Site Preparation: Prescribed Burning

To Burn or Not to Burn

Control (or prescribed) burning is a forestry tool many landowners like to use to prepare tracts for planting. What does burning accomplish and should you spend the money on it?

A primary benefit of control burning is to improve planter access by reducing logging debris and vegetation. The clearing effect of a controlled burn allows hand planters or machines to cover the entire area, be more accurate with tree spacing, and make good contact between the seedling and the soil. Generally, any effects on vegetation are temporary. The brush can be top-killed by burning, but the root system remains unaffected and will often sprout back vigorously. Occasionally, a fire will be hot enough to affect the root system. Really hot fires can have detrimental effects on the litter layer that helps prevent erosion and sheet washing on slopes and adds organic matter to the soil over time. Hot fires should be avoided for these reasons. Unless logging debris is very heavy, hand planters and machines are usually able to work around tops and brush piles and give a quality planting job with the adequate spacing of seedlings. The fire lines that are typically necessary for control burning can improve access for walking and four-wheelers but must be carefully installed to prevent erosion. Seeding with grasses or wildlife beneficial plants should be considered.

The cost of control burning can range from around $10 per acre to $50 or more. Landowners should consider whether this cost is necessary to get a quality-planting job. Spending this money on weed control and improved genetics is often a better choice, simply by investing a few more dollars per acre. Control burning can be a valuable tool but consider if it is essential and review all your options that could be better investments in the long term.

Your experienced ArborGen Reforestation Advisor (RA) can assist you in looking at your goals and options as you begin site preparation. Contact the RA in your area.

John Pait, VP of Sales and Marketing, Retires

Congratulations to John Pait on his recent retirement as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. John has been instrumental in developing and implementing ArborGen’s strategy to transform the business of forestry and timberland management for private landowners, consultants, and corporate entities through the adoption of advanced genetics.

Before joining ArborGen, John was the Senior Vice President of Business Development for CellFor Corporation in Atlanta, Ga., led forestry R&D at Smurfit-Stone, and then managed the Forest Productivity Groups at Georgia-Pacific, The Timber Company, and Plum Creek Timber Company.

John Pait

John Pait

Vice President of Sales & Marketing

At ArborGen, John provided commercial and strategic leadership for its global business, including seedling sales, marketing, and product development. John has served on multiple industry boards, including Forest Landowners Association, the Forest Resources Association, and the National Science Foundation Center for Advanced Forest Systems. A native of Atlanta, John received his BSFR in Forest Management and MS in Silviculture at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Andrew Baum, president and CEO, said, “I want to thank John for his many contributions to the success of ArborGen. He will be leaving a space that will be impossible to fill. Fortunately for us, he has agreed to work as needed on a contract basis, and I look forward to tapping into his advice and forestry expertise.”

“I look forward to this next step in life with Carolyn and my family. They have been the basis of support and love over my career, and I am excited to give them my full attention,” said John.

Welcome Joseph Watters, ArborGen Selma Nursery Manager

Joseph Watters

Joseph Watters

Nursery Manager

ArborGen is pleased to announce Joseph Watters is the new Nursery Manager in Selma.

Joseph comes to us from Plantation Tree Company where he was the Greenhouse and Container Yard Manager. There he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of greenhouses and a two-acre container yard. Along with other duties, he dealt with issues involving plant disease, nutrition, and irrigation.

Joseph has a bachelor’s of science degree in Ag Horticulture, Fruit and Vegetable Production. Joseph is a native of Selma and enjoys hunting, fishing, sports, and growing a vegetable garden. He also loves spending time with his friends and enjoys traveling.

Please stop by and welcome Joe to the ArborGen team.

Congratulations to ArborGen Reforestation Advisor Greg Hay

The Society of American Foresters has honored one member from each of the 11 SAF voting districts with the 2022 Presidential Field Forester Award. This award recognizes members who have dedicated their professional careers to the application of forestry on the ground using sound scientific methods and adaptive management strategies.

Congratulations to Greg Hay as he has been awarded the SAF 2022 Presidential Field Forester Award for District 9.

Over the years, Hay has served in several SAF leadership roles such as chair of the Ouachita SAF, chair of Caddo Chapter, secretary-treasurer of Arkansas Division, and chair of SAF Certification Review Board.

Seedling Availability Map

We have very limited availability of Bareroot Loblolly Pine for the Piedmont region. It’s never too early to start planning for next year’s planting so please don’t hesitate to contact your Reforestation Advisor or ArborGen Nursery with any questions.

Need a trusted partner to guide the way?
Get in touch with a Reforestation Advisor to explore your options!
Paul Jeffreys, Ph.D.

Paul Jeffreys, Ph.D.

Western Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi

205-712-9582

Geoffrey Lee Hill

Geoffrey Lee Hill

Georgia, Virginia, Eastern Tennessee, Northern North Carolina

912-655-1725

Shannon Stewart

Shannon Stewart

Eastern Texas, Southern Louisiana

936-239-6189

Kylie Burdette

Kylie Burdette

Southern North Carolina, South Carolina

864-650-4454

Jason Cromer

Jason Cromer

Florida Gulf Coast, South Alabama, Southwest Georgia

229-310-0648

Greg Hay

Greg Hay

Arkansas, Northern Louisiana, and Oklahoma

501-350-4217

Jason Watson

Jason Watson

Director, U.S. Sales

404-840-7489