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Nursery Production Time

Each nursery facility has specific planning requirements, cropping duration, capabilities and limitations for each stock type, which should be taken into consideration.

The time it takes to grow a seedling (Figure 6) varies with stock type. The time factor must be considered during the stock type selection process in order to match the desired delivery date.

Figure 6.   Sowing request in relation to administration and age of major stock types. Actual sow dates and cultural cycles may vary by species, nursery, and specific stock type. (Note that 1+0 summer stock can be sown and available for planting in seven to eight months.)


Nursery production costs are reflected in seedling prices. In general:

  • Larger seedlings cost more to produce due to the amount of nursery space consumed (see Figure 7).
  • As seedling age increases, production costs increase.
  • Over-wintering or holding over 1+0 for 2+0, increases the risk of crop damage. Damaged, unacceptable seedlings increase the cost of acceptable seedlings.

There is a horticultural truism that says:
"Don't plant a 25¢ tree in a 10¢ hole."

Relative seedling cost in relation to stock type density.

Figure 7.   Relative seedling cost in relation to stock type density.

The same applies for forestry: match the site preparation and microsite to the species and stock type selection. Consideration must be made of the entire cost of the regeneration system and the potential impact and value of increased survival and productivity. The cost to purchase and plant a seedling must be considered, but:

The most important cost is the

cost of the surviving seedling

at free growing.

In considering these cost issues, remember that the cost to purchase the stock alone may be less than half of the cost to package, store, transport, and plant the seedling. In turn, the entire cost to plant may range from less than one-third to double the cost to prepare the site. But the cost of failure and replanting can be even greater.

Direct costs of storage, handling, and transportation should be included in any stock type selection consideration. Forest Service stock type morphological specifications, seedling costs, and storage and transport costs are available from regional reforestation and site preparation foresters, and nursery services officers. Table 7 gives an example of the different stock type costs for Sx delivered to Kamloops Forest Region that could beused in a cost-benefit analysis. Although seedling cost is a major component of the cost of regeneration, the cost of storage and transportation can be substantial, particularly for larger stock types destined for remote locations. Depending on stock type, conventional storage and transportation costs can add 2 to 6¢ per seedling.

If there's no performance difference between stock types,

don't pay the premium.

An often neglected, but not insignificant cost, is the administrative overhead associated with co-ordinating and communicating with the nursery and planting crew. Larger or more specialized stock types require more attention than smaller stock types. Summer-plant stock types require more coordination between the nursery and the planting site than do spring-planted stock types. Shipment to remote areas, specialized transport, and interim storage can add even more to the cost of seedlings. Larger stock types always incur additional costs.

Although risk management considerations may dictate spreading the sowing request among several nurseries, this may add considerably to administration time. For hot-lifted stock, it may be preferable to have all stock for a request or specific planting project grown at one nursery.

The cost to purchase the same stock type varies depending on the species. For example, PSB313B1+0 Abies cost 20¢/seedling compared to 14.8¢/seedling for Sx. This reflects nursery cultural practices and seed expenses. As well, natural stand Ba seed costs 4.3¢/seedling compared to 0.7¢/seedling for Hw, and 10.9¢/seedling for Yc.

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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 7.   Acceptable Sx stock type costs for Kamloops Forest Region. Cost will vary by species and region. There are no storage costs for summer planting. Costs are determined from the 1997 - 98 Ministry of Forests Commercially Equivalent Rates and Storage and Transportation Costs. These costs are reviewed and revised annually.

Sx Kamloops Forest Region Costs (¢/seedling)
Stock type/
Age class
Season No./box "B" class seed Seedling Storage Spring transport Summer transport Total

PBR .5+1.5 Sp 180 0.4 23.80 2.44 0.72   27.36
PBR .5+1.5 Su 180 0.4 23.80     1.81 26.01
PSB 313B 1+0 Sp 340 0.4 14.80 1.29 0.38   16.87
PSB 313B 1+0 Su, Fa 340 0.4 14.80     0.96 16.16
PSB 313B 2+0 Su, Fa 320 0.4 16.30     1.02 17.72
PSB 410 1+0 Sp 225 0.4 20.72 1.95 0.58   23.65
PSB 410 1+0 Su, Fa 225 0.4 20.72     1.44 22.56
PSB 415B 1+0 Sp 225 0.4 20.42 1.95 0.58   23.35
PSB 415B 1+0 Su, Fa 225 0.4 20.42     1.44 22.26
PSB 415B 2+0 Su 225 0.4 24.80     1.44 26.64
PSB 415D 1+0 Sp 150 0.4 29.47 2.93 0.87   33.67
PSB 415D 1+0 Su, Fa 150 0.4 29.47     2.17 32.04
PSB 415D 2+0 Su 150 0.4 32.59     2.17 35.16
PSB 615A 1+0 Sp 125 0.4 52.00 3.51 1.04   56.95
PSB 615A 1+0 Su, Fa 125 0.4 52.00     2.60 55.00

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