I Spent the day planting longleaf. Professional crews can six trees a minute. I worked all day and managed around 400, or about one per minute. I am a little worried that we will not get them all in the ground. Kids are coming tomorrow to help, but they will not arrive until 10am and it will get dark at 5pm. We have to plant 2000 trees.
On the plus side, they will have an easier time. The Virginia Dept of Forestry made furrows for me, so the kids can just walk down the rows, punch the hole and plant. It will be faster than my Neanderthal method. We had hoped to burn, but snow couple days ago left conditions too wet. The furrows may be easier to plant, although ecologically the fire would be better. Probably will not be able to burn until 2020 now. The little longleaf will need to get rooted.
My goal in the tree planting goes beyond just getting the trees in the ground. I am hoping that everyone will get closer to the land and have fun with each other. Kids will plant only a total of around 4 acres. Their acres will be the ones easier to see, so they can watch their trees grow for the next ten, twenty or more years. I will get the professional crews to do planting on most of the farm.
My first picture shows the Virginia DoF dozer that was making furrows. Next is one the longleaf I planted. Notice that there is a circle around the pine. I do that with the tool to clear a little space. that takes more time, which helps account for my slower progress. It did not matter much in that particular place, but I think it makes a difference in places with more competition. I hope I am doing a good job. I may not know for a season. The professionals do not always do better. One reason I have to plant on Brodnax is that survival was poor. I think that they planted too late. They were not in the ground until late March. Winter is the time. Ecologically, longleaf need a head start. During the winter with its cool weather and rain, the longleaf will spread its roots. That is the theory, at least.
The thing I love about forestry is what also what makes me so nervous. I am never sure what will happen. Nature, weather and luck get to vote on my outcomes.