The boys and I went down to the farms to check on the pines and talk to the NRCS soil folks in Lawrenceville. They have programs to help with longleaf pine restoration. Brunswick County is the north and westernmost county to be eligible for longleaf conservation programs, since the edge of its natural range ran right through the middle of the county.
You can see how the longleaf grow in my pictures. The first picture is me standing next to one of the biggest ones that were planted in 2012. Notice the shape. It has few lower branches and kind of shoots straight up. This is an adaption to frequent fire. A fire on the ground will burn the lower parts of the tree, prune them, but leave the important terminal bud. They sometimes have arms like cactus or maybe Joshua Trees.
We burned this land in 2011, before planting the longleaf. We will burn again in January next year and after that every 2-3 years in order to recreate the ecology of Virginia around 1607. My next picture shows 20-year-old loblolly. You can see me, very small, in the middle for size reference. The last picture shows the growth on the cutover (clear cut in June-July last years and replanted in April this year.) You cannot see the little trees underneath. We will manage this with fire soon. You can see some of the wildflowers coming in. I cannot identify many of them. Something I need to learn. I have some native plants, such as butterfly weed, Joe-Pye weed and black eyed Susan, but there are also daisies and Queen Anne’s lace, which are very pretty but invasive.