Obtaining Seedlings in Today’s World

by CentCoastAdmin on February 21, 2013

We in the Central Coast region of California are fortunate to be harvesting primarily redwoods, since they resprout readily from the stump of the harvested tree, providing us with our next generation.  Sometime, though, we need to plant where there are currently no trees, or we may want to plant some tree other than a redwood.  With all of the state nurseries now closed, what is a forest manager to do?

The state nurseries may be gone, but the Seed Bank remains.  The large industrial forests are managing their own needs, but small landowners don’t have the same resources, so a consortium of government agencies including CalFIRE, NRCS, the US Forest Service, the Placer County Resource Conservation District and UC Cooperative Extension has formed to explore ways for small landowners to contract with private nurseries to grow seedlings for the restoration projects.

Try contacting your forester first if you need seedlings; he may have a source identified that he uses for all of his clients.  If that fails, you may have to contract with a nursery directly.  You will be essentially starting from seed, so it pays to time your request correctly and have all your data ready ahead of time.

It takes 12 to 18 months to grow seedlings and you will have your best success planting then in the winter dormant period.  Expect to place your order by early November of the year before you need the seedlings.  To order the correct seeds, you must know

  • Your seed zone (the Central Coast Redwood zone is 097, but check the map at http://frap.cdf.ca.gov/data/frapgismaps/select.asp to make sure your location is within its boundaries)
  • Your elevation
  • The species you want to plant
  • How many seedlings you need
  • When you need them

Further on contracting with private nurseries can be obtained by contacting your local NRCS staff, CalFIRE Forestry Assisstance Specialist, the Forest Stewardship Help Line (800-738-8733) orTeri Griffis at the State Seed Bank (530-753-2441).

See http://ceres.ca.gov/foreststeward/pdf/news-winter2013.pdf for further details.

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