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You have your seedlings planted. Now What?
10 Most Important Goals for Year One

Investment in high-quality genetics has proven to result in increased profits, but it doesn’t happen without your help. Like any high-quality product, special treatment is required to realize the maximum potential. Follow the recommendations in this article and from your ArborGen reforestation professionals. When you practice good silvicultural methods, you will reap the rewards of these best-quality genetics with superior growth and stem quality and, ultimately, better return on your investment.

 

The goals for your seedlings in the first year are:

  • Rapid establishment of root system throughout the soil profile.
  • Terminal buds above the competing vegetation and animal browse line.
  • Provide seedlings the best chance to grow quickly (height and stem diameter) in order to be large enough to resist and withstand insects and other damaging agents such as fires, cows, deer, wind, hail, ice, snow, etc.
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How to achieve those goals:

  • Apply herbicides to control weeds – the #1 enemy in a Pine seedling’s first year. Inspect the stand in late May or early June for a new crop of weeds even if you applied herbicide in late winter or early spring.
  • Ask a professional which herbicides are right to achieve the completion control you desire for your location and help you choose the right application method and time.
  • Inspect the planting site for emerging Pine from seeds left in place after harvesting. These are harder to control because you’ll have to direct spray a herbicide onto the volunteer Pine seedlings without getting spray onto your newly planted seedlings.
  • Don’t let your seedlings become deer food. Monitor closely for signs of heavy browse on winter shrubs and vines near seedlings. Sites overpopulated with deer will browse on Pine seedlings if there is not a better food source present.
  • Inspect your seedlings periodically to insure that no pales weevil activity is present. Look for stem girdling at the soil line on seedlings that show symptoms of yellowing or wilting. Stands harvested between April 1 – June 1 and sites prepared in the year of harvest and planted the next winter can have severe pales weevil problems.
  • Protect the terminal bud (the bud located at the end of a limb marking the end of that year’s growth) from tip moth larvae. The best time for treatment is at planting. Seedlings planted and treated after February 1 may not have adequate time to absorb enough chemical to protect against the first cycle of tip moth larvae.
  • Have soil tested for phosphorous (P) by a local lab and follow their recommendations for fertilization at the time of planting.
  • If you have coarse, sandy soil or if scalping is applied during or before planting, nitrogen fertilization may be required. Dormant season foliage analysis can help diagnose when nitrogen fertilization may be needed.
  • Don’t let your seedlings get trampled by domestic animals such as cattle. It’s best to exclude domestic animals from your newly planted forest for the first two years. If you do allow domestic animals in your new forest, try to keep all feed troughs and mineral supplement areas outside of the newly planted area.
  • Monitor seedlings throughout the summer for issues that may arise and notify your ArborGen Reforestation Advisor immediately if you see unhealthy seedlings.

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Customer Spotlight: Jerry Merrill – Leaving a Legacy

Oil businessman Jerry Merrill decided in 2011 that he would like to acquire land, with a goal of 2,000 to 3,000 acres to create a legacy for his family.  One of his first purchases was 40 acres that was clear cut. He believed developing a sustainable, profitable forest would be the very best way to do that. That’s where ArborGen came in.

Having heard about the success of ArborGen Varietals from his friend Les Turk, Jerry attended Dr. Patrick Cumbie’s Advanced Genetics Workshop in Shreveport, Louisiana. There he discovered the benefits of planting both MCP® and Varietal seedlings. Seeing the data about increased growth rate, straighter trees and less disease interested Jerry. What convinced him though was the financial information that demonstrated the increase return on investment (ROI). “I’m a businessman and I decide everything I do on ROI,” says Jerry.

“MCP and Varietals are all I will plant, I’m so happy with them. These trees have been phenomenal. Especially the Varietals. I believe, even though these trees are just 4 years old, we will easily be thinning in another 4 to 5 years. My bottom line is to create a dynasty to leave my family and this is the very best way I can do that.”

customer-spotlight
Jerry's son, Ken, stands beside an AGV 124 planted in Feb. 2014.

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New Markets for Your Trees

ArborGen research continues to work in collaboration with academic and government institutions like the University of Georgia and Department of Energy at finding new markets for trees. Here the University of Georgia reports on the progress made in improving plant and tree growth and conversion to biofuels.  See the full article below.

