Container Seedling Handling and Storage in the Southeastern States
Most container seedlings grown in the southeastern US are outplanted during winter, although 10 to 20% are outplanted during summer. Longleaf pine accounts for more than 80% of all container seedlings produced. Very little information is published on cold hardiness and storage effects on container-grown southern pines and hardwoods. In general, growers attempt to minimize storage time by coordinating extraction with outplanting, particularly during summer outplanting. Seedlings are hand extracted and placed into wax-coated boxes with slits or holes in the sides, either with or without a plastic liner, and placed into cooler storage. Seedlings for summer outplanting are generally stored at 40 to 70 oF (4 to 21 oC) but usually for a week or less. Seedlings extracted in winter (November through January) are kept at cooler temperatures (35 to 50 oF [2 to 10 oC]), sometimes for as long as 3 months. Research on cold hardiness development would be helpful in understanding proper storage conditions and lengths for southern pines.