What is it?

Eco-sourcing involves harvesting seed from local communities to return the same genetic material back when replanting. This ensures plants are hardy to local conditions and helps to restore and enrich the local plant community rather than replace it.

Eco Sourcing relies on detailed collection and recording procedures for each batch of seed collected. At Southern Woods, we collect seed on sites around the South Island, particularly in Canterbury for many of our local customers. 

The benefits of eco-sourcing are better survival and growth of your plants, as they will be genetically adapted to your environment, and helping to maintain as pure local genetic base as possible.

To ensure you receive plants from your region in large quantities, we recommend ordering 18 months in advance to allow time for seed collection and the growing of the plants.



The Process

Source Identification

Our experienced seed collectors start the collection process from late December to June each year.  We target areas throughout the South Island.  

Once a species list is collated, we start the collection process considering the following:

  • Remoteness from amenity planting so the chance of contamination is minimised.
  • We only select from plants and trees that are robust and healthy.
  • Targets must be true-to-type for that species.
  • Access to a number of similar targets in the area for genetic diversity.
  • Seed viability and ripeness.

Documentation and Record Keeping

Each seed species is given a code at collection time, so that we can track the following:

  • Date of collection.
  • GPS Coordinates of collection site.
  • Seed Collector.
  • What treatment the seed has needed (ie Dry stored, wet stored, or treated with fungicide).

The data sheet follows the batch of seeds from collection through to propagation and installation.  Other information, such as germination trial data, is progressively added.  We place high importance on care and maintenance of data on each batch of seeds.  This information is crucial to the integrity of our eco-sourced plants. 

After collection, the seeds are stored in our custom-built seed room, which keeps them at a constant temperature.  Some species are sprayed with insecticide, and are then placed into storage containers. The seeds are then germinated to meet customer and nursery demand. Where feasible, we store seed for the following years in case of bad germination seasons.

For any questions on the Eco-Sourcing process, talk to our production team today