Frequently Asked Questions

1.What is South Carolina's state tree?
2. I have a few acres of land that I'm interested in planting in trees. I understand that the SC Forestry Commission sells trees. How do I order them and when is the best time to place an order?
3.When is the planting season for containerized and bareroot seedlings? 
4.What is the recommended spacing for planting seedlings?
5. How do you properly plant a tree?
6.Can you ship bareroot or containerized seedlings ordered in state or out of state via UPS?
7.Do you accept VISA or MasterCard for seedling orders? Do you accept cash payments?
8. Can I purchase seedlings at Taylor Nursery and pick them up then?
9. How do should I submit my order if I am ordering longleaf and other species too?
10. When is the earliest and latest I can order tree seedlings?
11. When can I pick up seedlings and plant them?
12. How do I get a burning permit?
13.If I notify before burning, can I still get in trouble if my fire gets away?
14.What is the difference between a red flag alert and a burning ban?
15.What does "fire season" mean and when is it?
16.I hear about brush fires, woods fires, and forest fires; what's the difference?
17. What is the difference between the Forestry Commission and the Forest Service?
18. I have some timber that I would like to sell. What should I do in order to sell it?
19.Where can I get state hunting and fishing licenses, and boat registrations?
20. How do I find out if I have Southern pine beetles in my timber?
21. Can I purchase pine straw from the Forestry Commission?
22. Who are the closest land clearing contractors, and loggers?
23. When is Earth Day?
24. When is Arbor Day in South Carolina?
25. What is global warming?
26. What is acid rain?
27. Where can I get tax information on my woodland property?
28. What is an old growth forest?
29. What is the Endangered Species Act and how does it affect private landowners?
30.What is biodiversity?
31.Why are the tropical rainforests of South America being depleted?
32.What is a multiple use forest?
33. What is a registered forester?
34.Is most forestry work out of doors?
35.What is the difference between a forest technician and a forester?
36.What must I do to become a professional forester?
37.What subjects should I take in high school to prepare for a degree in forestry?
38.Will jobs in forestry be available when I graduate?
39.Can I camp on the State Forests?
40. How many leaves do trees have?


1. What is South Carolina's state tree?
South Carolina's state tree is the Palmetto, commonly known as the Cabbage Palmetto. It has been closely associated with the history of South Carolina, being represented on the State Flag since 1777, as well as the State Seal. It is symbolic of the defeat of the British fleet at the fort on Sullivan's Island, built of Palmetto logs. The Palmetto is an attractive feature of the coastal areas of South Carolina, and is also found in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina.
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2. I have a few acres of land that I'm interested in planting to trees. I understand that the S.C. Forestry Commission sells trees. How do I order them and when is the best time to place an order?
To assist the state's woodland owners with reforestation, the Forestry Commission sells forest tree seedlings. Several native pine and hardwood species are available in fall and winter. Orders accepted July 1 beginning every year. (Orders placed before July 1 will be returned.) You can get a seedling order form by contacting your local Forestry Commission office or Clemson Extension office. The local project forester with the Forestry Commission can help you with species selection and other information relating to tree planting.
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3. When is the planting season for containerized and bareroot seedlings? 
Containerized seedling are available starting in October through December. December - Mid March is best for bareroot species.  
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4. What is the recommended spacing for planting seedlings?
Spacing will vary by species, site, and landowner objectives. A professional forester can recommend spacing for your situation. Recommended Spacing

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5. How do you properly plant a tree?
Dig a hole twice the size of the roots and deep enough to hold all of the roots. Place the tree in the planting hole as shown in the picture. Fill in the planting hole with soil around the roots. Water the tree well. Give your trees a good soaking with water once a week. Protect your trees from fire, lawnmowers, bicycles, cars, pets, weeds, and grass. Check How to Plant a Tree for more details.
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6.Can you ship bareroot or containerized seedlings ordered in state or out of state via UPS?
Yes. Boxes of 10 are shipped separately at $16.50 per box anywhere in NC, SC and GA. All other boxes are shipped separately at $25.00 per box anywhere in NC, SC and GA.
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7.Do you accept VISA or MasterCard for seedling orders? Do you accept cash payments?
We accept both Visa and MasterCard payments only on orders that are mailed or faxed in. Signatures are required for payment acceptance. No telephone orders can be done due to no signature being on file for the order. Sorry we are unable to accept cash payments at this time.
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8. Can I purchase seedlings at Taylor Nursery and pick them up then?

All seedlings both bareroot and containerized seedlings can only be picked up at Taylor Nursery or at a cost to the customer can be UPS to their home address.

