So I bought 225 native tree seedlings…

parhamr

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…what a time to be alive!

This Weyerhaeuser nursery in Oregon produces 11 million seedlings each year. They’re sold in bags of 80–200; here’s what you see when opening a bag of 125 Western Hemlock:
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Our friend @Vance Wood has bemoaned that the nursery trades do not make these species readily available across the US. I might very well change that through this experiment (read: fools’ errand).
The seedlings net out to about $0.60 each and come in a “plug” form:
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After labor and materials, costs quickly grow to at least $2.75 each. Here I am in the middle of transplanting them to 4" square by 5" deep banded pots in propagation trays. In 2018 they will be transplanted into 1–3 gallon pots and receive some initial root work: (otherwise the nebari will be grossly twisted and crossed)
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I also bought a 100-seedling bag of Douglas-fir. I separated the larger individuals into 10" pond baskets. Here, the soil mix is readily visible—perlite, composted bark, diatomite gravel, and pumice. The airy mix drains well, which is critical in this Pacific Northwest marine climate! (Also: perlite is damned cheap; I am crying inside about the 15 gallons of sifted bonsai soil consumed by this endeavor.)
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Mid-sized Douglas-fir went into my surplus 1-gallon pots:
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The seedlings will sit and recover in a shady spot of my yard for the next 6 weeks or so. After they show vigor I will perform preliminary pruning and wiring to set initial styles. At left is a Sango-kaku Japanese maple in training; it has many years to go before it is show-ready.
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I intend to make some of these available for sale as soon as fall 2017 :)

The nursery also has bags of Sitka spruce and Coastal redwood available. Is anybody interested in those?
 
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wireme

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I'd be tempted to do some root work now on some. Looks like lots there to experemt with anyways? Going into bigger pots strong roots will just get stronger, why not just get in there and snip off the main taproot before allowing roots to run in bigger pots?
I used to plant on average a couple thousand of these plugs per day in the mountains here. One or two may have made their way into pots in my yard, I put them on a chopping block and whacked off two thirds of the length of the plug with an axe before planting. Probably it slowed growth for a year or two but I think it payed of for a better nebari start in the end.
It's great though that you're doing it, I'd love to see a bunch of Doug fir grown out from scratch like jbp I think we could develop really good trunks with them.
 
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parhamr

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@0soyoung science will come… later. I want these to have a steady first year. (Also, I was a bit constrained for time and energy)

@wireme on most of them I ripped apart the bottom third of the root plug. They seemed to have pretty good root development without a giant taproot. I’ll be gutsy in the next repotting.

I’m thinking about some wicked exposed root and cascade forms.
 
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wireme

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Actually on further thought I think you should pull a few of those dougies and thoroughly abuse them right from the beginning, work the roots and do the full yamadori style wire and twist job on day 1! Just a few, see what happens.
 
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Maybe throw a dense net or something over some of those? Mr Kawada, the mame pot genius is doing that too. He posted some real nice pics of wiggly mames on facebook the other day. If you got so many doing a couple of experiments might be well worth it.
 

parhamr

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Ohhhhkay. Now I'm really tired. I've transplanted 205 seedlings in about 5 hours. When I'm pruning and wiring it takes me at least twice as long compared to simply transplanting.

This required mixing up about 80 gallons of soil!

I've discovered Weyerhaeuser uses rooted cuttings for at least their Douglas-fir production. Here you can see a fully combed out root ball:
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The Douglas-fir have absolutely no taproot. The trunk simply ends in a bundle of roots
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For about 60 of the Douglas-fir I chopped them down from about 24" to 6" in height above the soil line:
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All y'all science nerds will be pleased to know I have a fairly simple experiment: 32 each of the Western Hemlock and Douglas-fir were not inoculated with mycorrhizal granules. All of the remaining 161 trees received a dusting according to the manufacturer's instructions.

I also set up 8 Douglas-fir inside cylinders for purposes of neagari styling. Half of them received wiring and bending to set up semi-cascade styles. Photos to come when there are interesting developments to show.
 

sorce

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@parharm1014

Why isn't that working?

Lol!

Nice!

Sorce
 

bleumeon

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Holy moly that's a lot of trees. Want to do more starters and propagate but I'm lacking time and space.
 

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