Transplant little lucerne trees into potting bags

Transplant little trees into potting bags

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you transplant your little lucerne trees that we have couriered with several little trees in a potting bag filled with soil. Clients need to transplant each little tree into individual potting bags to grow out to 40cm tall before they will be ready to plant out in the land. You can view our YouTube video ~

  • Have your new potting bags filled with a sandy soil mix.  Do NOT use potting soil, compost, peat or any other medium that will remain wet and soggy.  Lucerne trees hate sitting with wet roots for prolonged periods of time.
  • Water your new bags of soil so that when you transplant your trees, their roots will go into wet soil.
  • Make holes in the soil of each newly filled potting bag with a dibber or stick – nice and deep and fairly wide.
  • Fill a small bucket or bowl with water which you will use when you take out the trees from our potting bag.  You do NOT want the roots to dry out.
  • Take our bag with trees and gently press around the base to loosen the soil from the bag. 
  • Take hold of the bottom of the potting bag and tilt the trees over on the other hand.
  • Gently slide the potting bag off the soil or take a Stanley knife and slice the bag open down the side.
  • Gently loosen the soil off the tree’s roots.
  • Place the trees’ roots into the bucket of water.
  • Now separate each little tree carefully, not pulling or damaging the roots.
  • Take each tree and ease its roots into the hole in the new potting bag soil and then press the soil around the roots so that there is no air space around the roots.
  • Give your newly transplanted trees a light watering.  
  • Your newly transplanted trees may go into “transplant shock” and may look sad and wilted for a day or two, but should recover within a week.
  • Keep them protected and lightly watered when needed.
  • Once they reach 40cm tall, they are ready to be planted out into the land. 
  • You can test if they need watering by checking the soil at the bottom of the potting bags or sticking your finger into the soil to see if it is dry.  Remember not to over-water your trees.

NB: Do not throw away the soil in which your seedlings have been growing!  There are many seeds in each bag that may still germinate.  Place this soil in an old ice cream box with a few drainage holes poked into the bottom and water this along with your trees. Transplant any new seedlings that may emerge into their own potting bags as soon as they develop their true leaves.

We have supplied you with at least 10% extra trees with each consignment. Order your trees and seeds today!

Tube-packed trees OUT OF STOCK

In Spring, we packed thousands of tube-pack trees ready to courier to clients within the next few months, but summer has come and our remaining tube-packed trees have outgrown their small tube-packs. We, therefore, are out of stock of tube-packed trees. We do have large supplies of thriving young lucerne trees in individual 1-litre potting bags in stock.

Remember that lucerne trees have a very vigorous root system and want to grow deep down into the soil. This fast root growth means that lucerne trees should not remain in potting bags for more than a few months. We recommend that you shelter your young sapling until it reaches 40cm and then plant them in your lands. This growth takes about 4 months.

Please fill in the contact form on our Orders page to order your your trees.

Spring saplings growing strong

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.

Happy Farming!


Do you want to order lucerne tree seeds or trees? Please take a few moments to browse through our website as we have very comprehensive information, detailed step-by-step instructions and photos to help inform you in your lucerne tree farming.

Please note ~

  • We post international seeds orders to those countries that are open to international shipping. International mail services and deliveries may take longer than normal due to Covid restrictions and regulations.
  • We only courier trees to clients living in South Africa due to international import and biosecurity regulations.

To order lucerne tree seeds or trees, please fill in the contact form on our Orders page and we will email you all the details.

Prune your newly planted trees’ growth tips

Pruning stimulates 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.

Sheep grazing on 2-year-old trees

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!

Order your seeds and seedlings today and follow our tried-and-tested germination and planting instructions for best success.

Nip your seeds before soaking

Lucerne trees seeds have extremely hard seed coats and require a process called scarification to help them prepare for germination. What is scarification?

Scarification in botany involves weakening, opening, or otherwise altering the coat of a seed to encourage germination. Scarification is often done mechanically, thermally, and chemically. The seeds of many plant species are often impervious to water and gases, thus preventing or delaying germination. 


We have proven success with a 2-fold process = NIP and then SOAK.

