Propagating in nurseries

By far the commonest method of propagating new plants is by seed in nurseries. The seed is germinated to provide seedlings and young plants which are then planted out in the field. A wealth of information on techniques have been developed for many species.

Examples of factors that will need to be taken into consideration when establishing and operating nurseries are:

  • size and location of nurseries - large centralised or small decentralised;
  • people - the role of local communities and the need for extension;
  • germination of seeds - in seedbeds followed by transplant to pots or direct seeding in containers;
  • container or bare roots - commonly plants are raised in containers, but may be grown in beds and transported with bare roots;
  • container types - bags, tubes or one of the many types of multiple containers used in commercial planting;
  • growing medium - composition and amount;
  • microsymbionts - some species will require association with micro-organisms such as mycorrhiza, rhizobia and/or frankia to facilitate their growth and attention must be paid to ensuring that these are available to the seedling;
  • root pruning - methods and frequency;
  • irrigation - methods and frequency;
  • time in nursery - the optimal size for planting out.

Trees can also be propagated in the nursery by vegetative reproduction (e.g. cuttings), and similar issues will need to be considered for this type of material. To ensure adequate rooting of cuttings, some form of rooting hormone may be required.

SeeFinding out more - Selected references - Propagation. Many of these texts also include information on seed collection and handling.
last updated:  Wednesday, April 18, 2007