September 16 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
During each rotation of a planted forest, landowners have a single opportunity to choose the appropriate genetics for their long-term investment. We encourage forest landowners to plant the best genetic quality seedlings possible. The benefits from establishing highly productive families, in combination with good silvicultural practices, will result in large financial returns. Nurseries grow loblolly pine seedlings that have a range in genetic quality. Information about the value of different seedling families can be sourced from seedling vendors as well as from tree improvement cooperatives. The cooperative provides a “third-party” assessment of the productivity, disease resistance, and stem quality of the many families that are available for purchase. An example of this is the loblolly pine Performance Rating System (PRS) developed by the NC State University Cooperative Tree Improvement Program. Information provided through this rating system helps seedling customers make informed decisions when comparing the genetic potential of one family relative to another. Once decisions on seedling genetics are made, at-planting silvicultural decisions will determine the trajectory of the stand and if landowners will capture the potential of selected genetics. Appropriate chemical and/or mechanical site preparation, fertilization, timing, and spacing & density all play critical roles in ensuring the success of a new plantation.