The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => General Board => Topic started by: bigtrees on August 21, 2018, 10:08:09 PM

Title: Seedling planting questions
Post by: bigtrees on August 21, 2018, 10:08:09 PM
I'm preparing to sign a contract to have approximately 500 seedlings planted on a tree farm that I recently acquired. A bit dense, but I am projecting a higher mortality rate and will do some precommerical thinning down the road to thin out the weaklings.

Two questions about seedling planting:

1) The State of Montana planting guideline strongly suggests using 3x3 squares of woven weed fabric (after killing the existing grasses) to keep the competition for water down. The seedling contractor isn't convinced, and is thinking that using natural wood chips will be good enough.

Any opinions on woven weed fabric versus natural mulch for seedling installation?

2) I will need to use Vexar seedling protector tubes to prevent deer browse. I was thinking 4" diameter by 36" tall. Any comments on the diameter of Vexar seedling protector?

Any other suggestions on planting seedlings? I would like the highest survival rate as possible (as well as good growth rates) without driving expenses through the roof.
Title: Re: Seedling planting questions
Post by: pine on August 22, 2018, 03:15:17 AM
Not a big fan of the Vexar tubes as I prefer the Protection tubes (Tree Protection tubes ) ( lots of folks like the Vexar ones.  My biggest complaint is they are not as good against mountain beavers (we have a bad issue in my area) and they are harder to spray around without hitting the seedling when doing vegetation control.  If your mats do a good enough job then you may not need to spray. 
You did not state what species you are planting as that is also a factor in diameter and length of tube. 
Wood chips can create a nitrogen issue if you get them very thick just something to think about.

500 trees are not that many.  Have you considered doing them yourself and saving a boatload of money?  Not very hard to do once you are shown the correct way to avoid common planting errors.  Many of the contractors only care about how many they get in the ground in the minimum time, not how well they plant.  Some of us are very diligent in what we do and are very good so I do not want to bad mouth the good ones just the bad ones.  I expanded into the planting side of the business because of the "pushing" of two local government foresters who were tired of the bad results that often come about. 

Get references from folks that they planted for 2 -3 years ago.