Frequently Asked Questions - Seedlings

Can I buy the most genetically advanced slash and loblolly pine seedlings from the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC)?

Yes. The GFC does not withhold the best genetic material for planting on its own forestland. The very best seedlings are available to the public on a first come-first serve basis.

Some nurseries sell single-family seedlots, the Georgia Forestry Commission currently sells large seed orchard mixes, along with some small family mixes of elite seedlings, such as our Elite Straight Loblolly and our Georgia Giants (three families of each). As seed permits, the GFC plans to begin selling single families on a limited basis. What is the difference?

Single family seedlots mean the seeds all come from the same mother tree. As a result, all the seedlings from a single-family seedlot are closely related. In a mixed seedlot, the seeds are derived from a number of mother trees and therefore more genetically diverse.

Is there an advantage to planting single families as opposed to mixed families?

Maybe. In a mixed seedlot the genetic value is the average of the families in the mix. If you are lucky enough to plant a single family that is above average you gain an advantage. If the family is below average, you don't. Unfortunately, the very best families are always in high demand and frequently not available to many customers.

Are there advantages to multi-family plantings?

Yes. Multi-family plantings, because of their diversity, are better buffered against unusual shifts in weather or environment. Additionally, families are ranked based on average performance. Some seedlings from lesser ranked families may have exceptional qualities. Multi-family plantings can include these outstanding individuals that may ultimately be an important component of the final harvest.

How does the genetic diversity of multi-family plantings affect fusiform rust resistance?

Research has shown that some rust resistance in pines is the result of a gene-for-gene mechanism. Simply put, this means that a family that demonstrates resistance to one strain of the fungus may be susceptible to another strain of the pathogen. Since it's impossible to predict what fungal strain a plantation may encounter, a multi-family planting may provide more insurance.