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Project Planning/
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3.1 Using the Seed Planning and Registry System (SPAR)

3.2 Selecting a Nursery

3 Ordering Planting Stock

The age of stock you plan to use and the species (and availability) of seed will determine how far ahead of your planting date you will need to order stock.

3.1 Using the Seed Planning and Registry System (SPAR)

The principal administrative tool for ordering planting stock is the Seed Planning and Registry System (SPAR). All seedlings being ordered to meet basic silviculture obligations on Crown lands must use SPAR. For more information refer to the SPAR User Guide, or attend one of the annual training sessions.

SPAR can link into other Ministry of Forests on-line applications (e.g., ISIS, SSS, MLSIS). SPAR provides on-line access to silviculture staff at district, regional, and branch levels, and to ministry clients via remote terminals. It provides the following functions for ordering seedlings:

  • automatic application of the Seed Transfer Guidelines,
  • ability to enter requests at any time for current and future years for planning purposes, and
  • assistance in the preparation of nursery contract tenders.

SPAR can also identify suitable seedlots for planting locations and provides the ability to do on-line queries and report submissions as well as other seed-related activities.

The facilities for seed preparation are limited, and sowing requests made early are the best assurance against scheduling disappointments. In particular, the seed processing requirements for Abies species and Cw, Yc, and Pw necessitate additional time at the Tree Seed Centre.

It is critical to know the timelines required for the nursery production and cold-storage phases. The time required for production of the various stock types is shown in Figure 2. For additional information, refer to the Provincial Seedling Stock Type Selection and Ordering Guidelines, 1998.

Placing the sowing request early and remaining committed to it will expedite the entire seed preparation process and assure that stock is available when it is needed. For example, if seed for summer stock is sown late, the delivery date could be later than desired or the stock might not be available at all.

Re-scheduling of a sowing request can jeopardize nursery crops and reforestation practices. If, at an early stage in the ordering system, a change must be made, these changes should, depending on the contract obligations, be communicated directly to the nursery or nursery administration officer.

Figure 2. (Click on graphic for a full-size representation.) Sowing request in relation to administration and age of major stock types. Actual sow dates and cultural cycles may vary by species, nursery, nursery location, and specific stock type. Sp = spring; Su = summer.


Once seeds have been withdrawn from storage, soaked, and stratified, they must be used quickly. Prolonged storage of stratified seeds prior to sowing is not recommended, as it may allow fungal infestation, decreasing the germination percentage and the vigour of the seeds. Late changes cannot be accommodated without incurring seed and crop losses. The costs of processing seeds that are stratified but not sown will be charged to the ordering organization. All efforts must be made to ensure that seeds are used. For more information, refer to the Silviculture Manual, “Cone and Seed” chapter and the Seed and Vegetative Material Guidebook, 1995.

3.2 Selecting a Nursery

SPAR allows you to request a preferred nursery. However, the growing of seedlings for the BCTS and other MFR programs is tendered out to private nurseries and to the two MFR-owned nurseries. Therefore, your seedlings may not necessarily be grown in the nursery of your choice. Nursery Services staff within the Forest Enterprises Branch are responsible for tendering and administration of nursery contracts.

All nurseries are subject to meeting the quality control standards laid out in their contracts with the Ministry of Forests. However, certain situations and needs may necessitate the choice of a particular nursery. For example, for hot-lifted summer stock, a nearby nursery may be able to deliver stock more easily when a rigid schedule is required. Just the physical distance of getting stock from a nursery hundreds of kilometres away can raise potential problems. In another example—for mixed species planting—a district may wish to have all species of stock grown for that particular block at one nursery. This will simplify the ordering and delivery of the stock. Note that growing all of your seedlings in one nursery increases the risk of having all of your seedlings affected by a certain problem (e.g., a pest or disease).


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Copyright 1999 Province of British Columbia
Forest Practices Branch
BC Ministry of Forests
This page was last updated December 2000

Comments to: Tim Ebata <Tim.Ebata@gems8.gov.bc.ca>