Nursery Establishment

The nursery is where young plants are raised and taken care of until they reach the right size for outplanting. It also provides enough supply when the need arises which is more economical than procuring them from commercial sources. The production of planting materials requires a nursery to protect them from natural destructive elements such as typhoons, floods, or droughts. It also protects the seedlings from roaming animals and insect pests to ensure their safety and quality.

Nursery establishment

Site Selection

The following are the factors in selecting an ideal nursery site:

  • Water should be available throughout the year
  • Area should be large enough to accommodate the required seedlings and facilities
  • Area could be flat or slightly inclined to allow sufficient drainage
  • Area must be accessible or close to the road
  • Area must have good soil condition, i.e. dry sandy loam or loam, topsoil of about 30 cm, with 5.5 to 6.5 pH and high quantity of organic matter
  • Area must have good exposure to sunlight
  • Area must be protected from strong winds with temporary windbreakers using local materials. For permanent windbreakers, establish a green belt (trees that can withstand strong winds) around the nursery.
  • For forest plantations, the area should be near the planting site to minimize damage to seedlings and transport cost.

Site Preparation

Site Preparation After a suitable nursery site is selected, remove stones, rocks, stumps and roots, and all undesirable vegetation. If it is sloping, construct bench terraces following the contour. Use soil covered with grasses or dry stones (riprap) as terrace walls. Hollow blocks may be used in exceptional cases.

Construction of nursery infrastructure and facilities

Usually, 40% of the total nursery area is allotted for infrastructure and facilities, including pathways, road networks, buildings, and sheds. The remaining 60% is for the nursery beds.

  • Seedbeds/germination beds are one (1) meter wide with about 0.6 meter pathway between them.
  • Potbeds are one (1) meter wide and from 5 to 10 meters long, with one (1) meter-wide pathway to make weeding, manual watering, and transporting seedlings easier. Elevated beds are recommended in areas that are flooded easily.
  • Germination shed is an enclosed structure for protection and with windows for adequate ventilation, and waist-high benches for germination trays.
  • Potting shed is an open-sided structure for mixing, storing of potting materials, and filling of plastic bags and other containers.

Construction of nursery infrastructure and facilities

  • Water storage and pumps are necessary to ensure all year-round supply of water.
  • Composting area is set aside to dump daily organic waste which can later be used as an economical natural fertilizer. A practical compost area size is 1 x 1.5 x 4 meters made of hollow block with removal boards in front.
  • Fences and windbreaks are built to keep animals away and protect seedlings from strong winds.
  • Road network is wide enough for vehicles to transport planting materials.
  • Nursery bunkhouses are necessary to house nursery workers, and to store tools and other materials.

Building and similar structures should be constructed at the center of the nursery to facilitate supervision and reduce working and transport distances. The center should also be accessible by cars/trucks.

Given the management procedures and appropriate technologies cited in this handbook, it can be said that the success of producing planting materials for the Green Philippines Program also lies in the effective collaboration and partnership among stakeholders who share the common vision to sustainably manage our forest resources.