A tract of land in Dawson County will soon be growing some distinctive trees whose seeds will benefit Georgia for decades to come. The Georgia Forestry Commission has planted 60 specially-grafted shortleaf pines and 70 Virginia pines on a 2.5-acre site adjacent to its office on Highway 53. The acreage is located across from Uncle Shuck’s, and had lain fallow for some time.
“The shortleaf pine grafted root stock is about three feet tall now,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Reforestation Chief Jeff Fields. “It was grown from genetically improved material at GFC’s Arrowhead Seed Orchard and is expected to be an excellent seed source in the future.”
Virginia pine seedlings were also planted on the tract. Seeds from both species will be produced for the GFC’s Reforestation Department, which sells a wide variety of pine and hardwoods online and at its Flint River Nursery.
Fields said the project was made possible by a US Forest Service grant that enabled foresters to combine pine root stock with new growth material from superior shortleaf trees. The resulting seedlings are now two years old and can be expected to begin producing their own seeds in about eight years.
“This is going to enhance the appearance of the land on Highway 53,” said Fields, “and it’s a great opportunity for passers-by to appreciate the stand’s progress. Trees are a renewable resource and these trees will be living proof that everybody can enjoy.”