Training of Youths and Doboo Joint Forest Park Management Committees Members on Basic Nursery Management Techniques

October 18, 2021


Training Report

VENUE: Scheh Taal Village (Central Badibou District, NBR)

10TH -13TH September, 2021.

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Prepared by 

Pierre R. Colley 

Programme Guide




Day One

Introduction(project goals and objectives)

4H project manager

Training introduction proper

General knowledge on nursery management and why nursery management in reference to the Doboo JFPM.

Trainer and participants

What is a nursery and nursery management


The objective of forest nursery

Type of nursery (1. Temporal and Permanent nurseries)

Nursery site selection

Factors to consider when selecting the nursery site

Preparation of the nursery site

Day two

Practical exercise on:-

Site selection

Bed layout

Soil selection and collection

Sieving and mixing with decomposable materials

Poly put filling 



Nursery Propagation


Seeds and Seed collection

Seed viability test and seed treatment

Filling of poly bags and alternative bags


Day Three

Recap of days one and two


Nursery work plan


Daily Activity calendar

Out planting  

Closure of training session

Project manager/ forest staffs and committee members


This report contains the basic nursery management techniques topics that were deliberated and discussed with the participants there present. This is in fulfillment of 4H planned of activities to be implemented in collaboration with the regional forestry office on the project to restore Doboo forest park and its surroundings enhancing active youth participation and involvement.

This training activity was carried out from 10th to 14th September 2021 under 4H Restoring Doboo forest park project in the north bank region of The Gambia.

30 participants from the eight partner communities managing the Doboo Joint Forest Park, mostly youths attended the nursery management training.

The content of this training exercise is highlighted as discussed below.


The aim and objective of this project are to ensure that Doboo forest park is restored, by creating effective forest management techniques, in the area of fencing, borehole establishment, and a standard nursery to support the tree and regeneration growth of trees for both the managing committees, the people of central badidou and the Gambia at large.

However, this project is also out to enhance the full community participation in the management of the Doboo joint forest park.

Objectives of the training 

The objective of the basic nursery management training is to make preparation of the youths and joint forest park management committees on how to prepare and take care of a well established nursery especially the one to be established within the park, to ensure adequate  and ready seedlings production and supply , for timely out planting within the park and as a means of income generating activity for individuals trading in the green business market, helping to combat climate change nationwide particularly the degraded badibus


Nursery is a place where seedlings are raised, taken care of, and be prepared for planting out in the field as the required sizes and ages are met.


Nursery management can simply be defined as the art and techniques of planning and implementing a suitable raising ground(nursery) in order to fulfill the desired objectives of the owner.


The main objectives of a forest nursery are the following:-

  • Providing the forestry department with well-acclimatized plants for afforestation and reforestation works,
  • To minimize the transportation cost of seedlings,
  • To avoid injury to seedlings/plants during transportation,
  • To provide employment to people at village level,
  • To generate income for forestry department, communities and individuals from the sales of seedlings,
  • Providing the local communities, schools, organizations etc. with seedlings during the planting season and in national tree planting days,
  • To provide seedlings of the indigenous tree species that are almost extinct or very rare.


There are two main types of a nursery namely:-

  1. Temporal nursery and 
  2. permanent nursery   


TEMPORAL NURSERY: This is the type of nursery that is established to provide a limited number of seedlings to a short forestation or reforestation project for a few planting seasons. It is normally situated at or close to the planting site

PERMANENT NURSERY: This type of nurseries are established where the demand for a large number of seedlings is likely to continue for a long period of time. Generally, an annual production exceeding 0.5 to 1 million seedlings is ideal.


A nursery site must be well located, but with the realization that a perfect site does not exist, the choice of the nursery site will require a compromise. However careful attention to the selection of a permanent nursery site is necessary because it will repay all the effort expended.


The following factors should be looked into when selecting a site for nursery management:-

  1. Location,
  2. Site accessibility,
  3. Ground configuration,
  4. Local climate,
  5. Water supply,
  6. Availability of soil for potting mixtures,
  7. Labor and supervision &
  8. Consideration for future expansion 

PREPARATION OF THE NURSERY SITE: this portion of nursery management comes after the site is been identified that have qualify all the factors to be considered as can be seen above. In this session we will look at the following:

  1. The nursery layout,
  2. Fencing of the nursery,
  3. Internal road network;
  4. Seed beds,
  5. Paths and
  6. Water supply.

I. THE NURSERY LAYOUT: - It is thus advisable to set out on a plan all the permanent features of the nursery such as the nursery managers’ stores, source of water supply, fence, roads and paths etc. To simplify planning, supervision and stock taking, the available area should be divided into small blocks of 0.1 ha to 0.9 ha each of a rectangular shape is recommended.

II. FENCING OF THE NURSERY:-under most circumstances fencing is one of the most important conditions required for the protection of the seedlings against damages coursed by human and animals mainly.

