A bumper crop of karri seeds, Eucalyptus diversicolor, is keeping staff from the FPC’s West Manjimup Nursery and Seed Centre busy in the southern native forest areas of Treen Brook and Big Brook.
Nursery Operations Manager Carlo Renzullo said staff have been following logging activities for the past few weeks in order to harvest seed capsules from fallen karri trees.
“These capsules will rebuild seed stocks that have dropped perilously close to depletion due to several years of low seed yield,” Carlo said.
Harvesting coupes are evaluated for seed yield and contractors are informed of scheduled seed collecting activities to ensure safe operations during falling.
“A crew of six to eight people harvest an average of six kilograms of seed and chaff per day, which is the equivalent of around 300,000 seeds.”
“Usually there is one viable seed for every two capsules but recent collections have produced two to three per capsule, making this one of the highest yielding crops produced since 2006.”
Carlo said the karri capsules are dried in a hothouse to release the seed and chaff.
“Once isolated, the seed is tested for viability at the nursery’s laboratory to measure germination rate and uniformity.”
Suitable seeds are stored in a cool room at one to three degrees Celsius, where they can survive for up to 30 years.
Approximately one million karri seeds are sown in the nursery each year. The remaining seed stock ensures that karri trees can still be planted in times of low seed yield.