To the average passerby, a pine plantation is nothing special, nothing complex. However, not all pine trees are created equal. Thanks to the hard work of many timber industry professionals, most people now understand the difference between a loblolly pine and a longleaf, a slash pine and a white pine and so on. But the savvy investor should be concerned with a deeper understanding of what makes for a strong timber investment; an understanding of modern pine seedling genetics.
The traditional nomenclature of genetics revolves around Generations of seedlings. For example, you may hear someone ask whether the pine seedlings you are planting are Gen. 2 or Gen. 3. While this has served the purpose to clarify seedling improvements generally over the years, modern genetic work requires a more specific set of criteria to distinguish a good pine tree from a great one from a truly exceptional example.
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.