III. INTERNAL ROAD NETWORK: - for a well mechanized nursery site a permanent gravel or asphalt roads of 3.5m to 4m wide should be planned and should be supplemented by earth roads. The main road should run from the nearby high way through the main gate passing through most of the permanent features within the site.

IV. SEED BEDS / NURSERY BEDS: - the nursery bed is a feature constructed for the raising of plants. In fact it is the place where seeds are sown to provide a large amount of seedlings as bare rooted seedlings at the time of planting. Seed bed on the other hand is the place where seeds are excessively sown without regards to spacing of any kind. This way the seeds will germinate and then later be transplanted into poly pots or in beds. The size of nursery beds ranges from 1m - 1.5m by 2m to 1 – 1.5 meters by 10m depending on the area of the site and the amount of plants to be raised.

V. PATHS: - these are narrow strips found around beds separating them from their four sides placed at convenient distances. Paths are commonly 45cm -50cm wide and its main purpose is for easy access to every part of each bed and for easy circulation of laborers during works.

VI. WATER SUPPLY: - possible water sources for nursery activities discussed briefly.

NURSERY PROPAGATIONS: - the propagation of trees in a nursery could be done two main ways i.e. either by 

  1. Sexual method which involves the use of a ripen ovule called seed or.
  2. Asexual method which involves the use of vegetative parts and stalks of plants. 

SEXUAL METHOD: this is the case where seeds from flowering plants are used
SEED: - is considered as the most important nursery input. Whereas all the conditions are favorable for the successful implementation of a nursery, the in availability of good quality seeds will make it impossible. As stated earlier the seeds should be made available at the time of sowing in the nursery, therefore to acquire the required seeds is also an important step that should be properly planned for. There are two main methods used to ensure that seeds availability is timely and sufficient. These include 

  • Seed collection and
  • Seed purchase

SEED COLLECTION: - this involves the physical picking of seeds from mother trees that are vigorous and dominant in their characters such as stem height, size of the tree bole, canopy size straightness and the quality of the seeds produced

SEED PURCHASE: - this method involves the use of finance to buy seeds from groups and or individuals. It could be expensive and the assurance of having a totally viable seeds may be limited as well since the sellers are after income and might not thoroughly assess the quality of their seeds. 

SEED VIABILITY TEST: The viability of a seed refers to the ability of the seed to germinate and produce quality seedlings. During the time of sowing in the nursery, after seed collection or purchase the seed must be tested first before putting them into the ground. . The most common type of viability test is soaking and winnowing, or the sheave

SEED TREATMENT: prior to the sowing of the seeds in the nursery, certain treatments are required. These treatments are important because they mainly facilitate the germination of the seeds thus seeds germinate faster than which did not undergo any treatment.

Seeds very a lot when it comes to their physical structures such as shape and size, therefore different treatment methods are required. These methods commonly in use includes

  1. Cold water soaking 
  2. Hot water soaking


It is important to note that some seeds are too small to undergo any of these treatments and so they should be sown by massively spreading them over a well porous and fertile soil to germinate excessively and later be transplanted into either Polly pots or beds for the completion of their nursery life.


Perhaps the most important factor in establishing a nursery site is the correct choice of soil for growing the plants. Although the fertility and moisture conditions as well as the micro climate are of great importance to the growth and survival of the plants but can be manipulated by the nursery manager.

It is also of great importance to note that for the production of most plants either that of domestic or forest species that might be raised in beds, a sandy loam i.e. Top soil/ loamy is preferred to clay soil, sandy soil or silt.

FILLING OF POLY BAGS AND ALTERNATIVE POTS: - In polypots or alternative pots:

Once the soil mixture (sand, compost, Neem and wood ash) has been sitting for about two weeks, the pots can be filled.  The soil should be moist, but not wet.  

  • Fill the pot up about half way.
  • Drop the pot on a hard surface a couple of times to settle the soil in the bottom of the pot.
  • Fill the rest of the pot with soil.
  • Press the soil down. Keep filling the pot and a pressing the soil down until the pot is full.
  • Leave a little bit of space at the top to be able to grab the edge of the polypot when moving it.
  • The soil should be compacted enough to have the bag stand strong and solid, without slumping or leaning to one side.
  • The soil in the pot should not leave space for air to touch the growing roots.


The pots should be well watered one to two weeks before seeding.  The soil needs to be thoroughly wet so that it will be less susceptible to drying out.  Watering before sowing will cause a first flush of weed growth to appear.  Removal of these weeds before seed germination will give seedlings a head start.

When the pots are properly filled, a hole should be poked into the centre of the soil.  The depth of the hole should be twice the size of the seed that is being sown.  Place two seeds in the hole of every pot and cover the seeds up to the soil line.

For mangoes and cashews, place only one seed in each pot.  Plant cashew seeds curving down and covered with 2-3cm of soil

SOWING: following the right treatment methods for the various types of seeds, sowing which serve as the first step to the production of the seedlings should be conducted. The ways of sowing the seeds differs greatly depending on mainly the size of the seeds. 

