First of 10 million seedlings planted in 2019 softwoods program

Forestry Corporation of NSW’s 2019 softwood planting program is underway with planting commencing at Grafton recently.

The 2019 planting campaign will see contract crews planting almost 10 million pine seedlings on the State-owned estate across NSW, ultimately providing timber to build Australia’s homes and offices.

The program has started in Grafton, and will move to Bombala, Bathurst and Tumut (June to August), and finish at Walcha (late-August and into September).

Planting initially starts with one contractor planting 100,000 seedlings per week, and ramps up to more than 150,000 seedling per day for weeks on end, involving several contract planting crews at the peak, said Plantation Improvement Manager Phil Green.

“Each year our contacted planting crews are a mix of seasoned hands, some of whom have decades of planting experience and others are having a go for the first time,” Mr Green said.

“Over the 30-year lifespan of a softwood plantation, seedlings weighing around 10 grams at planting will grow into trees weighing as much as two tonnes each.”

The planting program is a crucial step in the forestry cycle, and much work goes into making it a success.

"We plant in winter when pine seedlings are dormant, which makes them hardier and more resilient to the stress of being planted to give them the best chance of survival,” Mr Green said.

“Each seedling is planted by hand and an experienced planter can plant more than 2,000 seedlings each day.

"The ground in each plantation has been carefully prepared, cultivated and treated for weeds to give the seedlings the best start possible."

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.

“The seedlings we plant today will grow into the trees that are going to build new houses, home extensions and backyard fences 30 to 35 years from now, so this is one of the most important times in our plantation cycle,” Mr Green said.

Media contact: Rod Campbell 0428058549