The volume of machine and autumn planting increased in state forests 12.10

This year, 23.7 million plants are being planted in state forests, two million of which are planted by hand in autumn. 850,000 plants have been machine planted throughout the growing season.

Until now, RMK has planted a million spruce trees every autumn. This year, they will plant two million trees: about 1.1 million spruces, 800,000 pines and 100,000 birches.

There were 20.96 million trees planted in the spring, 9.8 million of which were pines, 8.7 million spruces, 2.1 million birches and 317,000 alders.

“This year, we started planting later than usual due to the cold and late spring,” said Toomas Väät, Head of the RMK Silviculture Division. “Various crises also made it more difficult to find forestry workers. Thankfully, we still managed to plant the trees with the help of our cooperation partners, even though the spring season stretched longer than usual. I am immensely grateful to all the foresters and cooperation partners who were able to adapt to the changing situation. I would also like to thank the horticulturists – the spruces, pines and birches that make its way to the forests always meet our foresters’ expectations.”

There are currently six planting machines working in state forests to help plant a record number of plants this year. The machines work throughout the whole growing season from April to November and plant approximately 850,000 plants. They mainly plant spruce trees (580,000) but recently, they have also been planting more pine trees (270,000).

The planting machine can plant turf and a potted plant in a single motion. Photo: RMK

“There is another important change this year,” Väät explained. “Before planting, RMK uses a repellent that consists of sheep fat to keep hoofed animals from damaging the plants. This helps to save time, money and manpower. In comparison with last year, we have doubled the area where we use the repellent. In young forests, we spray plants with the repellent every year.”

RMK’s silviculture analysis indicates that if a major drought were to occur in the spring, the trees planted in autumn would be better equipped to combat drought in certain places. Additionally, autumn planting helps to mitigate the large spring workload in high planting density areas and simplifies plant maintenance. However, autumn planting brings along the risk of frost heaving, which is why spruces can only be planted in mineral soil.

Additionally, RMK has afforested areas that have never had forests before – low-value grasslands, quarries and shrubberies. As of October 2022, about 300 hectares of such areas have been afforested this year.

Contracts have been signed with more than 120 companies to carry out planting work. In spring, more than 1700 planters were working in the forest each day.

RMK is investing 22.7 million euros into silviculture, 11.7 million of which is spent on preparing soil for planting and the cost of plants. The remaining 11 million euros is used to maintain young forests.

Further information:
Toomas Väät
Head of RMK Silviculture Division
+372 520 5734