The yellow dog is right: I burned those trees! Before picture of one of them:
There is a lot less dog fennel and weed grass now. And the trees themselves, while shedding a lot of scorched needles, have white candles (growing buds) on every limb.
Here's a closeup of one tree:
It wasn't the best time of year to be burning longleaf (I know, Buddy, December and January). We did lose a few, such as this crispy critter:
But that's why we planted them so close together in the first place: so we could lose a few. Unfortunately, the dog fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium) is growing back. Time to get out the hoes....
Other longleaf (Pinus palustris) of the same small grass stage size have plenty of new growth already, kind of like the story in the Leon Neel book.
I used one of those as a political metaphor:
"Like a burned-over longleaf pine, we can come back from this recession greener than ever, if we choose wisely."
Pictures by John S. Quarterman, Quarterman Road, Lowndes County, Georgia, 28 March 2011.