Finding the little longleaf

Thank you Marisa Williams, Brendan Williams, Alex Matel, Colin Crimmins, Espen Matel, Andrea & Chrissy for planting longleaf for me last winter. I went looking for them with my cutter today on the farm, i.e. I cut around some of them so that I could see them better.

It was nearly impossible to see them, since they are in the grass stage and they look like … well … grass. But now that the grass is brown you can see the green longleaf.

We got these trees from Aaron Bodenhamer/ Louie Bodenhamer and will get the next ones there too. All the Longleaf on the Freeman place are from Bodenhamer farms.

Burn then plant

We are planning to burn the week of December 9 (depending on weather). The kids will come down soon after to plant the next few thousand longleaf, but I wanted to show them the green trees. The fire will make them look dead. They will NOT be dead, but it might be depressing to see them that way. We will inter-plant a little, but mostly plant the quarter acres clearings among the loblolly.

Protect the bald cypress

I am a little worried about the bald cypress I planted last spring. They are in the wetter areas, so the fires should not be too hot. As a precaution, however, I cleared around some of them and made a fire line for the rest. Labor intensive, but it makes me feel more secure. On the fire day, I will go around and start the fires at the edges so that it burns out. I think they will survive.

Rattlesnake master

I also gathered some of the wildflower seeds, especially from the rattlesnake master. I will spread them after the fires. Rattlesnake master is not showy, but the bees and butterflies love them. Seeds are not so easy to find, so I am glad I have a bunch. I admit that I like it because of the cool name.

It was a “can’t see to can’t see” day, i.e. I left home in the dark and came back in the dark. I pushed it a little, since I figured that I could find my way back along my cut paths even if it got dark, since there was a nearly full moon.

I took a picture of the moon. It did not come out well, but I included it anyway. The first two pictures are the little longleaf looking good. They spend their first year or two sending down roots. This is the grass stage. Then the grow up fast. They call it the rocket stage. Picture # 3 is one of the bald cypress. I put the orange string on some of them, since they will have dropped their needles by the time of the fire and impossible hard to identify otherwise.

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