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Getting Ready for Forest Planting

August 2, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Taylor: Today, we're talking about getting ready for forest planting. Hello, I'm Amy Taylor Myers and welcome to Farm and Family. Today, we're speaking with Dr. Randy Rousseau, Mississippi State University extension hardwood specialist. Randy, today, you want to talk about some things that we have to have actually completed before we can do our tree planting for early next year.

Randy Rousseau: That's correct, Amy. But because our of state stretches from the mid south, say Memphis all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico, that means based on your location, getting ready will involve a different set of timing. The first thing that you have to be sure to do is to complete, no matter what part of state you live in is your seedling orders. These should already have been done by now and you can use a various number of nurseries.

A lot of people get caught by waiting too long to order their seedlings and then they're scrambling to find whatever seedlings that are left. When this happens, you may get lucky and get what you want, but in most cases you're going to be limited to only the seedlings that are left, which in the long run may not be what you wanted and they could show up later in the revenue stream that you would make on the trees at harvest time.

For hardwoods, it's very important that you order the species of seedlings that fit your specific soil conditions. Inability to plant the correct species could have severe consequences even during the first few years following your planting as the trees might become stress and severe mortality could take place. Thus losing your investment and a needing to replant the second time.

In addition to hardwood, seedlings are fairly expensive, so you want to make sure that you purchase not only the correct species, but high quality seedlings as well.

Today, most of the hardwood seedlings are planted for recreational purposes such as hunting. You would want to make sure that the species, let's say an oak, is the one that is best suited for your type of wildlife.

For pine, they're more typical planted as revenue stream species and can be planted from the Gulf Coast all the way to Corinth, Mississippi. Subsequently, you may want to make sure that the seedlings you order fits your geographic location. Pine, I really mean more specifically loblolly casein, loblolly pine.

You have a variety of different genetic types that range from open pollinated, first-generation seedlings all the way to full SIP seedlings and even clonal seedlings which we referred to as varietals. Another thing that you have to decide is whether you want bare-root seedlings or containerized seedlings.

While bare-root have been the standard for seedlings for decades, containerized seedlings are gaining in popularity because of better survival on more stress sites. Again, knowing what you wanted, ordering early provides you with a wide variety of material and getting exactly the type of seedlings that fits your objectives.

Amy Taylor: Yes, that makes a lot of sense. Now, let's just say that we have our seedlings ordered. Now, what's next?

Randy Rousseau: Well, the next step is to have your site preparation completed during the summer and early fall months. As right now, we're getting into that season. I see a lot of landowners wait way too long and then fighting weather conditions. In some cases, not getting this critical part completed.

If you're located in the southern part of the state, you may even want to plant during the fall rather than waiting for cooler conditions. That means you need to get this completed as soon as possible in the summer months so that the site is ready for your fall planning.

If you're wanting to plant during the colder months, then you have a little wider window of time, but this needs to be completed before November. Site preparation and forestry is exactly the same goal as you prepare in your garden for planting, but on a larger scale as you have to deal with large tree material that's left on after harvested on site, after harvesting as well as.

Virtually, it's been wild for decades. Today, chemicals play a key role in getting the site ready by killing any unwanted vegetation then possibly burning to allow better planter access to the site.

With all this done, you can also do mechanically site prep if you want, but it may result in soil movement and loss of sight at productivity from your area. Of course, if you have a consultant, a lot of this will be taken care of, but if you're planning to do it yourself, a lot of this type of information is found on the Forestry Extension website.

Amy Taylor: Okay, so this website is, right?

Randy Rousseau: Correct.

Amy Taylor: Alright. Thank you so much. Today, we've been speaking with Dr. Randy Rousseau, hardwoods specialist. I'm Amy Taylor Myers and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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