Longleaf Planting Densities
Planting densities for longleaf have been the subject of many conversations among foresters, wildlife biologists and landowners for several years. What's optimum for timber production? For wildlife habitat? And is there a "happy medium" for landowners interested both in forest products and wildlife? While the debate continued, landowners were often confused and frustrated by inconsistent planting density requirements, depending on the particular landowner assistance program they consulted.
To address the situation, the Longleaf Partnership Council (LPC) facilitated an in-depth examination of the planting density issue by a diverse group of natural resource experts. That process has now resulted in the issuance of the LPC’s White Paper on Longleaf Pine Planting Density (2016) and Fact Sheet, providing landowners a discussion of the potential benefits and drawbacks of a range of planting densities.
Recognizing that there is no "right" or "wrong" answer to the question of how many seedlings to plant, the White Paper focuses on educating landowners on various factors to consider in pursuing their own unique land management objectives. For landowners wanting to balance timber and wildlife objectives, 545-605 seedlings per acre is recommended as a reasonable range. Higher stocking rates of 600-900 seedlings per acre are appropriate for landowners seeking greater early pine straw yields and improved sawtimber and pole production, especially on former agricultural fields. See the LPC's White Paper and Fact Sheet for more information.