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Mechanical planting gets good marks
The Finnish Forest Research Institute has tested the Bracke P11.a Planter.

Both contractors and researchers are very pleased with the product and the report also draws the conclusion that "... mounding is the only real scarification method when planting spruce." A summary of the report is given below.

Mechanical planting gets good marks
Mechanical planting is increasing year after year. The Bracke planting machine is the most common, and in Finland twenty Bracke Planters are in operation this summer. Finnish researchers give very good marks to Bracke.

Bracke does very good planting work, and this has been demonstrated by both Finnish and Swedish researchers. The Finnish Forest Research Institute has followed up the results from several renewal areas that have been planted with Bracke. Four years after the planting, 88 per cent of the plants were flourishing. A similar survey carried out by SkogForsk (the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden) showed about the same plant survival, or an average of eight per cent.

Pine weevils and bark beetles are the main reason for plant spoilage on the trial areas in Finland, while poor mechanical planting was only the reason for plant spoilage on two of the sixty nine trial areas. The trial areas were on fertile and fresh sandy soils and the main objective was to plant spruce.

The Bracke planter makes a good mound where the plant is put into the ground, a so-called inverted turf-planting or ridge method. In the trials the mounds were on average 17 centimetres high, measured from the undisturbed ground surface. The plants were also planted sufficiently deep.

The results from manual planting were a lot worse. A survey by the forest research institute to investigate plant survival on renewal areas planted with spruce shows that only 59 per cent of the areas had an adequate number of plants three years after the planting. The reason for the plant spoilage was the wrong scarification method, or no scarification at all. Harrowing is not a suitable scarification method for spruce planting, and researchers are quite adamant that mounding is the only real scarification method when planting spruce.

Text: Gerd Mattsson-Turku
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