Most often we witness fruit seedling buyers requesting for fruit seedlings that have formed fruits or flowering, in most cases they are normally available at our nurseries and many other nurseries especially when its season for particular fruits, for example, mango fruit seedlings starts producing flowers and continue to fruiting at nursery level when its mango season. Same case applies to oranges, apples, avocados and many others.

small mango fruit seedlings

Buy why should you avoid purchasing or transplanting fruit seedlings with flowers or formed fruits? What should be done when the seedling starts producing fruits and what might be the aftermath? This article highlights all this in a detailed manner.

Transplanting small fruit seedlings that already have formed fruits or are flowering is generally not ideal for several reasons:

Transplanting Shock:

When a seedling is transplanted, it goes through a period of adjustment known as transplant shock. During this time, the plant’s roots are disturbed, and it may experience stress as it adapts to the new environment. Small seedlings with fruits or flowers are more susceptible to transplant shock because they have already allocated energy and resources towards fruit production instead of root establishment.

Resource Allocation:

Fruit production requires a significant amount of energy and nutrients from the plant. When a small seedling with formed fruits or flowers is transplanted, it may struggle to allocate resources effectively between root development and fruiting. As a result, the plant’s overall growth and vigor may be compromised, leading to stunted growth or even the loss of fruits.

Root Development:

The primary goal of transplanting seedlings is to establish a strong and healthy root system. Small seedlings with formed fruits or flowers often have limited root development compared to seedlings that have been allowed to focus solely on root growth. Insufficient root development can impede the plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients from the soil, affecting its overall health and productivity.

Transplant Success:

Transplanting small seedlings with formed fruits or flowers increases the risk of transplant failure. The stress of transplantation combined with the energy demands of fruiting can overwhelm the plant, making it more susceptible to diseases, pests, and other environmental stressors. The chances of successful establishment and long-term survival are higher when transplanting younger seedlings that have been given the opportunity to develop robust root systems.

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Root Establishment:

Transplanting a seedling involves disturbing its root system, which can disrupt the plant’s ability to take up water and nutrients from the soil. When a seedling has already formed fruits or is flowering, its energy and resources are directed towards fruit production rather than root establishment. This can hinder the development of a strong and extensive root system, which is crucial for the plant’s long-term growth and survival.

Water and Nutrient Demands:

Fruiting plants have higher water and nutrient demands compared to young seedlings that are focused on vegetative growth. Transplanting a small seedling with formed fruits or flowers can place additional strain on its limited root system. The plant may struggle to meet the increased resource requirements of fruit development while simultaneously establishing roots in the new location, leading to reduced fruit quality and overall plant health.

Seasonal Considerations:

Transplanting small fruit seedlings with formed fruits or flowering during certain seasons may exacerbate the challenges they face. For example, transplanting during hot or dry periods can increase water stress on the plant, making it even more difficult for the seedling to establish and maintain adequate hydration while supporting fruit development.

Reduced Vigor:

Small seedlings with formed fruits or flowers may exhibit reduced vigor after transplantation. The energy diverted towards fruiting can weaken the plant’s ability to produce new leaves, stems, and roots necessary for growth. As a result, the plant may experience stunted growth, decreased resistance to pests and diseases, and lower overall productivity compared to seedlings that were transplanted at an earlier stage.

Risk of Fruit Loss:

Transplanting a fruit-bearing seedling can increase the risk of fruit loss due to transplant shock or other stress factors. The disturbance of the root system during transplantation can disrupt the flow of water, nutrients, and hormones required for fruit development. This can result in premature fruit drop, reduced fruit size or quality, or even complete loss of the fruits.

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Energy Diversion:

When a fruit-bearing seedling is transplanted, it faces the challenge of simultaneously adapting to the new environment and continuing fruit development. This division of energy and resources between acclimatization and fruiting can weaken the plant’s ability to establish strong roots and may result in compromised growth and fruit quality.

Transplanting Stress:

Transplanting can disrupt the delicate balance between the plant’s above-ground and below-ground parts. The stress caused by transplantation can lead to wilting, nutrient deficiencies, and increased susceptibility to pests and diseases. Small seedlings with formed fruits or flowering are already under the physiological stress of fruit production, making them more susceptible to transplant shock and its negative consequences.

small orange fruit seedlings
Photo From “Kenya Fruit Farmers” WhatsApp Group

Fruit Set Timing:

Some fruit species and varieties have specific timing requirements for successful fruit set. Transplanting a small seedling with formed fruits or flowering may interrupt this timing, affecting the plant’s ability to set and develop fruit properly. It is generally recommended to allow seedlings to reach a certain stage of growth and maturity before transplanting to ensure optimal fruit set and development.

Fruit Load Management:

When transplanting fruit-bearing seedlings, it can be challenging to manage the existing fruit load during the transition. The stress of transplanting can cause fruit drop or decrease the overall viability and productivity of the fruits. By transplanting younger seedlings, you have better control over managing fruit load and optimizing the plant’s energy allocation for future fruit production.

Timing for Root Establishment:

Root establishment is a critical factor in successful transplanting. Young seedlings without formed fruits or flowering have a better chance of allocating resources towards root development, enabling them to establish a strong and extensive root system. This, in turn, enhances their ability to absorb nutrients and water efficiently, promoting healthier growth and future fruit production.

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Long-Term Plant Performance:

Transplanting small fruit seedlings with formed fruits or flowering can have long-term implications for the plant’s performance and productivity. The stress experienced during transplantation can impact the plant’s overall health and vigor, potentially leading to reduced yields, increased susceptibility to pests and diseases, and shorter lifespan compared to seedlings transplanted at an earlier stage.

Root System Development:

The successful establishment of a transplanted seedling depends on the development of a healthy and robust root system. Small seedlings with formed fruits or flowering may have limited root development due to their focus on fruiting. Insufficient root development can hinder nutrient uptake, water absorption, and overall plant vigor, making the seedling more vulnerable to stressors and less likely to thrive after transplantation.

Overall Plant Health:

Transplanting small fruit seedlings that already have formed fruits or are flowering may compromise the overall health and productivity of the plant. The stress of transplantation can weaken the plant’s immune system and make it more susceptible to pests, diseases, and environmental challenges. This can result in reduced fruit yields, increased management efforts, and lower profitability for farmers.

In summary, transplanting small fruit seedlings with formed fruits or flowering is generally not recommended due to the challenges they face in establishing a healthy root system, the risk of transplant shock, and the potential diversion of energy from root development to fruiting.

It is advisable to prioritize transplanting younger seedlings that have focused on vegetative growth, allowing them to establish strong roots and become better equipped to support fruit production in the future.

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