When is the right time to transplant seedlings?

I have read all kinds of information on seedlings and am finding conflicting information. For example, one piece of literature will tell me to transplant when the seedling has two sets of true leaves, and another will say three sets of true leaves. Does it actually make a difference?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

There's no hard-and-fast rule about when to transplant; it varies from species to species. The key is to transplant the seedlings after they're sturdy enough to handle it, but before their roots become long or tangled with those of other seedlings. It's best to handle the seedlings by holding the leaves rather than the stem. The seedling can quickly recover from a torn leaf, but damage to the stem in the seedling stage will likely kill or severely stunt the plant.


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