The aim of this study is to investigate the early establishment of Pinus sylvestris L. (Scots pine) and Picea abies (L.) Karst. (Norway spruce) seedlings on soil freshly prepared and soil left to stabilise for one year after preparation. Three site preparation treatments were studied: exposed C horizon, mound (broken O/E/B horizon piled upside down over undisturbed forest floor), and exposed E/B horizon. The years investigated were different in terms of weather, one being rainy and the other one dry. As such, emergence was very low in the dry year. Content of fine silt particles, bulk density, water retention, air-filled porosity, loss-on-ignition, and near saturated hydraulic conductivity did not differ statistically between fresh and stabilised soil. Nevertheless, early establishment of P. sylvestris seedlings was improved on exposed C and E/B horizon after one year of soil stabilisation. In contrast, early establishment of P. sylvestris on mounds, and that of P. abies on all types of site preparation treatments were not improved by soil stabilisation. In addition, mortality due to frost heaving did not differ significantly between freshly prepared and stabilised soil. Considering the fact that growing season climate had a great influence on the sowing outcome, and that early establishment is also affected by other factors that vary yearly, such as predation, seedbed receptivity, and competition from vegetation, it may not be advantageous to wait for soil to stabilise before regenerating from seeds.