We use nail-clippers to nip a tiny piece off the top of each seed. Just snip off a tiny sliver of the seed coat and try not to cut too deep into the seed. Especially do NOT cut the creamy, light brown bit at the bottom of the seed. This is where the seed germ will emerge with the roots and first 2 little leaves. If this part is damaged, usually the seed will not germinate.

Yes, this is a time-consuming process, but we recommend that you germinate your seeds in batches and not try to do them all at once. Alternatively, you can nip them in small batches over a few days, storing them sealed and kept in a dry, cool, dark place and then soak them all together to begin the actual germination process. Once the seed coat has been nipped, it is vulnerable, whereas untreated seeds can be safely stored as described for several years.

Next comes the soaking process. We have done trials regularly and can see the huge difference between seeds that were nipped and then soaked and those that are only soaked. Please do not cook your seeds by using boiling water! Hot tap water is good, but boiling water may kill the seed germ.

Wait for the soil temperatures to rise before starting your germination process. When the soil is too cold, your seeds will remain dormant in the ground. You could start germination earlier if you germinate your seeds indoors in trays under grow lights for warmth.

We want you to have real success in your germination process. You can read and download our germination process and step-by-step instructions on our Seeds page. We provide these instructions with your seeds when you order. Place your order today by filling out the contact form on our Orders page.

Happy Farming!

Watch out for critters!

Spring time — and it’s time to germinate your lucerne tree seeds!

Over the many years that we have germinated our lucerne tree seeds, we have come across evidence that birds, snails, slugs, hares and crickets have nibbled the delicious sprouting seeds’ leaves, leaving only a little stem sticking up out of the ground. Often this spells disaster for that little plant! Even pets can cause damage to vulnerable seed beds by having access.

Management is key!

Planting trees

Some practical advice if you are germinating seeds in a seed bed:

  • Germinate your seeds in a protected area, fenced off.
  • Cover the seed bed with shade cloth to keep out birds and hares.
  • Sprinkle snail bait around the seed bed every week. Remember to refresh your snail bait after rains and weekly irrigation.

If you germinate in seed trays, try the following:

  • Place your seed trays off the ground, such as on a plank resting on a few bricks or on a table, so that snails can’t get to them.
  • Drape shade cloth over the seed trays so that birds don’t nibble the sprouting leaves.
  • Create a shade cloth nursery.

Please follow our germination instructions as exactly as described. It is our tried and tested and re-tested method that provides the best germination results. You can download our instructions here – Germination Instructions. Place your order for a fresh batch of lucerne tree seeds in packs of 100s or 1000s here – Orders.

Happy farming!

Tube-packs are for courier purposes only

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.

Happy Farming!

End of season lucerne tree stocks

All our trees in tube-packs are either sold out or potted out into our 1-litre potting bags. Because lucerne trees’ roots grow so fast, we cannot keep them in either the tube-packs or potting bags indefinitely.

Our trees in 1-litre potting bags are about 20-30cm tall, almost ready to be planted out into the land. Stocks are limited, so please order as soon as possible so that you can plant your trees in this late summer season.

Happy farming!

Seedlings available!

Spring has sprung and our lucerne tree nursery is bursting with freshly potted new lucerne tree seedlings and trees!

We have potted out small lucerne trees in individual 1-litre potting bags to grow to 30-40cm in their bags before being planted out, and we have seedlings in their nifty tube-packs ready to be couriered to clients all across South Africa at very economical rates due to their low volumetric weight.

These tube-packed trees need to be transplanted into 1-litre potting bags once they arrive, and so we recommend clients have their potting bags and well-drained soil mix in place before they order their little trees. They will need about 3-4 months to grow up to 30-40cm tall and then they can be planted in summer this year.

Because lucerne trees’ roots grow so fast, these trees in tube-packs have a very limited time before they need to be transplanted into bigger potting bags. We therefore have limited stocks in season and will place any unclaimed or unsold tube-pack trees into potting bags after about 1 month.

Now is the perfect time to order your trees. Fill in the contact form on our Orders page, and we will send you all the information and details you need to start your lucerne tree farming.