I went down to the farm to check for flood damage. The farm got more than five inches of rain in a couple days, which is about double the usual monthly average for November. Larry Walker told me that the road flooded and the Meherrin River was seven feet above flood stage.
The water was lower by the time I got there, although the creeks are clearly higher than usual. The forest near the river was still flooded but this is not uncommon even in more “normal” wet weather. There was no serious damage, however. It doesn’t hurt the trees if the water doesn’t stand too long and the sediment deposits are good soil builders. That is why forestry is so good for watershed protection. Judging from the sediment deposits, the water spread at least 100 yards from Genito Creek and up the road. My guess is that it must have been at least eight feet higher than usual. I have never seen it do that.
It was lucky that I went down. I got a last look at the fall colors (see above) & I fixed my bald cypress. The flooding had undercut it. I am very fond of that tree and it is the only one I have on the farm. I built up the base with rocks and put in some dirt. That should hold it. Maybe it will be better rooted by the next time we get such a big flood.
I also had the chance to meet with Larry Walker’s boss to talk about thinning schedules. He is going to take a look at the Freeman place to see if it makes sense to thin the 86 acres of 1996 pine this year. It is an exceptionally good stand of trees. I think that early thinning might be a good idea, even if the pulp prices are low. Some of the inside trees are already dying back. You have to balance the benefits with the risks. Ice storms become a danger the years after thinning, but that will be a problem no matter when you do it.
Above & below is the CP forest from 623 today and three years ago. The trees did well this year. Notice the cedar tree more or less in the middle. It stands out in the field in the top picture, You have to look hard in the bottom one, as the pines are now almost as big or bigger. In fact, you can hardly see the pines at all in the top picture. Of course, seasons are different.