Our West Manjimup Nursery has just completed its annual treatment of its pine (Pinus radiata) seed orchard using science that has proven to increase overall pine seed productivity.
To improve the seed yield from our pine trees, an application of the plant hormone gibberellic acid (GA4/7) is injected into the base of young pine trees to promote floral growth development.
Based on trials conducted in 2009, the application of gibberellic acid increased flower production by 27 per cent and therefore improved the overall seed productivity of the orchard.
The pine is injected once a year during February and March, and the effects of the treatment take effect in July when the trees begin flowering.
The following year the fertilised flowers develop into immature conelets and take only one more year to develop into a mature cone ready for harvesting.
The seeds are harvested from May to June and dried in a process called curing for a further seven to eight months before being extracted from the cones using a heated kiln.
After further processing, the seed is stored in a cool room and then tested for viability at our laboratory to ensure that the best quality seed is sown.
The pine seeds harvested this year will be planted to repopulate fire affected plantations in the McLarty area and also planted commercially as part of the Commission's recent Softwood Industry Strategy.