Friday, March 7, 2014

Longleaf Pines

This picture was taken in 2008 of the two year old longleaf pines on our McCollum Tract at the first burn.  
Some people say they don't want to plant longleaf pines because they grow too slow, I differ with their thinking.  Yes, the longleaf pines we now see in the National Forest are very old but at one time the Native Americans here in our part of the state burned the forest quite often to open it up for hunting.  These trees co-existed with fire and fire was what made them thrive.  
This year we burned this tract for the third time since planting and the picture below is of this same tree above six years older and now they have been growing for eight.  Some of these trees are now 20 feet tall.  Loblolly pines at eight years of age would be no taller than these.  Now, I am not saying every stand needs longleaf pines planted on it but where their native habitat is and if it is a place you can use fire, I would say plant longleafs. These trees as a stand will be more valuable in the life of the trees because a majority of this stand will be poles because of their straight growth, bringing more money.  
The real value comes in the aesthetics, the beauty of these mountain longleaf pines growing, and the benefits to wildlife.  It becomes a deer, turkey, quail, and rabbit home.  
It takes more management but for us the benefits far out weigh cost.

This picture was made on a different tract this year but it shows what three year old longleaf pines look like after a fire has gone through them.

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