Life cycle of a seedling
The life cycle of a seedling is a long process if you are used to the big box store model of buying plants. Depending on the stocktype you are looking for, the process could start in August and span 1 ½ to 2 ½ years before you get your seedlings. This is because the seedlings you are buying need to be grown and adapted to the specific area where they will be planted. To put this in perspective, there are thousands of species, seed zone, and elevation combinations just in the western United States. So, the idea of calling around and finding the perfect match for your needs the year you want to plant is problematic at best. Placing an order is the best way to unsure you get the exact trees for your site. The rule of thumb is if you are planning the harvest you should be planning what you are planting.
- September-November – Orders are placed with Saplings.
- November – Seed needs are calculated, then seed is purchased and delivered to the nurseries. Contracts are formalized.
- December – Seed is prepped for the stratification process. Stratification is the process of mimicking a wet cold winter where the seed is primed to start growing when conditions are favorable. Typical stratification is 60 days but can range from 30-120 days depending on the species and genetics.
- January – Seed is in stratification.
- February – May – Seed comes out of stratification and is sown.
- April-December – Seedlings are being cultured and grown to meet size and health standards.
- December-March – One year old seedlings are lifted, graded, packed and shipped to customers. If it is a 2 year old tree, it will be lifted, packed, and frozen until spring for transplanting out into the nursery fields for another year.
- April – The 1 year old seedlings are thawed and transplanted out at lower densities to provide more growing space.
- May-December – Seedlings continue to grow.
- December-March – Seedlings are lifted and shipped to customers.