Apple Root Rot?

Had a client in Ghana who lost a lot of benchgrafts right after they sprouted. As is common there, he potted them into poly bags of soil for transport to the distant growing field (no refrigeration was available). Note the palm fronds to protect the seedlings in the field.

My guess is the soil was too heavy, and drainage too poor in these bags. Anyone else care to chime in?

Did the bags have drainage holes? I’ve seen that used a lot in India so it’s not a total no-no.

I’m sure they do, usually like for to six 1/2" holes on the bottom. I’ve seen them with holes in the sides too, that may help. The soil they’re filled with looks pretty heavy with no organic material.

Yeah with no OM, it’ll be tough on the young tree. Do they do composting?

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He wants to try again next year, and so yes, he has time to start.

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It could be the reason that they were stored at soft ground and bottom drainage holes got clogged and over time the poly bags set at a slightly depressed hole at the ground. Storing them at about 6” high pea-stone drainage bed would help.

Side drainage holes about an inch above the ground could be another option.

That’s an excellent point; usually they have these types of bags on a gravel bed in the nursery.