Forest visit February 2014
Went down to the forest farms. This is not the prettiest time to visit. In fact, it tends to be the ugliest time of the year. Lots of the plants are dead or brown. The pine trees are a little anemic; they will become much more brilliant green in a few months.
On the plus side, you can see better, since leaves and growing plants are not there to obscure. I was happy to see my longleaf pines are still there and doing okay. A few have really started to grow, as you see in the picture. Most are still in the "grass" stage.
They are building a big new natural gas fired generator near the Freeman place. They are going to expand the transmission lines and lay gas pipelines. It won't affect my land directly, but I am not enthusiastic about any changes. I like things to stay in forestry. But I recognize that development happens and it is probably a good thing for many people. As I wrote in a earlier post, this part of Virginia is poor. My forests create few jobs. The gas generator will do better.
The top picture shows Chrissy on the CP forest road. Trees are getting bigger. Notice on the side of the road are sycamore trees. They grew by themselves, but I cut out the brush and thinned them into a nice colonnade. They are growing very rapidly. I am mildly allergic to sycamore. When I do a lot of cutting, I have to cough a lot.
The middle picture shows one of the longleaf pine seedlings. I doubt I will ever see this forest mature, but it will be magnificent. Longleaf used to be very common in the south. The State of Virginia is working on restoration. My five acres of longleaf are a drop in the bucket, but better than nothing. Below is me in the new forest. I think we will cut that this year or next and plant some genetically strong trees that will grow even faster and better.
The State of Virginia is now also advocating shortleaf pine restoration. I don't know much about them, but I will see what I can find out. I want to have more diversity in my forests in order to make them more robust and useful for wildlife. I have to admit, however, that I really cannot identify a shortleaf pine. I may have some and not know it. I think they can hybridize with loblolly.