Many people have the perception that tree planting season in the south is over when March 1 rolls around. The truth is, pine seedlings can be successfully planted well into April and possibly even beyond. While we encourage everyone to plant as early as possible when conditions are favorable, the reality is that many pine seedlings will have to be planted later in the season due to weather and planter availability. This season, many tree planters have been delayed getting their workers. You can still get your seedlings planted and expect to have good survival and growth. However, it is even more important now to ensure that proper planting techniques are utilized and seedlings are properly stored and cared for.
Seedlings lifted and packed while still fully dormant can be stored in cold storage for four weeks or more without any significant loss in survivability or growth potential. In fact, it is better to pack and store them while fully dormant than after they have “broken bud” and started to grow. Storage time will be reduced significantly after seedlings have started to grow again. That is why our nurseries are rushing now to lift and pack seedlings as quickly as possible
So, if you are waiting on tree planters to get your property planted, don’t panic! There is still time to plant and expect good results. Just be especially vigilant to see that they are properly planted, stored properly and well cared for. A successful plantation always starts this way. After that, success depends primarily on adequate rainfall throughout the spring, summer and fall. And that is beyond our control.