Portland, OR – February 28, 2019 – Hampton Lumber will plant around 1.5 million seedlings across NW Oregon and SW Washington this winter, which is planting season for Northwest forests. Each seedling will be planted by hand by skilled local reforestation crews.
The number of seedlings planted this year is typical for Hampton, which manages 140,000 acres of forestland in Oregon and Washington to help supply its seven U.S. sawmills. Hampton sources seedlings from a variety of Pacific Northwest nurseries and hires reforestation companies to get the trees in the ground quickly and safely. A skilled 10-person planting crew can plant up to 12,000 seedlings per day.
Replanting is basic common sense if you’re in the wood products business but in Oregon and Washington all forestland owners are required by law to replant within two years of harvest to speed up reforestation. There are also “Free to Grow” laws in each state that require newly planted seedlings reach a certain height within a few years of planting, which means landowners are responsible for tending to their new forest in its early years and ensuring that young trees thrive.
Hampton foresters plant mixtures of Douglas fir, Western hemlock, Noble fir, and Western red cedar depending on elevation and soil condition. In 40-60 years, all of the trees planted this year will be processed at one of Hampton’s sawmills with the exception of the Western red cedar, which is sent to regional mills that specialize in cedar products.
While Hampton’s forestlands are an important part of what keeps the company’s sawmills operating, harvests from these forests represent a small percentage of the company’s total log supply. Public lands account for about a quarter of sawmill supply while other private forestland owners, large and small account for around 60 percent of local lumber production in an average year.