Due to budget cuts, the distribution centers and Creech Greenhouse will no longer be in operation for the pick-up of tree seedlings. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but due to the state budget cuts this was the only way we could continue the seedling program. Over-the counter sales are most likely not available due to the staff lifting only the orders we have placed in advance. You may call our Seedling Sales office at (803)275-3578 for seedling availability.
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9.How should I submit my order if I am ordering longleaf and other species too?
You may order both longleaf and other species on the same order form. Due to the abundance of seedling available we have no limits on the number of seedling you can order on any specie.
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10. When is the earliest and latest I can order tree seedlings?
Seedling orders are accepted starting July 1st each year. Any orders received prior to this date must be returned and asked not to send until after this date. Depending on weather conditions and availability seedlings are usually accepted through the end of February or the first of March.
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11. When can I pick up seedlings and plant them?
Containerized seedlings can be picked up for fall planting starting in October through December. Bareroot seedlings can be picked up starting in December through the end of February or the first of March depending on weather conditions and availability.
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12. How do I get a burning permit?
South Carolina doesn't issue burning permits, but if you plan to burn outside town or city limits, the law requires you to notify the Forestry Commission before starting the fire. When you call and leave your information it confirms that your burn complies with the safety precautions prescribed by state law. Each county has a special number to call if you want to burn leaves or shrubbery trimmings in your yard, or construction, land clearing burns . For all forestry, wildlife and agricultural burns call 1-800-777-FIRE.
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13. If I notify before burning, can I still get in trouble if my fire gets away?
Yes. It is against the law to allow a fire to escape. If your escaped fire burns someone else's property, you may also be held responsible for damages in civil court.
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14.What is the difference between a red flag alert and a burning ban?
A Red Flag Fire Alert is a wildfire danger warning issued by the SC Forestry Commission. The Red Flag cautions that wildfire danger is increasing, and that outdoor burning could become difficult to control.


A Red Flag Fire Alert does not prohibit outdoor burning as long as all other state and local regulations are followed. When a Red Flag is in effect, the Forestry Commission asks people to voluntarily postpone any outdoor burning.
A Burning Ban legally prohibits outdoor burning. Bans are emergency measures, declared only when outdoor burning is deemed significant threat to public safety.
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15. What does "fire season" mean and when is it?
Fire season is the time of year when high wildfire danger is most likely to develop. This varies by geographic area, depending on climate, weather patterns, and vegetation. In South Carolina, the normal fire season is January through mid-April.
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16. I hear about brush fires, woods fires, and forest fires; what's the difference?
These terms are sometimes used interchangeably to describe any wildfire burning in outdoor vegetation. The news media and fire departments tend to use the term "brush fire" while forestry organizations prefer to say "woods fire" or "forest fire".
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17. What is the difference between the Forestry Commission and the Forest Service?
The South Carolina Forestry Commission is a state agency charged with the protection, promotion, and development of South Carolina's forestland. Some of the Commission's most important jobs are wildfire protection and forest management services to private non-industrial landowners. The U.S. Forest Service is a federal agency which has control over federal land like the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests.
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18. I have some timber that I would like to sell. What should I do in order to sell it?
There are several ways this can be done. To ensure that you receive the best service and a quality job, contact a professional.  Your local Forestry Commission office can supply you with the names of registered foresters in your area who can be of assistance. It is important that you are treated fairly and that the integrity of your land is respected during the harvest operation. A professional forester can direct and advise you concerning the best methods.
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19. Where can I get state hunting and fishing licenses, and boat registrations?
The Forestry Commission does not issue these, you need to contact the Department of Natural Resources at (803)734-3888.
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20. How do I find out if I have Southern pine beetles in my timber?
Unfortunately, most people do not know they have beetle infestations in their pine timber until the damage has already been done. Trees are dying. Yellow to bright orange and dead needles on the trees is the most obvious sign; small, white popcorn-shaped pitch tubes attached to the bark is another sign. The Forestry Commission conducts periodic aerial flights to detect infestations. If beetles are observed on your property, you will be contacted by letter about the locations of the spot or spots and recommendations given on action you should take. If you think you might have Southern Pine Beetle infestation, contact your local Forestry Commission office.
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21. Can I purchase pine straw from the Forestry Commission?
The Forestry Commission only grants permits for pine straw to individuals on Sand Hills State Forest. Large blocks of straw are sold by bid to commercial straw rakers on Sand Hills and Manchester State Forests. Please contact them for more information.
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22. Who are the closest land clearing contractors, and loggers?
Contact your local Forestry Commission office for a list.
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23. When is Earth Day?
Earth Day is April 22.
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24. When is Arbor Day in South Carolina?
Arbor Day marks the beginning of tree planting season. Climate determines when this is in any given area. South Carolina's planting season begins in December and ends in mid-March. According to South Carolina law the first Friday in December of each year is observed as Arbor Day. National Arbor Day is the last Friday in April.
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25. What is global warming?
The greenhouse effect is a more recent problem which results in global warming. Human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, have combined with natural processes to generate gases including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. These trap the sun's heat inside the atmosphere and the result is global warming. It is not known but many scientists predict that, unabated, the greenhouse effect will significantly influence global weather patterns, causing rising sea levels and change both the urban environment and natural ecosystems.
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26. What is acid rain?
Acid deposition - commonly called acid rain - is caused by emissions of sulfuric dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Once released into the atmosphere they can be converted chemically into such secondary pollutants as nitric acid and sulfuric acid, both of which easily dissolve in water. The resulting acidic water droplets can be carried long distances by prevailing winds, returning to earth as acid rain, snow, or fog.
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27. Where can I get tax information on my woodland property?
Tax tips for Forest Landowners
Call your local project forester or the Forest Management Section in Columbia at (803)896-8860.
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28. What is an old growth forest?
Old growth is the final stage in the forest cycle of growth and renewal. It is characterized by large, old trees; a multi-layered canopy (varying tree heights); and large standing or fallen dead.
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29. What is the Endangered Species Act and how does it affect private landowners?
The ESA is designed to conserve threatened or endangered species until they are out of danger. An endangered species is one facing extinction in a specific location. A threatened species is one likely to become endangered. ESA lists include mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, plants, spiders, and insects. It is illegal to "take" a listed species. Taking is defined as "to harass, harm, pursue, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect." Taking applies equally to endangered species on private and public land. There are civil and criminal penalties for taking. If land provides habitat for a listed species, it will be subject to strict federal regulations, such as limitations on tree harvesting and etc.
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30. What is biodiversity?
Biological diversity refers to the variety and variability among living organisms and the ecological complexes in which they occur.
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31. Why are the tropical rainforests of South America being depleted?
The underlying causes of deforestation in the tropical forests are poverty, inequitable land distribution, low agricultural productivity, inappropriate development, weak political institutions and rapid population expansion. Nearly half the rain forest area that is cleared is done by landless farmers for shifting cultivation. Clearing land for permanent agriculture and re-settlement programs is the second biggest cause of deforestation. Wood for heating and cooking by the world's rural poor is the third.
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32. What is a multiple use forest?
Multiple use forests are used for several purposes like outdoor recreation, timber, and wildlife. The management of the resources will not necessarily give the greatest dollar return. Economic factors are considered , but they do not necessarily control management decisions. All resource values are weighed and trade-offs are made.
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33. What is a registered forester?
A registered forester is a professional trained in the art and science of managing forests. He or she has a bachelor's degree or higher degree in an accredited forestry curriculum at a college or university. Before one of these trained professionals can practice forestry they must be licensed by the Board of Registration for Foresters. To become licensed, they must pass a written or oral exam administered by the Board. A listing of registered foresters can be obtained by contacting the Foresters Registration Board at (803)896-4498.
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34. Is most forestry work out of doors?
Many foresters spend a lot of time outdoors during the first few years of their career. Typical outdoor duties might include measuring and grading trees, evaluating insect outbreaks, conducting land surveys, fighting wildfires, managing prescribed fires, laying out road systems, supervising construction of trails and planting of trees, supervising timber harvesting, or conducting research studies. Foresters also plan and direct recreational use of forestlands, manage watersheds to maximize water quality, and plan forest practices that ensure an abundance of wildlife. After a few years of on-the-ground experience and crew supervision, foresters typically advance to administrative positions and may spend less time outside.
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35. What is the difference between a forest technician and a forester?
A professional forester holds a minimum of a four-year college degree, while a technician normally has completed a two-year degree in forest technology. Professional foresters make management decisions, conduct policy analysis, and apply ecological principles to resource management. Forest technicians often work under a forester's supervision to collect data and information for the forester to make decisions. Technicians salary levels are usually less than a forester's, but technicians have more of an opportunity to work in the field than behind a desk.
For information on educational opportunities, contact:

