Japanese Black Pine Seedlings

Paul F.

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Florida Keys
I planted a batch of JBP (My first time growing JBP ever) a month ago or so and a lot of them looked like this (see pic below). Is that damp off or over watering? I was misting them daily because its been so hot. Its so deceiving - the top looks so dry so I give them with water but the underneath layers are still plenty wet. I've been using the chopstick method now to check for soil moisture. I barely water the second batch and give them a lot more sun but I've still lost a few in the same manor. I was afraid of scorching them but they seem to do fine with 6-8 hours of tropical sun...

The first batch was planted in a mix of potting soil and bonsai soil and the second batch was potting soil on the bottom and a thick layer of bonsai soil..

A few questions... Is this a normal root system for a seedling this age? I've seen some pictures of some others that seem way more extensive.
Secondly, how can I ensure that I get a better root system early on? It seems some of the pictures of seedlings I've seen in the JBP contest thread (Ive read almost every post in there I think) look like they have fatter stems even when they first break ground. Maybe its my imagination, Im not sure. I am root pruning some of them but keeping some they way they are so i want good roots.

PS: Daconil question: Do you actually spray that stuff on to the actual seedling or in the hole the seedling came out of?? That stuff is really, REALLY think.. Its like goo...

Thanks in advance for any help or insight!



Here is my second batch- they look a little better...



THis is the best seedling so far. It's in a mix of sifted potting mix and sand topped with a big layer of bonsai soil.



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