Mechanical planting brings good results

(UPM, Valkeakoski, Finland, 2 June 2009) – UPM is making increased use of mechanical planting of tree seedlings. Mechanical planting improves productivity and planting quality in forest regeneration. In addition, it frees professional forestry workers to perform the tasks best suited for them, especially tending of seedling stands.

“A planting machine performs two tasks, soil preparation and planting, simultaneously. When the site has been selected correctly, careful mechanical planting ensures good and consistent planting quality. The machine places the seedling in the correct location at the mound, in a freshly prepared spot. As a result, the seedling grows more quickly right from the start, since it does not have to compete with hay and coppice,” explains Mr Jyri Schildt, Manager Forest Management at UPM Forest.

Mechanical planting is most suitable for spruce seedlings. A planting machine is most useful in forestry work when used in combination with the harvesting of energy wood – logging residue and stump removal – especially in areas that are rich in fertile mineral soils. By contrast, peatland soils, marshy mineral soils, and very rocky areas are less suitable for mechanical planting.

It is easier to mechanise tree planting than the tending of seedling stands. Approximately half of Finland’s spruce planting could be done mechanically. Currently only a few per cent of the seedlings in privately owned forests are planted mechanically. In UPM’s forests, however, mechanical planting is already in use for 25% of spruce plantings.

In May, UPM held a training session in Iisalmi, Finland, for companies and machine drivers who are involved in mechanical planting. The session, the first of its kind in Finland, was arranged in collaboration with the Finnish Forest Research Institute’s Suonenjoki Research Unit. The machine drivers were informed particularly about quality requirements, proper handling of seedlings, and factors affecting the productivity of planting.

Mechanical planting has been under development for several years. The first machines for this purpose in Finland and Sweden were built in the early 1980s. They were large and expensive devices intended for special purposes. The 1990s saw development wherein an ordinary excavator was used as a platform to which the planting device could be attached as an accessory. UPM is a pioneer in mechanical planting of trees – the company has been using excavator-based planting machines for 15 years now.

UPM is committed to continuous development of its forestry, especially forest regeneration, seedling stand tending, and thinning of young forests. The goal is to improve the economy and productivity of the entire forestry chain. UPM applies the latest knowledge and best practices in forestry in their forests and nursery. The UPM nursery in Joroinen, Finland, grows seedlings that are suitable for mechanical planting in various phases in the growing season. This enables the timeframe for mechanical planting to span from early May to late September in southern Finland.

In addition to their own forests, UPM also takes care of the forests of their forest service agreement customers. To serve the needs of both, the UPM nursery produces healthy, high-quality seedlings that are suitable for the particular area in which they will be planted. All seedlings are of Finnish origin.

For further information, please contact:
Mr Jyri Schildt, Manager, Forest Management, UPM Forest, tel. +358 20 416 4657

UPM Forest
UPM Forest is responsible for wood sourcing for UPM’s mills in Finland, and for company’s own forests covering 915,000 hectares in total out of which nearly 800,000 hectares are in commercial use. Most of the wood consumed by the mills is sourced from Finnish privately owned forests. UPM Forest completes more than 30,000 wood procurement transactions each year, while offering a broad range of forest services for the forest owners. The forest service agreement includes an individually tailored range of forest services, ranging from wood procurement to forest and forest nature management and forest asset management. UPM has in Finland more than 13,000 forest service agreement customers. UPM Forest has approximately 600 salaried employees.