Christie-Elite produce over 8 million trees from seed each year including a wide range of native broadleaves, hedging species and commercial conifers.
- Native seed is collected every year from a variety of locations (or provenance zones), throughout the UK.
- To produce a bare-root plant, stratified seed is sown into prepared outdoor beds. To encourage development of a healthy, fibrous, root system the seedlings are undercut (trimming roots with a blade beneath the soil), wrenched, or transplanted during their development, which can take up to three years.
- Once the plants are ready for sale they are lifted and shaken by specialised machine. The trees then undergo rigorous grading for quality and size, before being transferred to our cold store for dispatch to our customers.
- Bare-root stock can only be lifted and planted whilst it is in a state of dormancy (during the winter) so these plants are only available during the winter season from October to April each year.
Christie-Elite produce around two million cell grown plants for sale each year.
- Cell-grown trees differ from bare-root in that they have a fully developed root system, contained within a compost plug, or cell.
- Cell-grown stock can be planted throughout the year and because the root system remains complete, cell-grown trees are able to establish rapidly once planted out.
- The production process begins with stratified seed, which is mechanically sown into trays of compost cells in the polytunnel. The cells are then placed above the ground on racks.
- Air circulating below the cells naturally 'prunes' the roots encouraging fibre development and ensuring the root system remains within the plug.
- Cell-grown trees typically take between one and two years to develop.
- Due to the fact that trees can be produced in smaller batches, a wider range of species is available in cells than can be offered in bare-root.