Slick way to propegate natives

rollie(4a)

I was introduced to this approach while on a tour of the Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge and Prairie in Iowa.

It looked too simple for even me to screw up, so I bought into the system.

What it is is a Ray Leach Conetainer to grow the natives in. There is a lot of technology in this little conetainer, but the coolest thing is the verticle "anti spiral ribs" on the inside of the cone.

What you do, is fill the conetainer up with potting soil, and insert a couple seeds on top, and press them firmly into the soil. Water them regularly, and let them grow. Here is a pod of Prairie Smoke, and a couple cones of Little Bluestem.

When they are ready to plant in the ground, you simply use the "dibbles" spade and punch a hole in the ground. Then you gently remove the plant from the conetainer and insert it into the hole made by the dibbles. (That's what they call the special spade for making the holes, which matches up perfectly with the shape of the conetainer) These are Butterfly Milkweed and Prairie Dock, a couple of my favorites. Note: the roots are just starting to exit the bottom drainage holes of the conetainer.

Note how the conetainer "trained" the tap root to grow down, instead of around, which happens so often in container raised plants. (Prairie Dock)

(Butterfly Milkweed, again, pay attention to the direction of the roots)

Here is the "dibbles" in action. Note: Literally zero disruption of the soil, which leaves the weed bank undisturbed also. This puts the roots of the plant already approximately 8 inches into the soil, and ready to branch out, without cutting twisted roots loose.


Prairie Dock plant ready to thrive. No mess, no new weed seeds exposed, no problem..

Its a very simple way to grow new beds, without the mess of seeding, overpopulation, and weeds..

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Comments (12)
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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Very nice! Good to see root concerns making it into the realm of herbaceous plants. Good stuff.

+oM

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bossyvossy(S TX z9a, AHS 9)

Interesting . I guess this is meant for sandy soils. Seems like tender roots would hv a tougher time spreading into clay soil

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Oh I don't know-the main thing I got out of this is the design of the "conetainer" to avoid circling roots. Yes, poking into clay-based soil may be a concern, but let's give plants some credit-they put up with a lot worse than that! I've installed plugs" into our clayey stuff many a time. One small patch is one thing-you could easily work it up nice and fluffy-but most native restoration work takes place on a larger scale, where such a degree of soil prep is almost never practiced.

+oM

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edlincoln(6A)

Where do you get them, and are the "conetainers" reusable?

My first thought is to use it for Baptista Australis, Pitch Pine, and acorns.

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edlincoln(6A)

Where do you get them, and are the "conetainers" reusable?

My first thought is to use it for Baptista Australis, Pitch Pine, and acorns.

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gardenper(8)

I agree, very nice system. However, since it's not available at my local gardening store or box store, where would we be able to get something like this?

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rollie(4a)

Clay is definitley tougher to get the dibbles into, but the roots will take hold.

I have the SC10U Ultraviolet protected, supposed to last 7-9 years.

$130 for 1100 cells..

$7.45 per tray.

Dibbles was a little bit expensive, at $79. but in my opinion, that (along with the root directors) is the key to the system.

Dibbles is under Grower Supplies

Partial orders accepted.

I got mine online here:

I am not associated with this company in any way, shape or form. FYI

Here is a link that might be useful: Steuwe and Sons

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

in my sand ... the media you use.. MIGHT be problematic.. come the heat of july/august ... as the sand would tend to wick all the moisture out of the peat media ... and as you might know.. once peat goes bone dry ... it can be very hard to rewet.. underground ...

and trust me.. i learned this the hard way .... when i moved 1650 potted hosta .... sand and peat do play well together ...

BUT .... some plants were vigorous.. to grow right out of the media.. into native soil ... and never looked back.. other plants .... never did ... and were lost ... mind you.. i am talking one gal pot.. not your nice slim plug...

just an issue you might want to think about ....

otherwise.. spot on tutorial...

ed: all plastic is reusable.. just wash it out with 10% bleach.. before you start over.. looks like a baby bottle brush would help that process ...

ken

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rollie(4a)

ken,

One would assume there would need to be some adaptations for regional conditions.. :)

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TexasRanger10(7)

I bought some plants from Great Basin Natives a couple years ago. He sells tube sizes for less $$ than the gallon sizes so I got a few of these tubes when I ordered from him. They recycle since they are heavy duty plastic, they work great. I wouldn't mind having a couple hundred or more of them. I looked up the site, the price seems reasonable if a person is planting large scale. The only problem I saw was how closely the tubes sit in the holders which makes the tops of certain species get tangled, otherwise they seem like a great choice. I especially liked the way the roots grow and the fact that you can carry many plants to a planting site.

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Campanula UK Z8

Ah yes, we have summat similar (called roottrainers, they are basically long plugs with little internal flanges to encourage downward growth)....but, given a deep enough container, roots will always grow down (they are sensitive to gravity) so I have used newspaper or cardboard, rolled in a tube, sitting in 24cell tray modules, but only for station sowing largeish seeds. Mostly, I use large deep pots and just upend them to separate the seedlings. I usually only sow a couple of thousand seeds over a season but have ramped it up considerably so will have to much more sowing in situ in nursery beds.
I find sowing in plugs or modules to be fairly stressful and largely abandonned it because it was easier to keep the soil uniformly moist (or dry) with larger pots....but if I was sowing, say 100 sweet peas, a set-up like that, Tex, is just the ticket.

I often use 5 litre, 10inch deep pots, plant 100 seeds in each and when I come to turn the pot out, the roots grow all the way to the bottom and generally fill the pot, but they separate really easily, leaving long roots - I use a bulb-planter (for crocus and snowdrops, so only 1inch diameter tube) - I am not keen on dibbers because I think they compact the soil. I can race through planting 100 plugs in no time - almost a bit of a swizz after all that time nurturing the little seedlings in pots.

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Campanula UK Z8

Ah yes, we have summat similar (called roottrainers, they are basically long plugs with little internal flanges to encourage downward growth)....but, given a deep enough container, roots will always grow down (they are sensitive to gravity) so I have used newspaper or cardboard, rolled in a tube, sitting in 24cell tray modules, but only for station sowing largeish seeds. Mostly, I use large deep pots and just upend them to separate the seedlings. I usually only sow a couple of thousand seeds over a season but have ramped it up considerably so will have to much more sowing in situ in nursery beds.
I find sowing in plugs or modules to be fairly stressful and largely abandonned it because it was easier to keep the soil uniformly moist (or dry) with larger pots....but if I was sowing, say 100 sweet peas, a set-up like that, Tex, is just the ticket.

I often use 5 litre, 10inch deep pots, plant 100 seeds in each and when I come to turn the pot out, the roots grow all the way to the bottom and generally fill the pot, but they separate really easily, leaving long roots - I use a bulb-planter (for crocus and snowdrops, so only 1inch diameter tube) - I am not keen on dibbers because I think they compact the soil. I can race through planting 100 plugs in no time - almost a bit of a swizz after all that time nurturing the little seedlings in pots.

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