Forestry and Land Scotland is attracting attention from across the forestry sector as it revolutionises tree nursery practices through new a mechanised process at the ‘grass roots’ level.
FLS has been trialling a new ‘TreeTape’ technology that will help increase the number of viable seedlings grown from seed at Newton tree nursery near Elgin.
This in turn will help ensure the continuity of tree supply that is required to meet the Scottish Government’s ambitious tree planting targets in response to the Climate Emergency.
The TreeTape product emerged from last year’s CivTech challenge in which FLS partnered with Cumbria Tree Growers to support their development of this revolutionary approach to establishing young saplings. Early signs from FLS trails suggest that TreeTape will have a hugely positive impact on seed propagation in years to come.
Josh Roberts, FLS Innovation Manager, said;
“One of the responses we had to last year’s CivTech Challenge – to make better use of Scotland’s tree seed supply – was for a system of mechanically sowing seeds in special pods - like little cells joined in a continuous ribbon of tape.
“Recent field trials allowed a team of three (one tractor driver and the two people feeding the tapes in to the machine) to plant 150,000 trees in an hour. This is in stark contrast to the old technology, which was the industry standard for decades, that would allow a team of seven to only plant 60,000 trees in one day!
“The recent trial saw 400,000 seedlings planted in total but we’re planning another in September that will see 4,000,000 planted.
“This new technological approach is a great leap forward in itself. There is however even more potential waiting to be tapped when we combine it with other products that were developed in last year’s CivTech Challenge such as moisture retaining seed coating and seed priming technologies. These other products could be combined with the mechanisation aspect of TreeTape to bring about a real step change in our ability to germinate seed and grow greater numbers of young trees."
As well as being of benefit to FLS, some private sector nurseries are already registering their interest in the solutions that FLS has developed through CivTech in partnership with the product developers.
The FLS team at Newton Nursery , near Elgin, will be monitoring closely how well the saplings planted with TreeTape grow over the next year.
Notes to editors
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.