Seedling program produces trees for Tennessee

Staff Reports • Updated Sep 13, 2017 at 2:00 PM

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry and Huber Engineered Woods teamed recently to initiate the Trees for Tennessee seedling program.

The program aims to provide an avenue for the establishment of as many as 1 million pine seedlings on at least 400 acres throughout the greater Tennessee Valley and Cumberland Plateau.

“The goal this first year is to get 232,000 loblolly pine seedlings onto family forest owner properties located in the eastern half of the state,” said state forester Jere Jeter. “These seedlings will be 1.5 generation loblolly pine, which is a genetically improved seedling selected for superior growth characteristics.”

Loblolly pine is the most important softwood species in Tennessee and is used primarily in the manufacture of paper, oriented strand board, plywood and construction lumber. Although loblolly pine is important and significant as a timber species, it accounts for only about 4 percent of Tennessee’s 14 million forested acres, far below hardwood forest competitors such as oak, hickory and maple.

“As a leader in the engineered wood industry, we rely on the sustainable growth of natural resources,” said Bryan Little, plant manager for the HEW mill in Spring City. “We are committed to the communities we serve, so conserving and protecting the environment we all share is a major focus in Tennessee and throughout our organization.”

HEW is purchasing the seedlings from the Division of Forestry’s East Tennessee Nursery in Delano as a cost-share incentive to provide the seedlings to qualified Tennessee landowners at no additional cost. Interested landowners must meet certain requirements to qualify for the program and work with their local area forester to develop a tree planting prescription plan. The planting area must be at least 20 acres, and the timber must be managed. 

Contact the local division of forestry office and visit planttntrees.org for more information.

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