Our spring lucerne tree seedlings in their bags are growing beautifully as the spring temperatures warm.
We currently have stocks of lucerne trees in bags that are between 15cm – 30 cm tall and they will be ready to plant out once they reach about 40cm tall in a month or so’s time. We also have stocks of trees in tube-packs for lighter courier costs.
You can see how tender and spindly these little saplings are. If you plant your trees when they are too small and young, they will be eaten as a quick little snack by any passing browser. Shelter your trees to grow to size and only plant them when they are taller and stronger. Protect your young trees from any animals for at least their first 18-months with good fencing and/or shade cloth. Please read all about how to plant your trees and what to put into the holes here – Planting Trees.
Also, you can nip the growth tips off these saplings to stimulate side-branching and prolific leaf development. Wait about 2 weeks after planting them out to “take” and settle, and then snip off the tips of each sapling. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they will flourish with new leaves and branches.
Order your trees now while stocks last. Unfortunately we may not export trees across international borders, but you can order seeds instead.
Pruningstimulates lucerne trees to push out more branches and leaves. Once your young lucerne tree saplings reach about 30- 40cm tall in their bags, they are ready to plant out. Please remember that it is vital to wait until your saplings are on size before planting them out. If you plant them when they are too small and soft and delicious, they will disappear overnight as critters nibble on them.
First, give your newly planted trees about 2 weeks to settle and “take” and then cut off the growth tip of each tree. Simply snip off the top cluster of 3-5 leaves. Within a week you will notice the buds all along the stem at the leaf nodes emerge with new leaf clusters which will explode into multiple side branches.
This quick and easy pruning early in the saplings’ growth will help develop bushy trees which will provide much more feed. Left unpruned, the saplings often remain single-stemmed, spindly trees. Usually these spindly trees will only form more branches after their first grazing and/ or pruning. But if you get in early and nip off the growth tips after planting them, your trees will develop a lovely bushy shape.
Also, wait for the first 18-months to 2 years before allowing your livestock to graze directly off your trees! Your trees will only develop woody stems and branches in their second year of growth, helping them withstand the pulling and tearing that direct grazing causes. Grazing them too soon will result in significant tearing and damage to the trees’ branches and stem. Management in these early years is vital, but thereafter, your trees will serve you and your livestock for many years!
Orderyour seeds and seedlings today and follow our tried-and-tested germination and planting instructions for best success.
Winter is a perfect time to start your lucerne tree germination process and we have received a lot of interest and new orders. Recently a new client asked,
“Should I first plant my lucerne tree seeds into tube-packs (after seeing images on our blog and as an option in our ordering form) before then potting my seedlings into potting bags?”
Here’s my response ~
We only use tube-packs to courier clients our little lucerne trees so as to provide light-weight packaging, to reduce volumetric weight and therefore lower courier costs. A tube-pack has very little space for root growth.
We recommend clients germinate their own seeds in a seed bed or seed tray (in a warm or sheltered spot) and then transplant these little seedlings straight into 1-litre potting bags. It is not recommended to plant your seedlings into small tube-packs first because you want them to grow to 30-40cm tall in their potting bags, so that they are strong enough to go out into your lands, and their roots need space to grow in the bag. You can view our step-by-step germination and potting out seedling instructions here.
Just look at the length of the roots on this seedling — as much root growth as stem growth! Remember that a lucerne tree grows a deep tap root that can go up to 10m deep, so its natural desire is to go down deep!
Potting bags can be ordered online or purchased at your local nursery or agricultural supplier. When selecting your potting bag, choose tall bags rather than short wide bags so that those roots have space to grow in. Potting bags are cheap – only about R1 per bag.
When a client receives his little seedlings in tube-packs, he must then immediately transplant these seedlings into 1-litre potting bags. Remember that lucerne trees generally do not like to have their roots disturbed and so follow our step-by-step transplant instructions exactly and keep the soil around the roots intact when transplanting them. You can view these instructions here.
Although it is winter here in South Africa, and plant growth is slow, it is good to start now. Order your seeds and seedlings by filling in the contact form on our Orders page. Your seeds will have a head-start while kept sheltered, and by spring, when soil temperatures begin to warm, they will begin their real growth and should be tall enough and ready to plant out by summer. We do not have any trees in bags in stock at the moment. All our trees and seedlings are R15 per tree regardless of size or packaging.
We have just uploaded our latest YouTube video showing you exactly how to plant out bare-rooted lucerne trees. Please pop over to YouTube to watch.
