Evergreen Seedling Planting Wisdom

I’ve emailed a variation of these evergreen planting instructions so many times that I decided it finally deserves a web page of its own…enjoy 🙂
See Also: Evergreen Seedling Planting Instructions


Thanks for your email! You touch on a lot of important subjects, so it sounds as though you’ve already done some pretty good research. Planting multiple evergreen tree species as a small test crop is always a good idea when you don’t know for sure what does well in your area. Some expected losses in a small test crop is far better than the same percentage of unexpected losses in a large gung-ho first crop. Believe me, I can tell you stories that will make sap run from your eyes.

Regarding partial shade and somewhat acidic soil, most evergreens will simply grow more slowly in partial shade, but almost all evergreens prefer somewhat acidic soil [pH of 5.5 to 6.5].  This page is a very handy and quick guide to the characteristics of the species that we grow and sell:
Evergreen Seedling Buyer’s Guide

Regarding whether to plant plug seedlings or plug transplants, that is really up to you.  A plug transplant is simply a larger and more robust version of a plug seedling, but plug transplants are definitely more expensive.  A plug seedling will be as big as a plug transplant within 1-2 one years after planting, so planting sooner and smaller is also much cheaper.  However, all seedlings need more TLC in the first year than transplants, particularly water during hot/dry spells because their root systems are smaller and can’t reach as deep and wide.

The above is also true for bare root seedlings versus bare root transplants.  You should take a look at bare root, mainly because they’re generally a bit larger while also a bit cheaper than plugs.  Bare root trees are a traditional growing method which is certainly not broken. Bare root seedlings plant fairly easily, but bare root transplants are a lot of work to plant. Lastly, the shipping season and planting window for bare root evergreens is smaller than for plugs. For example, we can’t ship bare root to Georgia in February, but we can bring in a tray of plugs to thaw and then ship.
Bare Root Evergreen Seedlings For Sale
Bare Root Evergreen Transplants For Sale

The best time of year to plant evergreen trees is just after the ground has thawed but before daytime temperatures are consistently into the 70s…regardless of species or size or type.  This time of year is obviously different for different parts of the country.  For us here in Michigan, late March through the end of May is usually best…and usually the earlier the better. Frost does not damage an evergreen tree until after it has broken bud and begun to put out new growth.

Let me know if you have any further questions…be glad to help.

Best – Rick

Richard Lubbers

Site Administrator, sporting some rather muddy boots

PO Box 15
Grand Haven, MI 49417

text only: 803-265-7533
https://www.nurserymen.com [retail evergreen trees]
https://www.nurseryman.com [wholesale services]


On 2/18/19 8:03 AM, Scott H wrote:> We own 265 acres on a small wooded mountain in northeast PA with mainly
> oak hardwoods with 6 acres of food plots. Our property has minimal
> evergreen trees for deer habitat. We are looking to do a select timber
> in a certain area and plant a couple small patches of evergreen trees
> that will have partial /filtered sun. What evergreen trees would you
> recommend for our area that are hardy/for planting on the south facing
> mountain and the soil will be somewhat acidic. I’m up to even to
> planting a variety of different trees. Also with our type of
> environment do you recommend seedling plugs or transplant plugs? Also
> when is the best time of year to plant plug evergreen trees
> Thanks
> Scott H