Dr. Tom Wooten
School of Forestry
Clemson University
P.O. Box 340306
Clemson, SC 29634-0306
Phone: (864)656-3215

Brian Clark or DeAnna Eddy
Department Head Forestry Management Technology
Horry-Georgetown Technical College
4003 South Fraser Street
Georgetown, SC 29440
Phone: (843) 546-8406
Fax: (843) 546-1437
E-mail: Brian.Clark@hgtc.edu, DeAnna.Eddy@hgtc.edu
Web-site: www.hgtc.edu
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36. What must I do to become a professional forester?
To be recognized as a professional forester, you must have a minimum of a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in forestry or a related forest resources curriculum. South Carolina requires foresters to be registered in order to provide forestry services to individuals. This requires at least two years of experience and completion of a written exam.
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37. What subjects should I take in high school to prepare for a degree in forestry?
A college forestry program is quite rigorous and begins with basic coursework in mathematics, computer science, chemistry, botany, zoology, soils, ecology, and the social sciences. Take as much mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, earth sciences, and natural resources coursework as your high school offers. Also, it is extremely important to gain skills in writing and public speaking.
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38. Will jobs in forestry be available when I graduate?
As in many other professions, there is competition for entry-level jobs. Over time, opportunity shifts between public and private employers. Top students are finding jobs, though, and will continue to do so. Summer job experience in forestry can also be helpful in future employment.
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39. Can I camp on the State Forests?
The State Forests are not a part of the State Parks, Recreation, and Tourism system. However, camping is allowed on Sand Hills State Forest by permit. You need to contact Sand Hills for more information.
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40. How many leaves do trees have?
An average, large healthy tree could have about 2,000 leaves. During 60 years of its life, such a tree could grow and shed approximately 3,600 pounds of leaves. Those leaves return about 70 percent of the nutrients to the soil.
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