The story of a spruce plant

The story of a spruce plant

Once upon a time, there was a machine demo that ended up in a lively discussion about ground preparation for plants. Which is the best? Trenching or mounding? The essential question, in this case, was in what condition a mound should be to be a good planting spot. The machine that was demonstrated at the time, was a mounder. The discussion was mainly between the mounder manufacturer, Bracke Forest’s, CEO, and a representative of the forest owners’ association Södra.

The story of a spruce plant

The discussion occurred over one of the mounds and the question was: Was this particular mound good enough to host a plant and make it grow into a tree? The question occurred because some branches were under the inverted turf and the critics, the Södra-people, claimed that it would cause the plant’s roots to dry out.

The Bracke Forest representatives (of which I was one at the time), claimed that it should be no problem. “An inverted turf never dries out as the humus layer under the turf act as a fertilizer. As the turf is inverted, the sun can’t reach it, so …”

The voice (noise-) level of the participants got higher, and it seemed as if consensus was far away. Suddenly the Bracke CEO took off and headed for the cars. Everybody, including me, was surprised and thought he was upset and left. But he didn´t. He soon came back with a plant and a planting pipe. He planted the plant on top of the mound in question and said: “I bet you that this plant will survive and grow into a tree.”

The bet was accepted even though the value of the bet never was discussed. I guess it was a question of honor. This happened in April 2016, and as I lived close by, I got the task of keeping an eye on the plant and documenting its progress. The plant even got a name; “Klas-Håkan’s Plant” named after the Bracke CEO.

The story of a spruce plant
The first picture of the famous plant was taken just a few days after it was planted, on the 22nd of April 2016. Here you see the mound that caused the discussion. Will it survive?

The story continues

The summer of 2016 was quite dry in south Sweden where Klas-Håkan’s Plant was planted. I was busy doing other things during the summer and when I heard in August that Södra’s people were watching the plant I got nervous. Did it survive the dry summer?

It was August 2016 before I managed to visit the plant again. It had survived the dry summer and looked sound and healthy. I kept visiting it at least once a year as long as I worked for Bracke Forest.

The story of a spruce plant
Yes, it did survive, as you may have guessed. On the 4th of September 2017, this photo of me and the plant was taken.
The story of a spruce plant
Still alive (but not kickin´) on the 21st of August 2018.
The story of a spruce plant
On the 2nd of September 2019, the plant had reached over 1 meter.

I left Bracke Forest in December 2019. But as I find this interesting, and still live close to the plant, I keep on following it. However, I missed 2020, but in 2021 and 2022 I paid the famous plant a visit. The last time was just a few days ago. The plant is now taller than me and even though it has been grazed by deer, it has good prospects of becoming a big tree.

The story of a spruce plant
One year ago, on the 23rd of March 2021, the plant was almost as tall as me.
The story of a spruce plant
The latest photo was taken on the 10th of March 2022. The plant is taller than me and it´s getting difficult to take selfies with it.

Different ground prep methods

About a year ago, I wrote about the ground preparation methods that we use here in Sweden. It´s often being discussed which method is the best. Most scientists and researchers claim that mounding is the best method. But the most common method, especially in south Sweden, is trenching. As in many other cases of discussion, the truth lies somewhere in between. Different types of soil conditions require different methods. The problem is that most machine owners only have one machine for ground preparation, and in most cases, that’s a trencher as they are more all-around. That is mainly why most sites in south Sweden are trenched for plant preparation.

The site where the above-mentioned plant is planted is interesting as the site next to it was prepared with a trencher. Only a forest road divides the two sites that were planted at the same time in spring 2016. We will have reason to come back to that in later articles. Comparing “research” is always interesting.

Photos: Per Jonsson, Klas-Håkan Ljungberg and Arnold Carlsson

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