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Researchers Identify Gene That Improves Plant Growth and Conversion to Biofuels

Article by University of Georgia

A research team led by the University of Georgia has discovered that manipulation of the same gene in poplar trees and switchgrass produced plants that grow better and are more efficiently converted to biofuels.

Due to the composition of plant cell walls, plant material is not efficiently broken down or deconstructed to the basic sugars that are converted to biofuels.

In a paper published today in Nature Biotechnology, the researchers report that reducing the activity of a specific gene called GAUT4 leads to lower levels of pectin, a component of plant cell walls responsible for their resistance to deconstruction.

“It’s expensive to produce biofuels,” said lead author Debra Mohnen, a member of UGA’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center and professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “It takes a lot of energy to break open plant biomass, with a pretreatment process involving chemicals, high temperatures and enzymes that break complex polymers into smaller sugars that can be turned into fuels. Even relatively modest increases in the efficiency of deconstruction can be important on an industrial scale.”

Mohnen and a team of researchers at six institutions found that reducing the expression of GAUT4 in poplar and switchgrass led to a 70 percent reduction in pectin content and produced a 15 percent increase in sugar release. Unexpectedly, it also led to an increase in the growth of both plant species, an added benefit.

“We increased the amount of biomass yield of field-grown switchgrass sixfold, and we increased the amount of ethanol yield sevenfold per plant,” Mohnen said. “We also observed increased growth and sugar release in poplar.”

The increase in plant yield and sugar release—demonstrated in both greenhouse and field trials for switchgrass—bodes well for creating biofuels, an important alternative to fossil fuels. Switchgrass and poplar previously were identified by the U.S. Department of Energy as two biofuel feedstocks that can be grown on land that would not profitably support food crops.

The team also explored the mechanism behind the results, producing the first evidence that a reduction in GAUT4 specifically reduces two of the three types of pectin in plants. The influence of pectin on biofuel production largely has been ignored, according to the paper’s first author, Ajaya Biswal, assistant research scientist at the CCRC. In research that began more than a decade ago, Biswal found GAUT4 expressed in poplar and then targeted the gene in both poplar and switchgrass.

“We tend to forget that understanding the mechanics and wall structure of a plant like switchgrass is a long journey,” he said. “Mother Nature took millions of years to build it, and fully exploring it in 10 years is impossible—we still have so much more to learn.”

For this study, UGA researchers joined with scientists from the DOE-BioEnergy Science Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Tennessee, ArborGen and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The paper is available online at https://www.nature.com/articles/nbt.4067

The research began under the auspices of the BioEnergy Science Center, one of three DOE-funded research centers seeking new methods to overcome the difficulty of breaking down plant cell walls to create biofuels. The work continues through the DOE-funded Center for Bioenergy Innovation, created last year to advance the production of fuels and other products directly from nonfood biomass. CBI is led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory; the UGA team is one of 15 partners and is led by Mohnen, also a member of UGA’s Plant Center. The university received $1.9 million in funding for the first year, with an expected five years of funding.

“These discoveries have contributed to our fundamental understanding of how cell walls are formed,” said Jerry Tuskan, CEO and director of CBI. “With these insights, we can now rationally deconstruct plant biomass into precursors for biofuels and other bio-based products.”

The Center for Bioenergy Innovation is one of four Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Centers within DOE’s Office of Science created to expand on the foundational successes of former BRCs and to lay the scientific groundwork for a new robust, biobased economy. Funding for this work originated under DOE’s BioEnergy Science Center, one of three BRCs established in 2007. Learn more at https://cbi.ornl.gov/.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for DOE’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit http://science.energy.gov/.

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Your Reforestation Advisor will
help you make the best seedling
choice for your location, planting
site and long-term objectives

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What makes ArborGen seeds superior?
Exceptional Breeding. Outstanding Results.
What makes SuperTree Seedlings exceptional?
Unequaled Quality. Unparalleled Service.
What makes SuperTree Seedlings trees more valuable?
Superior Growth. Higher Wood Quality.
How is a SuperTree Seedlings forest more profitable?
Predictable Results. Maximum Financial Return.
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