Alabama Forestry Commission Receives Stimulus Money for Tree Growth

By: Rhiana Huckins Email
By: Rhiana Huckins Email

More than a century ago, Long Leaf Pine trees took up 3 million acres across the entire southeast.

As years have gone by tree farmers have discovered the species strength to be used as lumber and poles.

"It's a straighter growing tree. There is less tapering as far as the tree itself as its growing. Usually, there are less knots and the woods are more durable and strong" says Chris Mead, Supervisor of The Geneva State Forest.

Now thanks to some state stimulus money, 2 projects will be happening at the Geneva State Forest.

1st, workers will be mulching the understory of the long leaf pine eco system.

"There is a shortage of the long leaf pine seed which is used to grow the seedlings" says Mead.

After the area is mulched, workers will have access to the land to collect those cones.

There is another benefit of mulching an area which will help phase 2: planting about 88,000 long leaf pines.

"It allows the trees that you want to take up more nutrients and get more sunlight which helps them grow faster and keeps them in a better health condition" said David Jones of Jones Vegetation Management.

Long Leaf seedlings are expected to be planted next spring.

First the area has to be prepared with chemical and then fire.

"Basically, our goal is to remove the hardwood competition that is moved into these eco systems as a result of not having the fire in there" says Mead.

Mulching and chemical treatments will cost half a million dollars while reforestation will cost 150,000 dollars.

Depending on where the trees are planted and how much room they have to grow, long leaf's can get up to 70 to 90 feet tall.

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