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The submission of seedlings to mechanical stimuli and plant growth regulator promote their hardening and can be included in the routine of nurseries, favoring the survival and initial growth in the field. The study aimed to evaluate the effects of applying methyl jasmonate and stem bending in hardening and initial growth of Cordia trichotoma seedlings. Seedlings were subjected to 20 stem bending daily for 4 weeks; 20 stem bending daily for 8 weeks; 50 μmol.L-1 of methyl jasmonate applied weekly for 4 weeks; 50 μmol.L-1 of methyl jasmonate applied weekly for 8 weeks and the control treatment. The design was a completely randomized, with five repetitions of the fourteen seedlings. Seedlings submitted to hardening treatments showed less increment in height, greater increment in stem diameter and less value for strength index. Seedlings of control treatment had greater loss of root tissue electrolytes and less potential for root regeneration. In the field, 180 days after planting, seedlings submitted to eight weeks of stem bending and eight methyl jasmonate applications showed greater increment in height and stem diameter. The results indicate that both stem bending such as methyl jasmonate application for eight weeks are effective in promoting hardening and improve the starting performance in field of Cordia trichotoma seedlings.