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close this bookSpecial Public Works Programmes - SPWP - Planting Trees - An Illustrated Technical Guide and Training Manual (ILO - UNDP, 1993, 190 p.)
close this folder3. Handling seedlings
View the document(introduction...)
View the document3.1 Packing and transport of seedlings
View the document3.2 Storing seedlings
View the document3.3 Quality of seedlings and grading
View the document3.4 Stripping and trimming
View the document3.5 Transporting seedlings from the road to the planting site

3.2 Storing seedlings

If the seedlings have to be stored a few days before planting, keep them in a dark and cool place, a cool cellar or elsewhere in the shade. If bare-rooted seedlings are packed in bags, the bags should not be opened.

Bare-rooted seedlings which cannot be planted in a few days must be healed-in close to the planting site to minimize later transport. "Healing-in" means temporarily putting bare-rooted seedlings in moist soil, under shade, until they can be used for planting. Healing-in should be avoided but it may sometimes be necessary.

Bare-rooted seedlings

Gunny sacking

Banana leaves

Polyethylene bag with ventilation holes


Stored seedlings


Healing in

Dig a trench under a shade tree in loose, well drained, but moist soil.

Separate the seedlings from the bundles. On one side of the trench, which should be slightly sloping, arrange the seedlings individually in upright position. Cover the roots with soil taken from the opposite side of the trench, thus making room for the next row of seedlings. The roots should be covered up to, or a little above, the root collar. Firm the soil with the hands. Then place the next row of seedlings. During dry weather the seedlings have to be watered. If the location is not very shady, the seedlings should be covered by brush to discourage the emergence of shoots.


1. Dig a trench in the shade

2. Arrange the seedlings

3. Cover the roots with soil

4. Firm the soil

5. Place the next row of seedlings

6. Several rows of seedlings placed and covered with soil