Next generation of seedlings to be grown from Tarkeeth seeds

Millions of seeds have been collected from a seed orchard in Tarkeeth State Forest near Bellingen in preparation for growing the next generation of seedlings for replanting timber plantations along the north coast.

Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Grafton Nursery Manager Kath French said the seed orchard was a group of trees with good genetic qualities that was specially planted in Tarkeeth State Forest 15 years ago to produce a reliable supply of good quality seeds.

“We plant more than half a million eucalyptus seedlings a year in State forest timber plantations on the north coast and we want to ensure every seedling we put in the ground has the best chance of growing into a strong, straight tree that will produce the timber the next generation needs,” Ms French said.

“We do this by harvesting seeds from trees with good genetic qualities that have proven to grow well on the north coast and cultivating these seeds in our Grafton Nursery so that they produce robust seedlings that are well adapted to local conditions.

“About half of the seedlings we grow each year are sown from seeds collected from our seed orchard in Tarkeeth State Forest, with the rest sown from seeds collected from trees with good genetic features that we’ve found in forests throughout the state.

“Over the coming months, the seeds we’ve collected will be dried, extracted and graded in preparation for sowing. Later in the year, we’ll sow around seven kilograms of seed into individual containers where they will be cultivated into seedlings to be dispatched to recently harvested plantations next planting season.”

Forestry Corporation’s Senior Planning Manager Dean Kearney said Tarkeeth State Forest contained 850 hectares of timber plantations that were currently being harvested and replanted.

“This autumn, we’ll be replanting more than 1,000 seedlings in every hectare of Tarkeeth State Forest that was harvested last year to re-establish timber plantations harvested last year,” Mr Kearney said.

“These seedlings will be a mix of mainly blackbutt and some tallowwood, many of which have been grown from seeds harvested from trees right here in the forest, so they are perfectly adapted to the local conditions and will rapidly regrow this timber plantation.

“The timber plantations were planted on former farmland during the 1960s and 70s to supply our generation with the timber and wood products we need, and we are now replanting them with even higher quality timber to ensure a renewable supply into the future.”

Media contact: Elizabeth Fowler 9407 4265/ 0408 779 903