How to successfully plant a new forest

If you are a self-directed forest owner, you can plant a new forest on your own – a planting tube and basket are all you need.

No prior experience is required. Follow these instructions to keep your seedlings in good condition and get your forest off to a good start. However, if you would like to get advice for planting, don’t hesitate to contact your personal forest specialist. You can also order planting work from your forest specialist if you do not have time to handle it yourself. Our forest management services are only available in Finland.

Check the quality of seedlings

When you receive the seedlings you have ordered, open a few randomly picked boxes and check the quality of your seedlings before planting. The seedlings must be healthy and vibrant. You do not want to see

  • Multiple tops or brown tops
  • Mould, signs of disease or pests, or mechanical damage
  • A clearly curved stem
  • Several seedlings in the same root ball
  • Leaves larger than buds in broad-leaved trees

Also check that the seedlings meet the minimum height indicated on the box or bag label.

Seedlings from a single batch always display minor variation, and a few seedlings of poorer quality may be included in the batch. However, if poor-quality seedlings account for more than five per cent of the content, contact your forest specialist without delay.

Proper storage of seedlings before planting

If you have ordered seedlings that have been in cold storage and arrive frozen in boxes, place the boxes in a shady place and open their carry handles. This ensures proper ventilation in the boxes.

If the seedlings are delivered in sacks, roll open the sack to reveal the top of the root plug. Allow the seedlings to thaw. A cool place away from direct sunlight is a suitable storage location. Thawing usually takes three to five days.

When the seedling root plugs have thawed and come loose from one another, it is time to plant them. Plant the seedlings as soon as possible after thawing. If you do not plant them immediately, monitor their moisture and water them if required.

If the seedlings arrive thawed, plant them as soon as possible. If required, water the seedlings during storage. Properly stored and watered seedlings remain in good condition for two to three weeks.

Plant the seedling in the centre of the mound

The seedling is ready to be planted when it has thawed, and the root plug lets off water when squeezed lightly. Water the seedlings if required. Plant the seedlings in unfrozen, prepared soil. The best planting spot is in the centre of the mound, or in the absence of a mound, at the highest spot in mineral soil. A seedling that is planted adequately deep in the centre of the mound roots and grows well.

The seedlings have been treated against pine weevils, and this may irritate the skin. To avoid skin symptoms, use nitrile gloves when handling and planting seedlings. Wash your hands after working with seedlings. Please note that planting tools must never be rinsed off in natural waters.

Make sure you plant the seedling deep enough. Cover the root plug with at least 2–5 cm of soil. The mineral soil around the seedling will protect the seedling against damage caused by pine weevils. Avoid planting in unprepared soil. Do not leave empty seedling boxes in the forest. They can be disposed of as mixed or energy waste.

Planting spot on an inverted mound

Inverting is the most common soil preparation method used by Metsä Group. The following picture shows the correct planting spot on an inverted mound.

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  • Highest spot as close to the centre of the mound as possible.
  • The distance of the seedling from the edge of the humus must be at least 15 cm.
  • Deep enough – that is, the bottom of the seedling’s root plug reaches all the way to the humus layer.
  • When planting a seedling, the mound is compressed lightly around the root plug.