Your pre-planting seedling care starts the moment you get your delivery confirmation. The most important thing to remember when your seedlings arrive is to always handle them with care. Your seedlings are alive and you can harm them if dropped, bent or broken. But it takes more than handling care.

Steps for seedling care

best method to ship seedlings frozen seedlings
Frozen Douglas Fir Seedlings in Shipping Boxes at Frozen Warehouse.

Caring for your seedlings

We’ve set up an easy to follow list of seedling care tips to help you achieve beautiful trees.

  1. Pick them up from the post office ASAP
    • You have no control over the conditions in the post office or your community mailbox. Bring your seedlings home as soon as you can.
  2. Thaw your seedlings before planting
    • Your seedlings may still be frozen when you receive them. If this is the case, keep them in a cool, dark place until they thaw.
  3. Keep them hydrated
    • Keep your seedlings away from heat and blowing air. If the roots seem dry, submerge them in water for a few minutes. Remember your seedlings need oxygen – do not submerge them in water for over 2 hours.
  4. Regulate temperature
    • Do not allow your seedlings to go through drastic changes in temperature. Keep your seedlings out of direct sunlight and do not allow them to refreeze.
  5. Keep them wrapped in plastic
    • The plastic wrap helps regulate temperature and prevents your seedlings from drying out.
  6. Plant them as soon as possible after they thaw
    • The sooner you plant your seedlings, the better they will do.
  7. Take extra special care of them on the day of planting
    • Dig your holes before you bring out your seedlings. Ensure your seedlings thawed. Plant one box of seedlings at a time and keep the others closed up in the shade. Do not lay your seedlings out beside your holes and let them bake in the sun before you plant them. Follow the instructions in our Seedling Planting Guide blog post.
pre-planting seedling care b
Your seedlings will arrive in a box similar to this.

As you can see, pre-planting seedling care plays an important part in the success of your seedlings. Follow our recommendations, and you will achieve beautiful trees for years to come.

After seedling planting care

We do not recommend the use of chemical fertilizers on seedlings.

Instead, use bonemeal as a soil amendment if you want to promote faster root development. You can purchase bonemeal at your local garden center. Be sure to follow the directions on the label.

Unless you’re experienced with using these fertilizers with seedlings, it can be very easy to misuse them, especially by over-application, which can kill your newly planted seedlings.

Don’t know what seedlings are compatible with your hardiness zone or what a hardiness zone is? Check out our Plant Hardiness Zones blog post.