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Seedling roots poking out

Posted by asfd 3 (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 20, 10 at 18:05

Hi guys,

I am really into seed starting for the first time this year. I have about 1000 pepper plants and 500 tomatoes in my bedroom right now. They are all seeded in plug tray and will be transplanted in bigger cells in about a week. The thing is most of the plants have a root sticking out of the bottom of the trays. I though roots were supposed to "air prune" in this kind of container but is seems it is not the case. Maybe the tray holding the plug sheets was too moist (it was not totally dry) and roots can grow there. Should I hand prune those roots to promote more developped ones in the cells or just leave them alone?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Seedling roots poking out

First of all, holy cow!! I thought my bedroom was overrun with seedlings. That's a ton!

I'd say if you're transplanting in a week anyway, don't worry about it too much. If they're coming out the bottom, odds are that they are packed up top. Just like the ones you buy from the garden center. I've noticed mine are not coming out the bottom yet, but are starting to wrap around, showing at the top of the soil. Wierd. But I am transplanting soon as well.

And with the tomatoes, incase you didn't know, burying them a little deeper than what they were before will allow new roots to develop farther up the stem, and strengthen the plant.


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RE: Seedling roots poking out

Agree with heirloomjunkie - it just means they are getting root bound in the current container and need to be transplanted - like yesterday. ;)

Do NOT "prune" the roots. Just transplant them and for future reference you shouldn't leave water sitting in the tray. Just fill it, let them soak up what they want and then dump the rest. Left in water the roots will rot.

Dave


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RE: Seedling roots poking out

Be sure you loosen the roots when you plant if they are wraping around. If you don't they will continue to do that in the ground too and it can't take up the nutrients it needs. You end up with a weak plant


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RE: Seedling roots poking out

Good to know! I was wondering if I should break them up or not. Another question... I have two plants to one cell. Can I separate them, or is it better off to just cut one off at the soil base to avoid root damage???

kim


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RE: Seedling roots poking out

It's hard to know without seeing them. If they are that root bound you would have a hard time separating them. I think you'd have to turn out the plant and look at what the roots are doing.

Experts say the best way to separate plants is to cut down between them with a sharp knife or one plant may end up with most of the roots. Cutting them apart ensures both plants get some root. The result is that both plants lose some root too and that may not be good with tomatoes or peppers.

The choice is yours, but I'd be tempted to cut one off if they don't come apart easily.


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RE: Seedling roots poking out

Great advice for a large plant that is being divided. I, personally, would never use this method to separate seedlings (they aren't sharing a single root system). Chances are you'd lose them both. I think you should either pull them apart, tugging gently (holding onto the leaves only, never the stem; this isn't as difficult as one might think) or cut one off.


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RE: Seedling roots poking out

Holy cow is right! How are you growing that many plants without a greenhouse? I only have 80 various seedlings growing inside myself so I just can't imagine ...


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RE: Seedling roots poking out

It's gotta be soooo bright in there. lol.

Oilpainter and jaynine, thanks for the advice. It's probably better off this way, as I will be forced not to save them all and overwhelm myself. It's like Animal Planet, I guess. They can't all be saved. :)


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RE: Seedling roots poking out

Kim you are so right... crazy bright! Too bad the bulbs don't make you tan.. I would move everything into the bedroom lol :)

I have had luck separating seedlings by getting them really wet and 'washing' off the soil. If you really want to save the plants it is messy and takes time but I have found it works out the best in the long run.

You must really love peppers :)

Keriann~


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RE: Seedling roots poking out

asfd, how did it turn out? Did you plant up?? I can only imagine how long it took. ;)

Kim


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