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  4. »Planting Seeds, Seedlings, and Cuttings

Kansas Forest Service

Kansas Forest Service
2610 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66502
785.532.3300

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Planting Seeds, Seedlings, and Cuttings

Bare-Root Seedlings
One of the most common causes of planting failure is to allow the seedlings to dry out during the planting operation. Small roots dry rapidly when exposed to sun and wind. Seedlings can easily be protected during the planting operation by wrapping bundles of seedlings in wet burlap, or placing the seedlings in a bucket with the roots covered with moist packing medium or water. Plant the seedlings immediately upon removing them from protection. Even a few minutes delay can be serious.Dig the planting hole deep enough to accommodate the roots in their natural position. Do not twist the roots or otherwise force them into a small hole. Roots may be pruned to a minimum length of 8 inches to facilitate planting. Protect the roots from drying during the pruning operation. Proper planting depth is at the same depth or slightly deeper (no more than 1 inch deeper) than they grew in the nursery. Place soil around the roots and firm it to remove air pockets from around the roots. Water thoroughly.

Container Seedlings
Dig the planting hole slightly deeper (8 to 9" deep) than the root plug so that when planted, the root plug will be covered with 1/2 - 1 inch of soil (exposed peat moss acts as a wick drying the root plug very quickly). Place soil around the root plug and firm it to remove air pockets from around the roots. Water the seedlings after planting.
Pecan and Walnut Seeds

Plant 2 inches deep. Since some seed will not germinate (usually about 60 % germinate), most people plant 3 seeds per hill. Firm soil around the seeds, and water. Mark the spot with a stake or flag to aid in locating the plants later. If more than one seed grows, select the best plant and pull the others out.Since pecan and walnut are tap root species, it is best to plant the nuts in their permanent locations. If it becomes necessary to transplant the seedlings, do so before the second growing season.

Cuttings
When planting in very loose soil, the cutting can be pressed into the ground by hand. In hard or rocky soil a tool is needed to make a hole should be used. The cuttings should be planted in an upright position (the buds point to the top) with most of the cutting below ground leaving only one or two buds above the surface. Soil around the cuttings should be firmed to eliminate air pockets. It is important that the bottom of the cutting be in wet soil, or that it be irrigated often to keep the soil moist until the plant is well rooted. Willow cuttings for bank stabilization are normally spaced at 3 ft. x 3 ft.