When we think about indoor and greenhouse growing, food crops, plants, and flowers come to mind – but there’s an entire industry of forest management that relies on indoor growing to meet their needs, as well – tree seedlings. Many countries, Canada included, are looking for ways to manage their forestry initiatives in ways that meet industrial objectives, while remaining ecologically sustainable for future generations. Tree Canada, for example, has planted 83 million trees in Canada since its inception in 1992. Recently, they have planted nearly 40,000 White Spruce trees near Preeceville, Saskatchewan, where the seedlings all got their start in their local indoor nursery, before being transported to the planting site where they are hand planted and monitored by the program.

Tree Canada’s important work continues to aid ongoing reforestation projects in Canada through the “Grow Clean Air” program. This program allows individuals and organizations to offset their carbon emissions through the calculation of carbon emissions, and subsequent planting of native trees in Canada.

With so many initiatives to help with reforestation projects, across Canada and the world, there’s a lot of strategy that goes into forestry planning initiatives – from location, to type of tree, to spacing and soil, it’s an incredibly involved process. Enter Silviculture – the intersection of art and science to facilitate planning and regulating the growth, health, composition, and quality of forests to meet the diverse needs and values of forestry industries. Silviculture in Canada can aid afforestation – planting a forest in an area where no forestation existed before – or the reforestation of previously existing forest that has been cut down for industrial resources. This important cornerstone in ecological sustainability relies on the rapid and healthy growth of tree seedlings to help meet these ambitious forestation goals. Let’s take a look at how LED lights and climate controlled technologies are contributing to this burgeoning industry.

Growing tree seedlings in indoor environments, under agricultural LEDs, can lengthen the “natural photoperiod (of seedlings) in the spring,” helping to prevent the “premature cessation of height and bid formation.” These practices help enable growers to efficiently produce tree seedlings year round, while maximizing the production, health, and quality of the seedling. While we’re familiar with tree seedlings planted and growing in outdoor environments, growers have come to realize the benefits of indoor climate controlled environments and LED lights for these crops.

In fact, Senior Scientist Johanna Riikonen, at the Natural Resources Institute in Finland, commented on LED spectrum for seedlings by stating that “increasing the proportion of blue radiation, the height growth of seedlings can be regulated…and by decreasing the amount of far-red radiation, the ability of seedlings to withstand dryness can be improved.” Because LED lights create less heat than traditional HPS lights, the peat remains cooler, allowing the natural development of lichen and algae, as well. Overall, LEDs are provisioning scientists and growers with the technology needed to significantly advance the quality and health of their seedlings, influence their tolerance for drought, and increase the seedling height. This could make for more robust seedlings, helping them withstand dry spells and the natural elements once transferred to the planting site.

Closer to home, Woodmere Nursery, with locations in both Alberta and Ontario, is a leader in silviculture seedling production in Canada, with a combined capacity of up to 12 million seedlings across their two facilities. Woodmere Nursery has invested in LED and automation technology to optimise their grow, and they have been seeing great results. They’ve also recently started growing balsam fir tree seedlings in their greenhouses, as balsam fir is highly adaptable to environmental conditions, making it an ideal candidate to withstand changing outdoor conditions, with a heartier tree seedling.

LED and automation technology are changing the way forestation experts produce their young tree seedlings, and allowing growers to produce healthier, more robust plants. This will help maximize their ability to navigate ever changing climate conditions, and ensure the best chance of success for both the seedlings and reforestation efforts.

If you’d like to learn more about automation technology for your indoor grow, or LED lights that will optimise your output, reach out to us today for a free consultation. Call us at 1-833-GLD-LEAF or email at info@goldleaftech.com.