Friday, December 13, 2019

Hemlock Restoration 2.0

It seems that the first job of any Forester is to plant trees.

Dr. 'Bud' Mayfield planting one of our hemlock seedlings

Our newest hemlock experiment is in the ground!  We are looking at how various light levels in a forest stand affect hemlock seedlings and the woolly adelgid.  In order to investigate these questions we planted hemlocks along a north-south transect in forest gaps and a control group under forest canopy.  The gaps were created as part of a previously implemented silviculture experiment that involved group selection harvests in a method termed "femelschlag" that mimics natural forest disturbance patterns.

One of our 8 planted gap treatments

An eastern hemlock seedling planted in a gap treatment

A Carolina hemlock seedling planted in a gap treatment

Although normally found on different site types, we are planting both eastern and Carolina hemlock side-by-side in this experiment in order to investigate how the two species fair under similar conditions. 

Early morning frost on one of our seedlings

Some of our volunteers planting the end of a gap transect

It was a cold, wet week and perfect for little hemlock seedlings going into the ground.  Less than desirable for the many humans out working to get those trees in the ground though.  We are incredibly thankful for all of the volunteers and extra help we received.  We could not have completed this daunting task without all of you!

Thanks so much to the Hemlock Restoration Initiative staff and volunteers who helped!  Many thanks to our U.S. Forest Service partners with Pisgah N.F. and especially the crew from the Appalachian District. And a hearty thanks to the many other volunteers who braved freezing temperatures, rain, snow, and some steep slopes to help us accomplish all of this!