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Re: HYB: Coddling Seedlings

  • Subject: Re: HYB: Coddling Seedlings
  • From: HIPSource@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 23:13:32 EST

From: HIPSource@aol.com

Lowell opined:

<< I'm a big believer in coddling seedlings. [....]  If a new seedling dies,
we will
 never have a chance to truly determine its worth.  I'm sure that the effort
 doing every thing possible to keep seedlings will pay off with some good
 cultivars that might not otherwise have survived. >>

I'm inclined to agree with this approach. Here are my intuitions and over-
generalizations in support of my statement.

The assumption that a 'weak' seedling will invariably produce a 'weak' mature
plant strikes me as too pat. Infant plants must be more vulnerable to extremes
of temperature, or moisture or whatever than the mature plant simply because
of their age and size. They desiccate faster, they heave easier, they have
fewer reserves of energy, they have developed less tolerance through exposure,

In mixed lots of seeds of other genera the seedlings which look 'weak'
initially often give the most unusual or interesting mature plants and their
apparent weakness may simply mean they are inherently smaller, or slower
growing. These are not always bad qualities. Slow, small growth, in fact, is
often associated with cold hardiness.

I think there is an argument to made for coddling, as Lowell says, to see what
they turn into. If they are interesting but they lack some necessary
qualities, they might be bred with another to supply the deficit. As I
understnd it, that is the name of the game in hybridizing. 

Some, however, will not survive even with coddling, and those are the ones one
should not mourn.

Anner Whitehead

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