October Forest Visit

I hate to look at it, but I have to learn from the mistake. The lesson that I take is not to do a fire during the growing season, especially when they trees are throwing up new growth. Southern pine can survive scorching, but if the fire gets too hot & knocks out the new candles, the tree dies. I lost a couple dozen.

You can see the damage on the first picture. Look closely at the middle of the picture that dead ones and the live ones next to them The two live ones right past the middle have fire marks on them. The surface fire went under them too, but did not kill them. The second picture looks down the road. Trees on both sides were burned, but they did not die, at least not yet. Picture #3 is the stump. Picture #4 is me after the cutting. Hard to see, but my shirt is soaked through with sweat. It was good exercise, but I will not do it again. Last picture is some of our wildflower/pollinator plantations. It looked really good in person. The photo did not do it justice.

I also think some of the trees died because their roots roasted. The fire dwelt a too long on the edge, smoldered for days.

Nature is resilient and something good will happen.I have still not decided what to do. I might under plant with longleaf, or maybe just let the natural regeneration of loblolly. My guess is that there is a little more than a acre killed. Letting it be natural or planting won’t make that much difference.

I thought I would take advantage of the bad situation by cutting down one of the dead trees and counting the rings. I did own this land when the trees were planted and the previous owner did not have perfect records. Cutting the tree was a mistake. I had only my hand saw and I get really tired about half way through. I had to finish, however. Could not leave a half cut hazard. I cut the tree about waist high and counted 30 rings. I may have missed a couple and it took it a couple years to get waist high, so those trees are probably around 32-35 years old. The rings showed that the tree grew very fast at first, but then slowed a lot, probably because it got crowded out. We thinned this tract in 2017, so it was too early to see results, especially because it was killed early in the season this year.

Also down on the farms I did my usual walk around. It is looking good. Wildflowers are past prime and settling down for winter. They grew a bit longer and thicker this year with all the rain. The pines are done with their last splurge and hardening for the cooler weather.

I thought I needed some comparisons, so I took pictures of my car near the trees. Could not get very close to the trees for fear of getting stuck. The car has all wheel drive but is not an all terrain vehicle.
 

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