Vineland has been identifying methods and creating new technologies to help tree propagators grow seedlings with better root quality.
The center's research found the design of propagation trays critical to the development of healthy, laterally orientated structural roots at this early stage of a tree’s life. Trays designed to expose growing root tips to air have also produced the best quality root systems with the fewest amount of misdirected roots.
Tree seedlings were grown at Vineland in different trays and then planted into the field to monitor their establishment for five seasons. Findings indicated seedlings transplanted from air-pruning propagation trays had fewer total and critical root deflections and more vigorous vegetative growth after transplanting.
Successful tree planting means a tree will not just survive but thrive in the landscape for decades. Healthy roots mean healthy trees and resilient landscapes.