent of the root system of quality container seedlings are shipped to the field.
Research shows that the weight of the root system accounts for 60 percent of container seedlings but only 19 percent or less for bareroot seedlings. We have shipped several million seedlings in October and November to customers who are taking advantage of the good field moisture this fall across the south. These seedlings will be fine as they will condition themselves when cooler temperatures do occur. They should have significant root growth as ground temperatures have stayed above 50 degrees in most areas of the south.
We do advise customers to not plant immediately (2 days or less) ahead of a severe freeze where temperatures go from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit to temperatures in the mid-twenties or below overnight. This is advisable even with seedlings that have had some colder conditioning, but this is definitely advisable now since we have hardly had any cold conditioning to date this year. If you have any questions as what to do with planting, please give one of our professionals a call, and we can give you advice for your particular situations.