We courier young bare-rooted lucerne trees with overnight express service to main centres. Bare-rooted trees can survive so long as the roots are not dried out. These bare-rooted trees’ roots are covered with some moist soil and then wrapped in wet paper towels, paper and plastic to keep the exposed roots covered and moist. It is vital that you immediately plant out your newly collected trees so clients will need to have their holes prepared before the delivery is sent.
Recently a reader wrote and asked us for very specific planting instructions. She said she needed “a “planting guide for ‘Dummies‘”!
Well, our website is a Dummies guide to all things related to Lucerne trees! We cover every aspect of lucerne tree information, their seeds, germination, transplanting, potting out, protecting, pruning, irrigation, chipping and feeding methods. We generously share all our tried and tested methods and expertise! Browse our website using the tabs under the header to find all this information.
Hope that our video will help you in your lucerne tree farming!
Please note ~ Due to importation restrictions; strict import & bio-security regulations, we do not ship trees internationally.
Please note ~ Due to importation restrictions; strict import & bio-security regulations, we do not ship trees internationally. We can only courier trees to clients living in South Africa.
To keep transport costs low we courier young bare-rooted lucerne trees with Overnight/ Express service to main centres to arrive within 1 day. Clients living outside main cities can expect to wait another working day for collection or door-to-door delivery, so within 2-3 days you will have your trees.
Place your order for bare-rooted trees on our Prices & Orders page and we will send you trees to plant straight away!
Bare-rooted trees can survive so long as the roots are not dried out. These bare-rooted trees’ roots are covered with some moist soil and then wrapped in wet paper towels, paper and plastic to keep the exposed roots covered and moist.
Clients will need to have their holes preparedbefore the delivery is sent = Dig each hole +40cm deep + 1 cup of compost + half a cup of phosphates (optional). Refill the hole and mix with the soil removed from the hole.
It is vital that you immediately plant out your newly collected trees.
Once you receive your parcel, carefully unwrap the trees, lay them flat with their roots in a tray or bowl of water. (Don’t leave the roots soaking in the water for too long – just until you have separated them and are ready to plant them.) If you are working without soaking the roots, keep the roots covered with the wet soil and paper and re-wrap the rest of the bundle as you plant each tree. DO NOT LET THE ROOTS DRY OUT!
Gently loosen and lift each one and do not simply pull them apart. It is imperative that you work carefully not to break the roots when you separate each tree.
Fill the prepared holes in your land with water.
Then plant each tree into the prepared holes, making sure theroots are able to fit into the hole without damaging them.
Refill the hole, firming the soil gently around the roots and then water again well.
Transplanted trees may look wilted and may need a few days to recover. Should the tree tips remain wilted after two weeks after planting, trim off the damaged tips.
Water lightly regularly, but don’t over-water as these trees don’t like sitting in wet soil.
Your young saplings should be managed as if you are planting out a fruit orchard. Check them regularly for signs that critters are eating them such as snails and take appropriate action. Protect each tree for 18-months to 2 years. Don’t forget to prune your young trees to promote side-branches and to keep your trees to 1-meter tall.
You can view all our step-by-step instructions and photos covering our tried and tested methods of how we prepare the lands, how to calculate the spacing, plant in ploughed rows and the different irrigation methods under Planting Trees.
We are very busy right now, delivering trees to our clients that ordered earlier this year and we have stacks more trees in stock ready for you!
This winter we planted thousands of our tiny trees in a wonderful raised bed and have watched them develop into flourishing, healthy saplings that are tall and strong enough to go straight into your lands. And because these trees came from established lucerne trees on our farm, they already have the rhizobia nodules on their roots and will not require any inoculation.
For most clients, we pot them into individual 1-litre potting bags which provide them with a window of time to plant them out.
But for clients living outside George, Western Cape region, where transport is too expensive to deliver trees in bags, we are couriering bare-rooted trees.
Most courier services deliver to main their depots overnight and clients living outside main cities can expect to wait another working day for collection or door-to-door delivery, so within 2 days you will have your trees. Bare-rooted trees can survive so long as the roots are not dried out
The bare-rooted trees’ roots are wrapped in wet newspaper and plastic to keep the exposed roots covered and moist. Clients will need to plant out these trees immediately and will need their holes prepared with half a cup of phosphates mixed with the soil removed from the hole and gently filled back in before the delivery is ordered.
To make a more informed choice about ordering bare-rooted trees, we want to explain what the process involves for you. (We hope to upload photos and videos of the bare-rooted process for you soon!)
It is vital that you work quickly with your newly couriered trees.
Once you receive and carefully unwrap the trees, lay their roots into a tray or bowl of water.
It is imperative that you do not break the roots when you separate the trees. Gently loosen them and do not simply pull them apart.
