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Receiving and Storing Southern Conifer Seedlings

Most of the principles for receiving and storing northern and western conifer seedlings apply to the southern species. The ideal system for handling southern seedlings includes cold storage at the nursery, refrigerated trucks for shipping, and cold storage at the district. Optimum storage temperatures should be constant between 33 and 38 °F with relative humidities above 95 percent. Unlike the Northern and Western conifer seedlings, the Southern seedlings should never be frozen for storage or shipping. Southern seedlings seldom become truly dormant because of the warmer winter conditions in the South. Storage of southern conifers is kept to a minimum, in many cases just 1 day.

The planting season throughout most of the South usually starts in December and ends in March. In Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, planting often continues into April, and may extend into early May.

The information in this section will describe the handling and storage techniques that should be followed to minimize the damage to southern conifer seedlings. Since most of the principles are the same as for northern and western species, only the major differences will be described in the sections.

The section is broken into three main categories:

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