27 Sep 2019 - Rod Campbell
Already this month more than 4.5 million radiata pine (Pinus radiata) seeds have started the first steps in a process that will ultimately deliver the building blocks of Australia’s homes in three decades.
The tiny pine seeds started stratification, which is the first part of the 8-11 month growing process in Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Blowering Nursery.
Stratification is the process of mimicking the natural conditions needed for germination — soaking to remove germination inhibitants, drying slightly and then chilling in sterile storage containers until needed for sowing.
The seedlings will be dispatched in winter 2020 for Forestry Corporation’s annual planting program, said Plantation Improvement Manager Phil Green.
“All up we will prepare around nine million seeds for germination,” Mr Green said.
“This takes place in two tranches, with the second tranche taking place at the end of month and extending into early October.
“Seed sow takes place during October and November and in the following eight or so months, we will carefully fertilise, water and nurture our seedlings to prepare them for planting.
“Our nursery staff will also regularly sample the stem diameter, height and nutrient status of seedlings throughout the nursery before being individually assessed to make sure it meets our high standards.”
The ongoing plantation cycle means the community has access to renewable forestry resources for decades to come.
“Each year Forestry Corporation replants the equivalent of almost 300 times the area of Sydney’s CBD to pine plantations,” Mr Green said.
“The seedlings we plant today will grow into the trees that are used in paper, packaging, new houses, home extensions and backyard fences when the plantations are harvested 15 to 35 years from now,” Mr Green said.
“It is exciting to see it start with one tiny seed.”
Forestry Corporation has around 220,000 hectares of pine plantations in NSW and produces enough timber to construct a quarter of the homes built in Australia each year.
Media contact: Rod Campbell 0428058549