Converting Planted Loblolly Pine (or Slash Pine) to Longleaf Pine: An Opportunity

Many private forest landowners in the South are interested in restoring native longleaf pine forests because of the higher wildlife, recreational and aesthetic values associated with longleaf compared to other southern pine species. The appeal of the open, park-like longleaf woodlands typical of lands managed for bobwhite quail is strong for many landowners. In addition, longleaf has: greater insect, disease and fire resistance; and longleaf yields higher forest product values compared to other pines.

The Major Southern Pines

There are four major species of pine widespread throughout the southern states: shortleaf, loblolly, longleaf and slash. These species have numerous traits in common, yet each has characteristics unique to itself. They may occur on different sods and have differences in management requirements. There are other pine species in the south, but they are limited in their natural range to one or several adjoining states.

Nutrition Management for Longleaf Pinestraw

Demand for pinestraw for use as mulch continues to rise dramatically. This demand has put considerable pressure on existing longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) stands due to frequent removal of pinestraw. While the sale of straw represents a financial opportunity for some private timberland owners, it can be a potential problem because of the repeated removal of nutrients from raked sites.

Producing Longleaf Pine Straw

Longleaf pine trees deposit a blanket of needles, often called pine straw, on the forest floor annually. Many forest owners do not realize that it is possible to sell this straw, but in fact wise management of this resource can substantially increase the owner’s income from the forest land. Retail sales of North Carolina longleaf pine straw in 1996 were estimated to exceed $25 million. This volume could easily be doubled or tripled if owners were more aware of this opportunity and if the market were expanded by promoting sales in states to our north.

Stewardship of Longleaf Pine Forests: A Guide for Landowners

This book is written in an easy-to-read format for the private landowner in the deep South, the heart of the range of longleaf pine. Longleaf pine was once part of the single largest forest area dominated by a single tree species in North America, covering as much as 90 million acres. Today, about 4 million acres remain and much of the ecosystem associated with the longleaf forest is in poor condition. The future of longleaf as a viable economic and ecological component of our Southern landscape rests in the hands of private landowners. Well-managed longleaf forests can provide high-value forest products, excellent wildlife habitat for game and nongame wildlife and scenic beauty all on the same property with few or no trade-offs. As you read through these pages, you will get some ideas about how longleaf forests can fit into the landscape on your property.

The Pine that Fire Built: Burning Young Longleaf

Prescribed fire can be a useful and relatively inexpensive tool in managing southern pine forests. As increasing acreage is planted with longleaf pine, many landowners are either required to burn their young stands to comply with cost-share programs or wish to burn to achieve various management objectives.

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