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Practices for propagating better trees

January 15, 2019  By Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

Vineland has been identifying methods and creating new technologies to help tree propagators grow seedlings with better root quality.

Our research found the design of propagation trays critical to the development of healthy, laterally orientated structural roots at this early stage of a tree’s life. Trays designed to expose growing root tips to air have also produced the best quality root systems with the fewest amount of misdirected roots.

Tree seedlings were grown at Vineland in different trays and then planted into the field to monitor their establishment for five seasons. Findings indicated seedlings transplanted from air-pruning propagation trays had fewer total and critical root deflections and more vigorous vegetative growth after transplanting, compared to three other conventional tree production trays.


Successful tree planting means a tree will not just survive but thrive in the landscape for decades. Healthy roots mean healthy trees and resilient landscapes.

Check out this video illustrating optimal techniques for growing tree roots in healthy trees

For more information, please contact: Darby McGrath, PhD Research Scientist, Nursery & Landscape 905-562-0320 x766

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