Roots – your most important growth factor!

Many new lucerne tree farmers plant their seeds into shallow seed trays, but if you look at the following photos, you will realize that the roots are more aggressive in their growth than the leaves.

12 b

In fact, those green leaves and shoots you see sprouting out of the soil is an indication of the depth of soil needed for the roots.

12 c

This lucerne tree has an incredible tap root and side root structure. These seeds need deep 30cm trays or crates filled with coarse river sand.

Prune the growth tips of your small trees to encourage side branching when your tree reaches about 15cm.  You’ll soon notice new buds develop all along the stem!

Remember that you do not add any fertilizer to your potting soil.

When you plant out your seedlings, never pull the tree up out of the soil. This strips and damages the roots, especially the fine root hairs. Most transplanted trees with this type of damage do not survive. Rather scoop deep under the little trees and lay the seedlings on their sides loosely, and gently separate each seedling. Using a nice deep stick or dibber, make a suitably wide deep hole in the potting bag soil and gently ease the roots straight down into the hole. Gently firm the soil around your seedling and water.

When you plant out your potted trees, try preserve most the soil around the roots and make a suitable deep hole in the ground.  Fill the hole with water before placing your tree into the hole. Fill and gently firm the soil around the base.

Happy farming!

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