5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 on the other side of the seedling to firm the soil evenly.
6. Step on the soil around the seedling to eliminate air pockets.
To increase survival of bare root seedlings, here are a few more tips to keep in mind:
* For best results, brush aside leaves and grass and plant seedlings on bare soil.
* After receiving seedlings, plant them as soon as possible. If you can't get them planted immediately, keep the seedlings in a cool, protected area.
* Keep roots moist prior to planting.
* Plant under cool, cloudy skies with little wind.
* Do not over-water. Give freshly planted seedlings a deep soak, then let the soil dry out before watering again. This encourages roots to grown down in search of water. Frequent shallow watering produces trees dependent on irrigation and subject to blow down in high winds.
* Do not expect 100 percent seedling survival.
* Finally, seedlings take years to become trees, so remember that this is a long-term project.
Send questions and comments to Dr. Scott Shalaway, 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033 or via my website, http://scottshalaway.googlepages.com.