Tree Planting At Glenorchy Conservation Area: An Experiment with Fall Seedlings

tractor planting seedlings

Written by: Karlee May, Digital Media Coordinator with contributions from Meghan Taylor, Forest Technician


We’re redecorating: replanting, reseeding, and rebuilding Glenorchy Conservation area. Conservation Halton holds the lease for Glenorchy to restore and re-naturalize the land. Until the end of the lease, the conservation area will remain closed to the public, except for the occasional volunteer day. Our efforts need the time to take root.

The planting season is strenuous. The most opportune time to plant trees is in the spring. The seedlings have spring, summer, and autumn to settle and anchor their roots in the soil. When seedlings are planted too late in the year, the roots do not have the needed time to settle into the soil. Frost pushes seedlings out of the ground if the seedlings don’t have the mandatory growing period. The seasons create a problem for Forestry: how can we extend the planting season to plant a large volume of seedlings? Forestry devised an experiment to test whether the shape of the root matters for planting both deciduous and coniferous trees.

Plug roots are on the left, and bare roots are on the right.

Plug roots are on the left, and bare roots are on the right.

The types of seedlings planted are bareroot and plug stock. This refers to how the seedlings are grown at the nursery. Bareroot stock is grown outdoors in fields and is lifted out of the ground when the trees are still dormant. The roots are fully exposed and need to be protected right up until the tree is planted to ensure survival. Plug stock (or container stock) are grown inside a greenhouse within a plastic tray surrounded by soil. The trees should also be handled carefully up to the time of planting.

We're careful about protecting the seedlings

We’re careful about protecting the seedlings

On September 18th, 2014, we planted 4500 trees at the Glenorchy property restoring over 5.5 acres. We generally plant a 50/50 mix of conifers and deciduous tree species. This ensures species diversity within the plantation in addition to supporting a variety of different wildlife species. The tree species we plant include: White Oak, Bur Oak, Red Oak, Trembling Aspen, White Birch, Black Cherry, Red maple, White Cedar, White Pine and White Spruce.We mowed the field prior to planting to reduce the amount of weed competition that the trees will be subject to in the following summer. Click the photos in the gallery below and follow the seedling planting process step by step.

Forestry at Conservation Halton is also involved within the community. Not only do we plant trees on conservation properties, we also have a school greening program, and we encourage landowners in Halton region to contact us. A forestry specialist will come to your home and assess your property for planting trees, and also recommend cost sharing programs, like Trees Ontario and the Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship program among others.


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