NORTH CAROLINA – Using plant materials suited to the conditions of the planned planting site helps ensure restoration projects are successful. This is why employees from North Carolina State University’s Camcore program, together with National Forests in North Carolina, and Chattahoochee-Oconee and Cherokee National Forests worked to plant almost 1,300 trees at Beech Creek and Chilhowee Seed Orchards in North Carolina and Tennessee on January 22 and 23.
The planted trees will provide a future source of seed for southern Appalachian forest restoration and research and are key to the success of restoration programs such as the Shortleaf Pine Initiative. They are of five species that will increase the diversity of the seed orchards, also known as Genetic Resource Management Areas.
The newly planted shortleaf and pitch pine trees will be sources of seeds that can be used anywhere within the southern Appalachian region. However, seeds from two of the other species planted, eastern hemlock and table mountain pine, will only be used in restoration projects in the geographic areas from which they originate. Their seeds will be specially tracked so future seedlings can be matched to the specific conditions of the geographic area of a restoration project. This will increase the chance that the seedlings will thrive. The fifth species planted, Carolina hemlock, is a small test planting to determine if this species can be grown at the two orchards.