Arborgen Treelines Header October 2022 2Nd Edition 1 Arborgen Tree Seedlings Treelines October 2022 2Nd Edition

Avoid Common Planting Mistakes

During a recent ArborGen webinar, “What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You,” Reforestation Manager Jason Watson discussed everything from knowing the type of genetics you are planting to how they are planted. Reforestation costs are the landowner’s primary forestry investment during a timber stand’s life. Good seedling survival sets the stage for the next forest’s productivity and the landowner’s returns on investment.

Once you have decided what to plant, you may often leave the planting to someone else. But just as important as you are involved in what to plant, ensuring the seedlings are planted correctly will be crucial to survival. Proper supervision of your tree planters, whether by you, your consulting forester, or a tree planting contractor, is vital to successful reforestation.

Your tree planter must handle bareroot and containerized tree seedlings carefully from the time they are harvested at the nursery until they are transplanted in the field. Make sure you or your contractor monitor environmental conditions and adjust field operations to optimize your seedling survival. If you are a TreeLines subscriber, you know ArborGen often sends out weather warnings and updates during planting season to ensure you are aware of changing conditions. We also work closely with the forestry co-ops to share information they may be publishing.

Your success is our success. Below are 8 Tips to Ensure the Best Survival and a few more planting mistakes to avoid (see the illustrations below). By following these tips, you enhance the likelihood of successful planting. Remember that ArborGen Nurseries and Reforestation Advisors are ready to help you with your questions.

Not Just Green Side Up Arborgen Tree Seedlings Treelines October 2022 2Nd Edition

More than green side up, your seedlings’ 1st-year of survival is not enough. This is a significant financial investment, and getting your seedlings off to the best start possible is essential.

Jason Watson Image
Jason Watson will be hosting another webinar on reforestation in November. Watch for additional information.

8 Tips to Ensure the Best Survival

1. Keep seedlings cool.
2. Keep seedlings from freezing.
3. Keep seedlings moist. Seedling roots must never be allowed to dry out, even for a few minutes.
4. Handle seedlings carefully.
5. Keep storage duration short.
6. Don’t plant small, weak seedlings.
7. Don’t plant when soils are dry.
8. Don’t plant when weather conditions are critical.
Too Loose Arborgen Tree Seedlings Treelines October 2022 2Nd Edition

Too Loose

A firm pull on one needle cluster moves the plant.

Excessive Pruning Arborgen Tree Seedlings Treelines October 2022 2Nd Edition

Excessive Tap Root Pruning

Pine seedling roots should not be pruned shorter than 5". Hardwood seedling roots should not be pruned shorter than 6".

Not Erect Arborgen Tree Seedlings Treelines October 2022 2Nd Edition

Not Erect

The taproot should not be planted at more than 30˚ from perpendicular.

Have questions about planting?

Ready to schedule your seedling pickup or delivery?

The Practice of Science and Art

Charles Purtle, an experienced Arkansas forest landowner, discusses the importance of relying on your Reforestation Team.  Watch the video below.

Handle Your Seedlings with Care!

Handling your seedlings properly is just as important as planting them properly.  Get some great pointers from Jeff Smith of Scotch Land Management & Plywood and Paul Jeffreys, PhD Reforestation Advisor. Watch the video below.

Need a trusted partner to guide the way?
Get in touch with a Reforestation Advisor to explore your options!
Austin Heine

Austin Heine

North Carolina and Virginia


Jason Cromer

Jason Cromer

Florida, Georgia


Greg Hay

Greg Hay

Arkansas, Northern Louisiana, and Oklahoma


Shannon Stewart

Shannon Stewart

Eastern Texas, Southern Louisiana


Paul Jeffreys, Ph.d.

Paul Jeffreys, Ph.D.

Alabama & Mississippi

Manager Special Projects & Sustainability

Kylie Burdette

Kylie Burdette

U.S. Sales Manager

Reforestation Advisor
South Carolina

Jason Watson

Jason Watson

Director, U.S. Sales