White oak regeneration and looking at summer & winter burns

One of the things we lobbied Congress about yesterday was landscape initiatives like the White Oak Initiative. I told them that it was important and good for landowners to do. I figured I should take my own advice, so I looked around my land today and found lots of white oaks. I can encourage them simply by clearing out some of the sweet gum and poplar.

White oaks are still common in Virginia, but the problem is age. There are lots of old growth trees, but not that many successful next generations. Oaks needs disturbance. They like to grow in patches with decent soil and dappled shade. Fortunately, giving them these conditions is not rocket science. All you need is a few big oaks for acorns and some sunlight. I can do that.

I also found that the recent fire did good things for the little oaks. I think I can help grow those white oaks for the next generation of bourbon drinkers. I have been extolling the virtues of bourbon and white oak to anybody who wants to listen, and even many who do not. Most of bourbon’s flavor and all of its color comes from white oak. A drink of bourbon is to task 50 years of forest.

Checked out the burning on the Brodnax place. We burned part exactly a year ago and the other part a few months ago, i.e. a growing season burn and a winter one.

The growing season burn got a little too hot a killed a couple dozen trees. There are lots of sweet gum growing under those now. The winter burn is still developing. There was a lot of oak regen. It did not seem to kill many hardwoods and looks like none of the pines. There are a lot of ferns, however. First picture is the winter burn. Next two are the summer burn, #3 showing the dead trees. Picture #4 shows some of the firms on the winter burn and finally is oak regen on the winter burn.

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