Transporting trees and seedlings

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Transporting trees and seedlings is a difficult challenge because of the conditions that have to be ensured. It is not only important to secure the load, but also to ensure that the right temperature, humidity and other factors are met so that the plants arrive safely at their new location.

Methods for transporting trees and seedlings by land

Here are some methods of transporting trees and seedlings by road:

Trucks: This is the most common method of long-distance transport. Trees and saplings are placed on specially adapted platforms or in containers to protect them from the weather.

Vans: Used for smaller deliveries, especially in urban areas.

Trailers: Can be used to transport seedlings or small trees that are transported from one place to another.

Refrigerated trucks: Where seedlings are temperature-sensitive and require specific conditions during transport.

Jute or mesh bags: The cuttings can be packed in bags that allow air circulation and at the same time protect the roots from drying out.

Pallets: These make it easier to transport larger quantities of cuttings or trees. They stabilise the load and protect the plants from mechanical damage.

Cardboard packaging: Often used for transporting seedlings, which are less sensitive to damage.

Safety bands: Trees with longer trunks may require additional protection during transport to prevent damage.

Irrigation systems: For longer routes, it may be necessary to provide an irrigation system so that the saplings do not dry out during transport.

Regardless of the method of transport, it is important to ensure the right conditions for the plants during transit, such as adequate temperature, humidity and protection from direct sunlight and shocks.

How to protect trees and seedlings before transporting them

Here are some professional ways to protect trees and seedlings before transport:

Root preparation:

For trees and shrubs with bare roots: Remove excess soil and then moisten the roots. You can wrap them in a moist material such as peat or wet paper and then seal them in a jute or plastic bag to prevent them from drying out.

For plants in pots: Make sure the soil is well hydrated before transporting.


Trees with longer trunks can be stabilised by using ties or strings. This prevents branches from breaking during transport. Seedlings can be placed in special boxes or on pallets for easy and safe transport.

Protection from the weather:

Trees and seedlings should be protected from direct sunlight, rain and wind. This can be achieved by using tarpaulins or special transport containers.

Protection from shocks and mechanical damage:

Use shock-absorbing materials, such as straw, peat or bubble wrap, around the plants and on the bottom of the transport vehicle. Avoid knocking over or moving the seedlings during transport.


Label all parcels and containers indicating that they contain live plants. This can help ensure proper care during loading and unloading.

Temperature control:

For temperature-sensitive species, consider using temperature-controlled vehicles or thermal mats to stabilise the temperature during transport.


For longer journeys or in warmer climates, consider using irrigation systems or regularly spray plants with water to prevent them from drying out. By protecting your trees and seedlings properly before transport, you greatly increase their chances of survival and healthy growth after transplanting.

What to do with the trees and seedlings after transport?

After transporting trees and saplings, it is important to take the appropriate measures to ensure that they are properly acclimatised and grow healthily in their new location. Here are some steps to take after receiving your trees and seedlings:


Upon arrival, carefully inspect the trees and seedlings for any damage, disease or pests. Pay attention to the condition of the roots. They should be moist, but not wet. If the roots are dry, soak them in water for a few hours before planting.


If trees and seedlings have been kept in the dark for a long time, accustom them gradually to sunlight to avoid shock.

Soil preparation:

Dig sufficiently large planting holes to allow the roots to develop freely. If the soil is heavy or not very fertile, I recommend adding compost or organic improvement materials.


Remove the trees and saplings from their packs, taking care not to damage the roots. Plant them at the correct depth - the top of the root ball should be level or slightly below soil level. Fill the hole with soil, gently kneading around the root ball to remove any air bubbles.


Thoroughly water trees and seedlings immediately after planting. This will help to stabilise the soil around the roots and provide them with adequate moisture.


Applying a layer of mulch around the tree or sapling will help conserve moisture, protect the roots from temperature extremes and reduce weed growth.


Depending on location and species, trees and saplings may need protection from pests, animals or strong winds. Consider using guards, netting or other means of protection.


Monitor your plants regularly, especially in the first few weeks after planting. Make sure they are adequately watered and show no signs of disease or pest attacks.

Remember that the first days and weeks after transport are crucial for the survival and healthy development of trees and seedlings. Proper care during this period will greatly increase the chances of them successfully rooting in their new location.


Can trees and seedlings be exported abroad?

Yes, it is possible to export trees and seedlings abroad, but this is associated with certain restrictions and requirements that may vary between exporting and importing countries. Here are some points to consider:

Phytosanitary regulations: many countries have strict phytosanitary regulations to prevent the spread of plant diseases and pests. Testing and a phytosanitary certificate confirming that plants are free of certain diseases and pests may be required before exporting seedlings or trees.

Export and import permits: Depending on the species of tree or seedling, special permits may be required for their export or import. This is especially true for species protected under international agreements such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Quarantine: Some countries may require imported plants to be quarantined on arrival to ensure that they do not bring diseases or pests with them.

Packaging: Plants must be properly packaged to ensure their protection during transport and to meet sanitary requirements.

Adaptation: Even if all legal requirements are met, it is worth considering whether the tree or sapling will be able to adapt to the new environment and climatic conditions in the importing country.

Additional costs: Exporting and importing trees and seedlings may involve additional costs, such as fees for phytosanitary testing, quarantine or obtaining the necessary permits.

Before you decide to export trees or seedlings abroad, it is advisable to consult the relevant authorities in the exporting country and the importing country to ensure that you meet all legal requirements and that the plants have a chance to survive and thrive in their new environment.