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Field Operational Considerations

Appropriate selection of a stock type and co-ordination with the nursery provide the best assurance that the right seedlings will be ready when the site is to be planted. Implementation of the planting program, however, requires that seedlings be transported and planted when site and stock characteristics coincide. Planting and handling logistics, therefore, must be considered during the stock type selection process.

Stock types should be selected to allow for maximum flexibility of the planting program. Rather than selecting stock types with a limited flexibility, such as BBR 2+0, select those with greater flexibility such as PSB 1+0, and concentrate on better planning, planting, site preparation, timing of planting, and communication with the nursery. Do not expect custom stock type design and selection to make up for a lack of attention to these and other factors.

Each planting program (e.g., regular plant; replant or fill plant; backlog; underplanting) has its own special planning requirements. Although it is not possible to anticipate all of the logistical problems that can influence stock type selection, proper planning can minimize the risks. The following is a list of major planning concerns that could affect stock type selection:

  • SP obligations.
  • Stock availability.
  • Planting cost.
  • Planting site location.
  • Planting site conditions.
  • Planting site accessibility.
  • Interim storage facilities and handling.
  • Availability of suitable transportation.
  • Planter availability.

Table 5 reviews some logistical concerns associated with several commonly used stock types.

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Seedling Characteristics

Site Limiting Factors

Site Preparation Selection

Field Operational Considerations

Delivery Dates

Nursery Production Time


Nursery Treatments

What Have Other People Used?

Stock Type Development

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Table 5.   Suitability of acceptable stock types for various operational factors. The table indicates the relative suitability for remote locations (good, fair, or poor stock type choice for remote locations); handling requirements (few, moderate, or many requirements in order to preserve stock quality); and plantability (easy, moderate, or difficult stock type to plant).

Plantability Handling requirements Remote locations Season Stock type

Easy Moderate Good Su PCT 211A 1+0, PSB/PCT 313B 1+0,
PSB 313B 2+0, PSB 410 1+0, PSB/PCT 412A 1+0
Easy Few Good Sp PSB/PCT 412A 1+0, PSB/PCT 313B 1+0,
PSB 410 1+0, PSB/PCT 415B 1+0
Moderate Moderate Good Su PSB/PCT 415B 1+0
Moderate Moderate Fair Su PSB 415B 2+0, PSB 415D 1+0
Moderate Few Fair Sp PSB 415D 1+0
Moderate Moderate Fair Su PSB 415D 2+0
Moderate Moderate Poor Sp PSB/PCT 512A, PSB 615A 1+0, PBR .5+.5
More difficult Many Poor Su PSB/PCT 512A
More difficult Many Poor Su PSB/PCT 515A, PSB 615A 1+0 , PSB 615A 2+0 ,
PBR .5+.5, PBR .5+1.5
More difficult Many Poor Sp PSB/PCT 515A, BBR 2+0

Site accessibility

Transporting seedlings to and storing seedlings at remote planting sites can be costly. This is a particular concern for any hot-lift planting program. Consider alternative transportation methods that minimize transportation time, such as helicopters. Where larger stock types are being used for backlog planting, their large size may require specialized transport at the planting site (e.g., helicopter liftingsmall stashes of seedlings into the middle of the block).

Smaller stock types are more

cost-effective to transport and

to maintain in interim storage

than larger stock types.

Smaller stock types are more cost-effective to transport and to maintain in interim storage than larger stock types. For example, nearly twice as many PSB 313B 1+0 Sx seedlings will fit in a box as PSB415D 1+0. Due to their relative sensitivity to adverse storage conditions and specialized handling requirements, BBR and PBR stock types should not be considered for use in remote areas unless site conditions exclude all other stock types. Handling problems and prolonged field storage of stock used in remote planting sites should be anticipated. In order to maintain stock condition at remote planting sites, it may be necessary and desireable to arrange for stock handling, storage, and care of seedlings with the planting contractor or to designate a stock maintenance manager.

Many spring planting operations at high elevations (ESSF) are delayed because of late snowmelt on the planting site. Often the delay may be too long and the planting cancelled. Consider summer rather than spring planting for sites prone to these conditions.

In other situations, the planting site may be snow free but inaccessible. Clearing snow from roads or using helicopter transport should be considered to gain access to the planting site but this will require additional lead time to get the necessary equipment to the site. The cost of clearing snow should be compared to the risk of increased mortality due to delayed planting and planter availability. Stock type selection should also be based on a comparison of the cost of snow removal to the cost of summer planting and specialized summer storage.

Helicopter-logged sites, although generally requiring small numbers of seedlings, are almost always restricted to the PSB 313B/410/415B stock types because of access and transport constraints.

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