Archive for Longleaf

2015 Tree Seedling Applications Available for Louisiana

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2015 Tree Seedling Applications Available

 

Our friends at the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) have applications for ordering tree seedlings.  Many pine and hardwood species are available, including: loblolly, slash, and containerized longleaf pines, baldcypress, 10 species of oaks, and over a dozen other species of hardwoods, including some fruit and nut trees.

Specialty packets include an Arboretum packet ($40) with 50 assorted and labeled seedlings.  This packet has 16 to 25 different species of trees and shrubs. Another packet is the Wildlife Packet for $25. It includes 25 assorted and labeled seedlings with a minimum of five species for wildlife habitat improvement. Those species in the Wildlife Packet are crabapple, white oak, sawtooth oak,  red mulberry and willow oak.

Applications are available at the Beauregard, LSU AgCenter office located at 203 West Third Street across from the Beauregard Parish School Board.  Applications will be accepted beginning July 1, 2014. Some species of trees sell out quickly so place your order early to ensure delivery of your seedlings. Applications and payment must be mailed to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry in Baton Rouge.  Applications without full payment will be returned to sender.  Completed applications and forms will NOT be accepted at the Beauregard Parish LSU AgCenter Office.  Seedlings will be available December 15 through March 1.  For more information, contact the Beauregard Parish Extension Office at (337) 463-7006 or the local Louisiana Office of Forestry in DeRidder at (337) 463-7801 or in Oberlin at (337) 639-4978.

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Longleaf Pine in the Landscape, Keith Hawkins, Area Forester, LSU AgCenter

Longleaf Pine in the Landscape

Keith Hawkins, SW LA Area Forester, LSU AgCenter

      About a year ago, a family in Ragley asked me to look at their landscape trees. They were particularly concerned about the health of their longleaf pines. A few older needles were browning due to the drought stress at that time. However, the trees seemed to fundamentally healthy.

      The husband and wife described how their longleaf pines had survived the winds of Hurricane Rita while other trees had failed and then had to be removed. While longleaf pine is a good timber tree producing high-value, pole timber, it has value as a landscape tree.

      One reason to consider longleaf in the landscape is its native heritage. Settlers found open groves of longleaf with wide enough spacing for wagon traffic to move freely. These stands also had native grasses and legumes suitable for livestock. The USDA is trying to restore the longleaf pines stands as a native forests.

      There are a couple of disadvantages with homeowners planting longleaf pine as landscape trees.  The longleaf pine is famous for its “grass” stage. A longleaf seedling looks like a tuft of grass for five to ten years. During this time, the seedling is developing an expansive root systems. Then when the seedling is ready, the young tree has a rapid spurt of growth forming its main trunk.

      One practice that may enable a longleaf seedling to have an early growth spurt would be controlling plant competition. A homeowner, through normal yard mowing, may encourage the longleaf seedling to leave the grass stage early.

     Another disadvantage might be the pine straw. Over time, as the longleaf tree mature, the pine straw may become a nuisance. Also, several longleaf trees would produce enough pine straw to impair mowing. and raking would be an annual fall task.

However, for some folks, longleaf pine straw would be a valuable mulch for homeowners who enjoy gardening. In fact, longleaf pine straw is considered the “Cadillac” of pine straw, and some businesses harvest and bale pine straw for retail sale at garden centers. Longleaf pine straw mulch is very stable in windy and rainy conditions. Its natural appearance is attractive for landscape purposes.2014 LDAF longleaf seedlings.

The Louisiana Office of Forestry sells 100 containerized longleaf seedlings for $40.00.  Here is a link for a seedling order form: http://www.ldaf.state.la.us/portal/Portals/0/FOR/Reforestation/2013SeedlingAp.pdf

 
Containerized longleaf seedlings at LA Office of Forestry nursery.

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Lousiana Wildflowers Comments, Skip Cryer, LA Master Gardener

COMMENTS FROM SKIPPER CRYER:

  Wildflowers generally thrive in disturbed soil and do not get happy with fertilizer.  So plowing an area and leaving it alone allows the native seed that lie dormant to germinate and grow.  It is true that most wildflowers are more tempermental than domestic seed.  You just about have to have a burn schedule for the plants to thrive.  That is their genetic history.  Mowing at the right time helps but the thatch can build up and smother the plants you want to thrive.  There is a strong tie between moisture content, shade, and variety.  All of this is also tied to quail survival.  The natural eco system is complex and does not lend itself to monoculture to mimic Mother Nature.  Wildflowers are generally prairie plants.

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Wildflowers in Louisiana West Gulf Coast, image by The Nature Conservancy.

I had managed my fields into a thick blue stem grass and wildflower mass.  Then I planted pine trees and the burn liability changed dramatically.  Now I mow only and between the shade of the pine trees, straw, and the mowing my beautiful yellow fields now are dwindling away in areas.

When someone tells you that long leaf and wildflowers go together it is true but the natural pine/flower savannas did not have the shade problem of modern tree planting and the areas burned clean periodically.  Fire generates germination in both native flowers and long leaf pine and is paramount in releasing the plants.

 

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