Planting and Stand Tending 2021
Planting has started April 28th 2021! The VCF has allocated area for five hundred trees, Spruce, Pine, Cedar, Larch and Fir. The contractor is Integrity Contracting. On start up there are 8 planters and one foreman.
The first blocks that are snow free are the Wildfire Preparedness blocks these will be planted first while they are still have cool and moist soils. Parts of these blocks had deciduous species such as Birch planted last year, Aspen will be planted on parts of the area as well.
On the weekend mechanical stand tending started over areas on 2 blocks to target Birch, in order that the Block can reach the Free Growing standards.
Planting and Stand Tending 2020
During concerns for the Covid pandemic and the contractor Seth’s Integrity Contracting from Dunster is following their BCFSCExposure Control Plan.
A small contractor’s crew of five have started manual stand tending to target the Aspen, Cottonwood and Birch to prepare for the Free Growing surveys. This group of people target the deciduous species that are encroaching and over-topping the space required by the conifer.
A small crew of 8 to 12 planters have also started.The VCF is expected to plant 320,000 seedlings in a mixed species of Lodgepole Pine, Douglas Fir, Hybrid Spruce and Western Larch.
Snow and ice is still in some of the higher elevation blocks but are expected to be ready to plant near the end of May 2020
In the past two planting seasons the VCF planted close to 770,000 seedlings on 550 hectares. Seth’s Integrity Contracting from Dunster usually hires a crew of 10 to 15 people which includes local planters. They planted about 60% Spruce, 30% Pine and 10% to Fir and Cedar in 2017 and 2018.
The spring planting starts in the beginning of May when the lowest elevation harvested blocks are clear of snow and frost. The summer season sees the planting activity move higher in elevation as blocks become snow and frost free. The planting program usually ends by mid-July.
The greatest challenges each year are keeping the trees cool when the weather becomes very hot. The VCF has noted some of the blocks planted during the hottest days of 2018 experienced a greater than usual mortality.
Occasionally, when access is poor, the VCF hires Yellowhead Helicopters to fly the seedlings into the block. When using helicopters, total weight is calculated which includes the seedling boxes and planting gear. These items are put into numerous slings. One sling at a time is hooked underneath a hovering helicopter and its load is dropped into preplanned GPS locations on the block. The planters are waiting in position to receive their days worth of work. This type of planting takes careful pre-planning, timing and safety measures.