Big and medium size seeds are sown directly in to either beds or Polly pots. This should be done in such a way that the cotyledon will easily burst open to release the young plants. In that the hole into which the seeds are put should be wide enough to contain the seed and should have a depth of at least one and half times the seed length so that at least the seeds are covered with enough soil to avoid damages by insects, other animals and runoff thus enhancing faster germination of the seeds.

Small to minute seeds cannot be sown directly into Polly pots but are instead spread evenly or randomly over a well tilled bed and be covered with a fine humus soil that is well porous and aerated. This will avoid the movement of such seeds by insects such as ants and birds thus enhancing their maximum germination. These seedlings may later either be thinned and leave in the bed to complete their nursery life or are transplanted into Polly bags till when they reach the adequate age and size sought for their planting.


Sowing of big seeds 


Some seeds are too small to be planted in polypots, like Eucalyptus seeds.  For these seeds, only cover the seeds with a small amount of soil.  Eucalyptus seeds are very small and the seedlings are very delicate.  They will not germinate if they are covered with too much soil.  It is very difficult to keep Eucalyptus seedlings alive.  They break very easily when watered.  The pictures below illustrate how to plant and water smallseeds.

Sawing of small seeds e.g. Eucalyptus, stone pine etc.

TRANSPLANTING SHADE – this is an open shade for use when transplanting young small and tender seedlings. This shade will keep the place cool and helps the seedlings on transplant to stay moist while the transplanting is in progress

WATERING OF SEEDBEDS: - the supply of water to provide adequate moisture is one of the most important activity required on a daily bases following the germination of the seedlings.

WEEDING OF SEED BEDS: is the removal of the unwanted vegetation from the useful ones.

THINNING – this is the process whereby seedlings are reduce to the required number pre spot. It is mainly conducted in places where the seeds germinate excessively and at random.

MULCHING –this is an activity that involves the use of organic materials such as grasses, leaves of plants and other vegetative parts of plants to cover the soil around the plants. This is a very important activity especially in places where atmospheric temperature is high may be due to extreme sunshine

COMPOST –this is artificial manure made from a mixture of a series of degradable materials all of which are considered organic. These materials may include vegetative parts of plants, remnants of fruits and vegetables, feces of animals etc. that are placed in a heap or as a pit form. In either of the ways used, the materials are placed layer by layer with the top black top soil containing humus covering each layer.


The following materials are needed for the successful implementation of a nursery site:

Rakes, Spade, Shovel, hand -trowel,

Hand- fork, Measuring tapes, Watering can, Poly bags,

Bucket, Cutlass, Pegs, Mesh wires,

Iron poles, Binding wires, Wheel barrow.

  • Nursery Calendar/Work plan: -

This determine the times of each of the involved activities in tree nursery establishment and management from site selection to out planting which is the last activity of a nursery manager. 


Sept – Nov

Dec – Feb

March – May

June - Aug

Site Preparation

Seed Collection



Out Planting


A nursery manager should keep a daily record of activities, observations and improvements of the nursery and its stocks. This is important because it’s through the records that he or she determines the level of success and development of the various species within the nursery.

Below shows an example of a daily calendar to be kept by every nursery manager: 







Date Of

First Germination

Height After One Month


After One Month




Out Planting

Preparation of Seedlings:

From Pots: The day of out planting, remove a few of the lower leaves from the seedling. Loosen the soil in the poly pot, by rolling the pot between the two hands before removing the seedling. Turn the tree upside down and remove the poly pot from the tree, not the tree from the polypot.

Carefully removing the seedling so as not to damage the poly pot is advisable so that it can be use again. However, if removing the polypot is too difficult, it should be cut off. 

Preparing the out planting Hole

As the rains approach, make plans to prepare the site for the trees. it is usually best to wait for, to out plant until the rains are consistent and the soil has received several heavy storms.

Seedlings are ready to transplant when they have 5cm – 75cm top growth. When digging the out planting hole, make sure that it is about twice the width of the pot it was grown in.

Concern issues by the participants

  • After the training, how do they get polypus to raise seedlings
  • If they raise seedlings, what are the possible markets to sell for livelihood development
  • Tree guards are also a concern especially those planting along farm borders.
  • Nursery materials for home nursery sites etc. 


  • In the case of any possible project extension. It’s worth contracting the participating community members to raise 1million desired tree species and it’s bought from them, thereby improving their livelihoods and encouraging  more youths into Green-up Business or economy   
  • supply of enough nursery materials to the Doboo JFPM committees
  • Establishment of central nursery, which is on-going by the project
  • Allowance and remuneration to be giving to appointed voluntary nursery attendant.
  • Fuel allowance for the supervision of the nursery and other park activities
  • Encouraging individual nursery management initiatives and farm land planting, most especially youths  
  • Provision of enough polypots to communities for more nursery activities within this location 

Futures on some of the activity demonstrations during the training exercise. 

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Sand collection , mixing and poly bag fillingC:\Users\PIERRE\Desktop\Class Assignments\IMG-20210930-WA0022.jpg

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Bed preparations