The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of planting timing on early survival and growth of lodgepole pine and white spruce across a range of site conditions and years of initiation. For each of white spruce and lodgepole pine, six study plots have been established annually from 2020-2023 with measurements taking place after one and three growing seasons. At the conclusion of this trial in 2025, we aim to provide quantitative guidance on the relative risks of planting conifer 1+0 frozen container stock progressively later and beyond a typical spring planting program, which typically ends by about June 10th.
This presentation will share ongoing results from this trial, focusing on year 3 growth and survival of the installations established in spring 2020 and 2021. The most important finding observed thus far is a consistent growth and survival reduction associated with late June planting in both species. Even mid-June planting appears to carry some risk, though the effect may be more site-specific and driven by the climatic factors of the year. While these results should be considered preliminary, this study does provide quantitative evidence that keeping spring seedlings planted squarely into truly spring conditions will lead to higher short-term survival and growth outcomes.
Dr. Amanda Schoonmaker is an NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Boreal Reclamation and Reforestation at NAIT’s Centre for Boreal Research (CBR). Amanda has a field-based, eco-physiological plant background with more than 15 years of field research experience. Since joining NAIT in 2011, she has been working on applied research projects in forest land reclamation and post-harvest reforestation. Amanda and her team have secured funding for over 13 federal and provincial grants and partnered with 17 companies and industry associations to support applied research projects at CBR; she has supervised and mentored 59 student research assistants from colleges and universities across Canada since 2012.