Thursday, November 10, 2016

Longleaf Alliance and Pine Straw

Daniel West on the pine straw rake
The 11th Biennial Longleaf Conference met in Savannah on November 1 – 4 at the Marriott Riverfront hotel. The Longleaf Alliance was formed in 1995, and they are partnering with state and federal efforts in order to see that the surge in longleaf recovery continues. Private landowners across the Southeast will also play a role in the future of the longleaf ecosystem, and conference participants traveled to Colleton County on Nov. 3 for a workshop about commercial pine straw production.

The Biennial conference field trip came to western Colleton County where about 400-acres of longleaf pine trees set up for pine tree production. The tour bus brought forestry professionals and landowners to the sandy soils along Highway 21 that make it a natural site for longleaf pine trees. The same xeric soil tends to grow less woody vegetation than other heavier, wetter Lowcountry soils which is better for producing clean pine straw.
The Longleaf Alliance field trip attendees
Tom and Wendy McNeil welcome the visitors
Tom and Wendy McNeil issued a warm welcome to the visitors and shared that their family ownership group wanted to try out pine straw production as an additional revenue stream in addition to timber harvests. As with all timber management, it takes years to implement any new plan, and in this case it took about 12 years for the longleaf pine seedlings to grow to a size that would produce enough straw to bale. Essentially they lease out the acreage for a fee to an entity that wants to bale and then market the pine straw.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about The Longleaf Alliance click on 2015 Longleaf Academy - Longleaf Book - America's Great Outdoors

Round pine straw bale production

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