Handling, short-term storage, transport

Planting Material Handling

Handling of planting material which includes picking up in a nursery and planting on a afforestation area represents a critical stage for physiological quality and consequently growth and survival rate.

To achieve maximum growth and survival rate after planting are crucial two basic assumptions:

  • high morphological and physiological quality of planting material in beds (including high resistance to adverse factors);
  • minimizing adverse effects during the whole handling.

The cumulative and mutually reinforcing effects of stress which appears during handling of planting material.

Dormant seedlings and saplings are more resistant to stress effects than physiologically active individual plants.

During handling the plants must be protected against drying, mechanical damage and high or low temperatures.

Minimize the exposure of roots to severe weather conditions.

Handling of planting material in the shade.

Storage at optimal temperatures, protected against drying (covers, high air humidity). The higher the storage temperature requires the higher consumption of nutrients and creates risky condition for mold infection.

Roots of covered-root seedling and saplings are protected by soil against drying and other adverse effects during handling.

Short-term storage of planting material

1.    Planting to soil

We plant the seedlings in pre-carved furrows in the nursery or at the afforestation site, in bundles or individually (according to the set-up time of planting), covering with soil up to 5 cm above the root necks, abiding good shading conditions

The following methods are used:

  • planting in the nursery for a short time on beds (in bundles) - up to 2 days
  • in the nursery individually covered with soil (usually deciduous tree species) - exceptionally over the winter
  • at the prepared grounds at the planting site (wet place in deep shade, covered with brushwood or garden shed) - for necessary time before planting, not longer than 5 days.

2.    Storage in closed containers

To store seedlings in closed containers at the planting site, the following conditions must be respected:

  • planting material must be dormant with overground parts avoid contact with soil,
  • full shade is ensured, outdoor temperature does not exceed +10 °C - possibility of storage for 2 to 3 weeks, in warmer weather conditions maximum 1 week,
  • regular checks are necessary (at two-day intervals) - in the case of molds or sprouting of seedlings immediately planting is obliged!!!

3.    Non-conditioned spaces

Non-conditioned spaces include, for example, cellars or caves with a temperature which may not exceed + 6 °C. The basic principles for storage in these areas are:

  • placing seedlings with covered-root systems (in the wet substrate, wrapped in foil, in closed boxes or sacks),
  • checks of molds or sprouting of seedlings,
  • Storage time of up to 3 weeks.

 4.    Snow pits

Snow pits are specially built areas with side or bottom cooling under the snow. The temperature does not exceed +4 °C. Principles of storage:

  • maximum storage time 4 weeks
  • seedlings in containers (crates, bags, root system wraps) can be stored directly on the snow, better on grates or shelves
  • seedlings without covered roots are planted in the substrate layer (sawdust, peat)
  •  for longer storage time it is appropriate to untie the bundles

If mold or sprouting of seedlings appear in the pit, it is necessary to plant the seedlings immediately !!!

If the seedlings are planted in warm, sunny weather (above 20 °C), it is suitable to acclimatise them for a few hours in the shady and wet area.


For transport of planting material of forest tree species the following principles must apply:

  • Use closed vehicles (or equipped with a tarpaulin - there must be an air gap between the seedlings and the tarpaulin),
  • For longer distances the planting material is transported in closed packages (or covers protecting roots),
  • Planting material must not be stored in a high layer (maximum 60 cm) - containers or shelves are recommended,
  • Transportation is optimal in cold weather or during the night,
  • Eliminating stops during transportation, avoid parking vehicles in the sun,
  • Seedlings must be unloaded from vehicle with care without throwing them onto the ground (risk of mechanical damage),
  • After unloading the seedlings must be placed in the store area,
  • Transportation is also possible in refrigerated semitrailers where seedlings can be stored near afforested sites.