Back in December
we burned some planted longleaf.
Six weeks later, they're greening up and candling.
I couldn't find a single longleaf that didn't survive.
Even ones that a few weeks ago you would have thought
were burnt sticks now have green leaves or white candles
We planted these longleaf three years ago, in 31 January 2009: 12,000 trees we dibbled in by hand.
Not even three years old and some of them are 12 feet tall!
Every few years they need burning to reduce the weeds like dog fennel and to encourage the native warm season grasses (NWSG). The NWSG burn well: low to the ground, moving right along. The dog fennel not so much, but they do sometimes flare up and make a good show, like this:
Burning planted longleaf, Okra Paradise Farms, Lowndes County, Georgia.
Pictures by Gretchen Quarterman, 16 December 2011.
The longleaf themselves are the most fire-resistant of trees.
Almost all of these longleaf will survive the fire and thrive.
The volunteer loblolly and slash, not so much, and any oaks or other trees even less,
so fire favors the longleaf.
We had perfect burning conditions: 5-8 MPH wind from the northwest, blowing towards
Some of the subdivision neighbors who are not familiar with prescribed burns
called the county fire department.
They came out, took one look at the firebreak, and filed a report saying all was OK.
Here's how the fire got started. Some pyromaniac dribbling fire....
The surprising thing is so few people have heard of Leon Neel.
Here's a very interesting biography of this very influential
pioneer in southeastern forestry and agriculture, including
many interesting stories of south Georgia and north Florida
life and politics:
The Art of Managing Longleaf:
A Personal History of the Stoddard-Neel Approach,
by Leon Neel, with Paul S. Sutter and Albert G. Way.
Leon Neel was a atudent, apprentice, and successor of Herbert Stoddard,
who was originally hired by quail plantation owners around
Thomasville to figure out why their quail populations were
The answer included a need to thin and especially to burn
their longleaf pine tree forests.
Stoddard and Neel studied and practiced for almost a century
between them on how to preserve and increase the amount of standing
timber and species diversity while also selectively harvesting trees
to pay for the whole thing.
Their Stoddard-Neel Approach is written up in textbooks.
In this book we learn how it came about, and how it is basically
different from the clearcut-thin-thin-clearcut "efficient" timbering
cycle that is the current fad among pine tree growers in the southeast.
It starts back in the old days of Leon Neel's youth when his daddy taught
him to hunt quail:
Every few years it's good to burn the woods!
If you don't burn piney woods, they turn into oak woods.
Burning cuts down on the small oaks, vines, and undergrowth, puts potash in the soil, and lets the pines come up. Longleaf especially benefits from burning, since it survives burns especially well, and it only sprouts if its seeds land on bare mineral soil (not leaf litter or vine buildup).
I lit these woods 20 February 2008. Pictures by Gretchen.