Mechanization of Open Ground Seedling Production
Robert J. Appleton
Appletons' Tree Nursery grows a range of 350 species of deciduous trees and conifers. Production consists of two million, one-and two-year-old seedlings grown in open-ground raised seedbeds. Climatic conditions are very favourable for seedling growth with a long growing season and defined winter dormancy period. The soil is less ideal being a silt clay loam over compacted clay which results in poor drainage during heavy periods of rain.
We practice a fixed seed bed production system. Once a seed bed is established, all subsequent operations are carried out from the tractor alleyways and after a crop is lifted the seed bed is ripped and reformed. A fixed bed production system allows for improvement of the seed bed soil structure without the soil compacted by the tractor tyres being incorporated into the seed bed. This method of seed bed management has led to an improvement in soil structure over a 15 year period. Past practice was one of complete cultivation which
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