They will do fine so long as the roots are kept wet, but don’t leave them in the water for too long – just until you have separated them and are ready to plant them.
Fill the holes in your land with water.
Then plant each tree into the prepared holes, making sure the roots are able to fit into the hole without damaging them.
Refill the hole, firming the soil around the roots and then water well.
Trees may look wilted and need a few days to recover, but should the tips remain wilted after two weeks after planting, trim off the damaged tips.
Water lightly regularly, but don’t over-water as these trees don’t like sitting in wet soil.
Your young saplings should be managed as if you are planting out a fruit orchard. Check them regularly for signs that critters are eating them such as snails and take appropriate action. Water regularly during their first year.
Please note that we cannot courier trees internationally due to strict bio-security laws.
We are confident of your success should you follow our detailed instructions and tested advice and are willing to assist you should you have any other questions or concerns. Please read all our detailed step-by-step planting instructions on our Planting Trees page and place your orders on our Prices & Orders page.
Spring has sprung and new life is budding and shooting out everywhere on our farm.
Our new lucerne tree seedlings, slowly hanging on through winter, have woken to the warmer weather and are shooting up at a remarkable rate!
For clients who have placed orders and paid their 50% deposit, we will soon carefully pot your trees into their individual potting bags and they should be ready to be delivered or collected at the end of October.
We have several clients requesting trees be sent across borders to international countries, but due to strict bio-security import laws, this is not permitted. Clients should purchase seeds instead.
We have excellent lucerne tree seeds in stock. Our seeds are packed in packs of 100‘s and 1000‘s. Included in the seed pack are detailed germination instructions that we successfully use ourselves and more than 10% extra seeds. We post the seeds all over the world, undeclared, with registered mail and then email the client the tracking number.
How to order seeds ~
Click over to the contact form on our Prices & Orders page and tell us how many seeds you wish to order and include your full names, full postal address and your contact number details. We will email you an invoice with our banking and/or PayPal details. Please check that your contact information is correct on this invoice as we will not refund seeds uncollected or returned from the post office. Once we receive your emailed payment confirmation with your invoice number as your payment reference, we will post your seeds and email you the tracking number.
To South Africans, please order your trees before stocks are sold out.
Some good reminders ~
Remember that you should hold your seedlings in a nursery until they are 40cm tall and have a woody, pencil-thick stem before planting them out.
Carefully manage your young trees as if you were farming a new fruit orchard, checking regularly for pests or critters that may snack on your trees while you are sleeping!
Provide regular water. Drippers work very well and are a very economic water user. See irrigation methods here.
Once established, remember to nip the growth tips of your saplings to promote better side-branching. You can simply use your finger nails and pinch off the top 3 leaves or, as in our closely packed nursery, use hedge-clippers and snip off their tops. See photos of pruned trees here.
Spring has sprung! We have germinated our seeds and transplanted volunteer seedlings during this winter and currently have thousands of tiny trees growing in our seedling beds. These trees are very small, about 3cm-5cm tall, and they are too vulnerable to sell at this time. Trees should grow to at least 10cm before we can sell them and then they should grow to be 40cm tall before planting them out into your lands.
We will no longer sell 1m-tall trees. This is because lucerne trees have very vigorous root growth and quickly become pot-bound when left in their potting bags too long.
As you can see in the photo, the root growth is stronger than stem and leaf growth. This continues well into the trees’ first year in the land.
A tree takes about 4 months to grow to 40cm-tall when they are ready to plant out. It can take up to 6 months until they grow to 1m-tall. When we leave them in potting bags this long, their roots fill up the bag completely, becoming pot-bound. This affects the success of their establishment when planted out into the lands.
In order to keep costs affordable when we courier trees, we will pack them bare-rooted. This entails wrapping the trees’ roots in wet newspaper and plastic to keep the exposed roots covered and moist. They can survive so long as the roots are not dried out. Clients will need to plant out these trees immediately and will need their lands and holes prepared before the delivery is ordered.
Tree Order Options ~ Trees will be between 20 to 40cm tall only when stocks are available. NO 1m-tall trees will be sold.
Trees can be couriered and quotes will depend on distance, weight and size of the loads. We courier trees bare-rooted and clients should have their holes prepared in order to not to break the wet-cycle and plant out their trees immediately.
We can meet clients to deliver trees in their individual 1-litre bags in George, Western Cape. Note that each tree is in a 1-litre potting bag and weighs about 1.5kg.
Clients can collect trees at our farm. Please email or call us to make an appointment. Directions are available once the appointment is made.
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.
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.
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 to 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.