LTM has been on top of the genetic advances for its entire 35-year history. We not only consider broad categorization, but we pay close attention to tree families and quality ratings, keeping track of intra-generational differences. Just within its line of Generation 3 seedlings, one of our vendors has 3 more levels of differentiation. More so, among these are also multiple ways for the seedling quality to be enhanced, such as open pollination, controlled pollination, and even cloning the best of the best trees. These options can easily seem overwhelming. That's why we're here. LTM has done the grunt work of staying current with the science and technology to make it easier for you to optimize your investment.
To begin, all of the genetic advances for pine trees have targeted three simple areas: growth, straightness, and disease resistance. These are the trifecta of value for a pine tree stand. To make it easy to understand (and standardize) seedling differences across the industry, a common rating system has been adopted based on these 3 traits: the Performance Rating System (PRS) developed by NC State Cooperative Tree Improvement Program. Each species and family we have access to is rated for (P)roductivity (% greater stem volume than unimproved tree), (R)ust resistance (resistance to fusiform rust disease, or cankers), and (S)traightness (a measure of stem straightness, important for selling trees for chip-n-saw, sawtimber, and poles). LTM works directly with our nurseries to select trees with the highest ratings within your specific budget and return on investment guidelines.
Which brings us to the next important factor: return on investment. Simply, the higher a tree's rating, the more money you will most likely generate from it. Superior returns come at the price of a higher up-front cost. But most projections show that total return on investment is much higher as tree genetics improve. Bottom line: put your money into tree genetics first, because this will yield the greatest part of your total returns. After genetics, we recommend strong competition control (via herbicide) during site preparation to give your trees all the nutrients and space they need to maximize productivity.
Lastly, your particular property has unique characteristics that call for a certain pine species to be planted, such as slash vs. loblolly vs. longleaf. The best genetic advancements won't overcome mismatching species to site. We take great care in analyzing soil compositions, drainage, and other factors to ensure that the money you are investing in superior genetics isn't wasted by choosing the wrong species to begin with. We make sure everything works together to maximize the results from a good planting.
We enjoy assisting our clients with increasing their knowledge of seedling genetics and reforestation in general. If you have questions or would like to learn more about how we choose our seedlings, give us a call.
LTM are professional forestry consultants with expertise in all aspects of timberland management and investment analysis.