Trials to demonstrate superior growth of containerised tree stocks

As well as readying itself to commence packaging and delivery of its containerised tree stocks to customers across New Zealand for planting out this winter, PF Olsen Nursery is also establishing a series of field trials on a range of selected sites. The objective of these field trials is two-fold.

Firstly, it is to provide independent quantification of the superior growth performance of containerised tree stocks. To assist with this, Scion has been commissioned to assist with trial design, data analysis and reporting of the trials.

The second objective is to allow forest owners to observe first-hand how PF Olsen containerised tree stocks perform on their own sites.

The response to the trials has been very positive, and five trials are being set up in the coming month across a range of different sites, including sites with sand and clay soils and sites with compacted soil which are usually difficult to establish using bare-root tree stocks.

Container vs Bare Root
Containerised tree stock next to bare rooted specimen. The intact, undamaged and moist root system give containerised tree stocks a head start after planting out

Despite containerised tree stocks being the norm in most places around the rest of the world, New Zealand has maintained a preference for bare-root stock.

Dawn Lewis"We think this is more about resistance to change rather than an objective evaluation of the costs and benefits of containerised tree stocks", points out Dawn Lewis, Sales Manager for PF Olsen Nursery. "Some containerised tree stock growers have struggled to produce really thrifty and vigorous trees and buyers have tended to prefer bare-root stock. At PF Olsen Nursery, we have invested in producing super-vigorous tree stocks that leave with a "packed lunch" in the form of in-tact fine roots in a nutrient laden growth medium. Result – high resistance to planting shock, longer planting window, lower mortality rate, early occupation of the site and subsequent superior growth."

For more information on PF Olsen Nursery's containerised tree stocks click here. The other benefit of containerised tree stocks is the ability to inoculate the roots with beneficial endophytes (fungi that lives inside plant tissue). These assist with tree growth and disease resistance. Dawn likes to add that not only do the tree stocks leave the nursery with a "packed lunch", they also have a "first aid kit" with the inoculated roots. For more information on the benefits of endophytes click here.

Planting in the field
A containerised tree stock coming out of its box for planting out. This is the same box it was packed into at the nursery, minimising handling which can cause damage and drying of roots.