Dawn Redwood seedling advice


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Middle East
Hi there!
So I'm an amateur who's currently in the Middle East. I've been trying to grow several specimens indoors over the past couple of months, with less than stellar success to date, and need some (oh who am I kidding, a lot of) advice.
Having lost a few early seedlings (elms, juniper & a couple of maples), I've managed to get at least one Dawn Redwood seedling to germinate and grow in the past month. Cautious amount of water, small amount of liquid humus fertilizer recommended locally, grown in a Root Riot block housed in a small propagator, with indirect sunlight and average temps of 70f.
It was growing quite nicely, and based on advice I'd been given and had read, it seemed ready for removal from the propagator, so I took it out and placed it in a separate small pot.
Within a couple of hours, I noticed that some of the leaves appeared as if they were shriveling. This immediately brought to mind a seedling I definitely took out too early and found shriveled up the day later (it didn't last much longer), so I promptly return the Redwood to the propagator. But now, several days later, most of the leaves look worse nonetheless.

Is it essentially game over for this little guy, or am I worrying for nothing and it's fine but for those few leaves? Also, when is it a good time to remove seedlings from such propagators?

Any advice and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.


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I find removing from a propagator...or even a tented pot...it's not about "too early" or "too late". It's about "correctly" or "not correctly".

Any big transition is going to stress a plant. The smaller the plant, typically the less stress it can handle. I have a 4' saguaro cactus that started from seed back in 2000. You can almost tell how old it is by counting the burn scars! It's as "full sun" a plant as one can imagine and yet it sunburns just about every year because I'm not careful enough moving it outside in the spring :(

Same happens with large changes in humidity. Your seedling is used to living out its days stoma wide open because it's 80% humidity...then BAM...it's 40% humidity and the poor thing isn't hardened up enough to deal with that :(

When growing seedlings indoors, I try to get them out from under a humidity doom as quickly as I can just to avoid damping off. But I try to do it in stages. I try and do it by opening the air exchange little by little rather than removing the seedlings entirely. I usually prop a plastic dome over the seedlings for humidity and I'll raise the dome slightly so that some air can exchange. After a day or three...raise it a little more.

I try and go through the same staged approach to moving my seedlings outside. I recently moved a planting of mixed redwoods (dawn, coastal and sequoia) from their inside spot to outside. They had already gone through the humidity adjustment phase. When they first went outdoors I did it on a rainy day and put them under a heavily shaded spot. I still lost 2-3 out of about 2 dozen.
I killed mine by moving it outside too fast. I would follow the advice of @LittleDingus and make the transition nice and easy.
Transitions are the worst! I find I can manage most things...until something changes!

That's why people fail at watering...things change! Today the soil is nice and fresh and the temps are cool and constant and you can fall into an every 3rd day watering routine and think: "That's it...this is working! And it will continue to work forever!" But it doesn't. Summer comes and temps climb and every 3rd day is not enough anymore. Then you increase to every day and everything is fine. Until the soil breaks down and now it holds too much water to be watered every day even in the height of summer!

Learn how to manage the transitions and you can get pretty good at this game ;)
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