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The effects of soil preparation, planting technique and location along gap-shelterwood gradients (position and orientation) on frost heaving damage to seedlings were studied in Vindeln Experimental Forests, northern Sweden. The forest was harvested in a grid pattern in winter 2004–2005, forming gaps and shelterwood areas of 30 x 40 m each. Gap-shelterwood gradients were delimited in four orientations and subdivided into five positions: 7 m and 15 m into the gap and shelterwood, and at the gap edge. At each position, three replicates of three soil preparations were made: exposed E and B horizons and HuMinMix (milled vegetation and humus layers mixed with surface mineral soil). In early October 2005, one-year-old containerized Picea abies (L.) Karst. seedlings were planted using four techniques: normal and deep planting, and mobile and fixed experimental containers. After one winter, frost heaving damage was highest for seedlings on B horizon combined with the mobile container (51 ± 6%) and normal planting (43±6%). Normal- or deep-planted seedlings in HuMinMix had the least damage (5–6.6 ± 2.5%). Compared to normal planting, deep planting reduced frost heaving damage only on B horizon. When considering the orientation, seedlings in the experimental containers had more or similar frost heaving damage than normal- or deep-planted seedlings. Along the eastern gradient, seedlings incurred more frost heaving damage in the center of the gap than under the canopy.