South Carolina Forestry Commission
News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 21, 2003

TREE PLANTING: IT’S NOT TOO LATE

(COLUMBIA, SC) - Tree seedlings are still available for winter reforestation projects, but Forestry Commission nurserymen say some specialty species are already sold out. Remaining stock includes loblolly and longleaf pine, the most popular commercial tree species planted in South Carolina.

"We’ll fill orders as long as we have seedlings," said Ray Moody, head of the Forestry Commission’s nursery program. Moody said most reforestation in South Carolina is done during the months of December-February.

Tree planting has decreased over the past two years, raising some concerns among the state’s forest managers. Moody speculated that the decline was because landowners were discouraged by low pine timber prices, pine beetle losses, and the continuing drought.

While pine timber prices are still low, the drought appears to be over. According to Hope Mizzell of the state climatology office, South Carolina is now under the influence of an El Nino weather pattern. An El Nino usually brings good winter precipitation in the southeast, providing the soil moisture necessary for successful tree planting.

The lingering southern pine beetle epidemic may finally be running out of steam as well. Forestry Commission pest expert Andy Boone says that some beetle populations are beginning to collapse, indicating that the worst of the epidemic may be over.

Foresters say the long-term nature of forest renewal means that landowners should not delay reforestation work. Information on ordering forest tree seedlings is available by calling 803-896-8910 or on the web at http://www.state.sc.us/forest/nur.htm.

-END-

For more information, contact: Ken Cabe, Information Officer, 803-896-8820


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