What to look for when buying fruit seedlings?


Fruit trees are perennial crops and the quality of the future garden, its longevity, the costs of maintenance and processing, and, ultimately, the quantity and quality of the resulting crop, depend on the correctly selected planting material.

Young tree of apple tree.

What needs to be done before buying seedlings?

Before laying or rejuvenating garden plantings, we advise you to carry out some preparatory work.

Record in the garden diary the saplings of which crops, varieties and ripening dates to buy. Their number is to draw a landing pattern in the diary in advance, and to prepare landing pits on the site.

Set the height of the groundwater, the depth of the fertile and underlying layer, which is especially important if the site is located in former quarries and other inconveniences.

As a rule, a garden is planted with grafted seedlings. And the depth of the groundwater will depend on which stock to buy seedlings.

Seedling stock selection

When choosing a seedling, be sure to pay attention to the stock. The "health" of the future garden, and therefore the quality of the future crop, depends on the right type of stock.

Dwarf (dwarf) stock It has a superficial root system, is exposed to weather disasters, and is short-lived.

Seed (tall) stock, more durable and resistant to poor environmental conditions.

If the summer cottage is large enough, located on a flat surface with a low (deep) occurrence of groundwater, then you can buy seedlings on a vigorous seed stock. The root system of crops with such root stock is pivotal and penetrates the soil up to 3-4 m. The root anchor will hold the tree well in the soil under different climatic cataclysms (strong, gale-force winds, floods, etc.). But you need to remember that on tall rootstocks, trees reach 9-15 m in height, which makes it difficult to care for such a crop.

If the plot is small, located in a lowland, the fertile layer does not exceed 50-60 cm, groundwater lies close to the surface (high), then it is more practical to buy seedlings on a dwarf or semi-dwarf stock. To maintain stunting, dwarf rootstocks, like tall ones, need to be pruned.

Experienced gardeners prefer strong-growing stocks, as they are more resistant to weather and soil disasters and more durable. On dwarf rootstocks, crops bear fruit up to 15-20 years, and on seedy vigorous plants can grow up to 80-100.

Place the vaccine on the seedling.

How to distinguish the type of stock when buying a seedling?

Having chosen a certain type of seedlings suitable for the conditions of your garden, first examine its root system.

Dwarf stock

All roots of the rootstock leave the root neck, they are one-dimensional in thickness and length. The type of root system is fibrous, has small suction roots.

Vigorous (seed) stock

The root of the rootstock is rod, straight. Lateral thinner roots extend from the central rod. In relation to the central stem, they are almost horizontal, overgrown with sparse, smaller roots.

Rules for choosing a seedling

1. Tag availability

The seedling should have a tag on which the following data will be indicated:

  • type of culture (apple tree, pear, quince, etc.),
  • name of variety
  • zoning (local, another region, country); it’s always better to buy local zoning varieties,
  • ripening period (early, middle, late),
  • type of stock
  • seedling age.

2. Seedling age

The best for planting are 1-2 year old seedlings. They quickly adapt to new conditions. 4-5 year olds 3-4 years old take root in a new place, they transfer the transplant rather painfully. Compared with 1-2 year old seedlings, 5-year-olds are always late with the formation of the first crop (tender crops for 2-3 years).

By external parameters, the seedling should have standard sizes.

  • 1-year-old seedling: the height of the stem is 0.7-1.0 meters, the diameter of the stem is 1.0-1.2-1.3 cm. The length of the root system is 25-35 cm. The aboveground part (scion) of the seedling does not have side branches.
  • 2-year-old seedling: the height of the seedling is 1.4-1.5 m, the diameter of the stem is up to 2.0 cm. The length of the roots is from 30 cm. The aerial part may have 1-2 lateral branches.
  • 2-3 year old seedling has a clearly defined central conductor (trunk) and 3-5 lateral branches (future skeletal). Lateral shoots (branches) should extend from the trunk at an angle of 45 ... 90 degrees. Branches located at an acute angle in an adult tree can break off subsequently under the load of the crop. In a pear, the deviation angle can be sharp (a feature of this culture), it is increased by limb during the formation of the crown.

3. The root system

The roots should have a healthy appearance, be smooth without growths and ulcerations. The exception is sea buckthorn and other crops that have nitrogen-fixing bacteria on their roots in the nodules.

At the cut, the healthy root has a light color, shiny from moisture. Dark color on the cut - it is possible that the seedling is frozen. Dry - the root system is dried, the seedling will take root for a very long time and, most likely, will die. The root system must have suction roots. Roots and roots must be resilient. Bare dry roots will not come to life!

4. The external state of the seedling

The seedling trunk should be straight. The bark is smooth, without dark spots or dots. Dark dots are the future places for the outflow of gum (the rudimentary state of gum detoxification, especially in peaches, apricots, and sweet cherries). The living bark on the scraping is slightly greenish, light. A shriveled bark and under it a brown dry layer of wood is a sign of a long stay of a seedling outside the soil (the seedling has dried up, lost internal moisture and may not be viable).

It is not recommended to buy seedlings with leaves, especially those that have lost turgor, drooping. Such seedlings were dug too early, the wood did not ripen, and the trees would easily die from frost.

A fruit tree seedling with an open root system.

5. Vaccination status

If the seedling is vaccinated, carefully inspect the vaccination site. Sometimes there is a vaccination, but it is accompanied by thorns or prickly outgrowths on the scion (especially for plums, apricots, peaches, pears). So, they planted a game for a game based on an inexperienced buyer. A real vaccine has a graft without thorns.

6. Seedlings of columnar varieties

One-year-old seedling of colon-shaped fruit crops externally differs from ordinary annuals by a thicker central conductor (future trunk), from 1.5 or more cm. In 2-3-year-old seedlings of colon-shaped crops, the central shoot / trunk has practically no lateral branches. In ordinary seedlings, lateral shoots (2-3-5 pieces) are already formed by this age.

How to save a seedling before planting?

The purchased seedling must be immediately packed so that during transportation it does not break off the vaccine and does not dry the roots. You should have a damp rag, burlap and a tall bag with you. Wrap the roots of the seedling with a damp rag, gently pull the twine into a moist burlap and only then - in a plastic bag. Such a seedling will not lose moisture during transportation and will not be damaged.