Where do trees come from? 

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Tree planting is always top of mind when it comes to environmental activities, but do you know where trees come from?

Seedlings are not magical that they can pop out from thin air —ready to use in forest restoration projects. Months of love and care go into each little seedling before they become ready to be set into the ground and grow into the fullness of their potential.

Their journey starts from either seeds collected from the wild or sprouted seedlings from mother trees (trivia: Seedlings collected from the wild are also called wildlings!). It is important for mother trees to be healthy specimens so that its children will have a greater chance of surviving into maturity.

Seedlings are potted and bagged in the nursery where they are frequently watered and shaded to emulate conditions of the forest floor. Soil mixed with organic material such as rice hull and vermicast (or the organic matter produced by earthworms) are used to promote nutrient absorption and proper soil consistency.


When a seedling first gets bagged, its leaves are also cut up to 3/4 of its total area to reduce the risk of dehydration while its root system adapts to the new soil environment. Weeds are continually removed and the area closed off to avoid grazing from wildlife.

After around 3-4 months, a bit of tough love is introduced and seedlings are then weaned off from the nursery conditions by gradually reducing their watering and exposing them to more sunlight. This ensures that the remaining stock are strong enough to survive the rigors of transport to the restoration site and being planted into its final home. Seedlings are maintained until around six months or until they reach plantable height (for slower growing species).

Sadly, not all seedlings survive to make it out of the nursery. It is through the diligent care of volunteers and nursery staff that ensures that a steady and healthy supply of seedlings are made ready to become our future trees.

Learn more about nurturing Native Tree Seedlings through Haribon Foundation’s Buhay Punlaan Native Tree Nursery (located in Lumban, Laguna near Lake Caliraya). Also join Buhay Punlaan and get your hands dirty for Mother Nature!

For group arrangements, contact partnerships@haribon.org.ph with half-day sessions starting at P 20,000.

Joseph Riel Senga

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