The forest seed bank has been demonstrated to vary spatially at scales from 2 to 10 m. To our knowledge, the fine-scale spatial structure, i.e. < 2 m, has not been studied before. This study aims to make a thorough investigation of fine-scale spatial structure. Soil samples (128) were collected from each of five 2.1 m × 2.1 m plots, using a combined systematic (64) and random design (64). This allowed investigation of the fine-scale spatial structure of individual species–plot combinations using indicator-variograms. Our results indicated that over half of all species recorded in a particular plot were spatially structured. Remarkably, the presence of spatial structure seemed independent of species frequency. Visualization of the spatial structure showed an irregular spatial pattern, i.e. seed clusters that were randomly distributed in space. Spatial dependence occurred over small distances, possibly suggesting that a significant proportion of seeds was deposited near the mother plant. We conclude by presenting the relevance and implications of small-scale spatial seed-bank patterning for seed-bank sampling.