About Bailey Mill Plantation
The Tree Farming Process - Southern Yellow Pine
- Site prep - Following a clearcut harvest, the first step to establish a new forest is preparing the site for planting. This step includes the use of large Bulldozers, D6 or D8 in size with a large, serrated V blade to shear stumps and distribute logging debris. In some cases, logging debris may need to be piled and burned depending on the quantity of debris. Following shearing and/or raking, a large bulldozer pulls a Savannah Harrow to create large Beds which mound the soil for planting the seedlings out of the wet soils on Bailey Mill’s rich, coastal soils. These beds also create valleys on each side for the water to drain, also allowing sunlight to warm the sides of the beds and the root environment creating an optimal soil condition for seedling growth. Planting seedlings on these very wet, rich soils without bedding risks low survival rates and stunted growth as the roots would be saturated in water reducing needed oxygen uptake necessary for growth.
- HWC (Herbaceous Weed Control) - After the beds have been prepared, approximately three months of waiting is required to allow the sites weeds and woody vegetation to sprout fully in the hot- and humid summer months, usually through September. Then chemical site Preparation is accomplished by spraying the site with the appropriate herbicide mixture via helicopter application. This kills the aggressive weeds within the next few of months, making the site fully prepared for replanting with very little competition.
- Planting - Once the HWC application has had an opportunity to kill the weeds and to assimilate into the soils, waiting three months from application is best practice. Planting is best done in December/January. A lot of logistics goes into establishing a new plantation. For each site, most importantly, we must choose the optimal Genetic makeup of the seedlings, as well as the spacing and density. Bailey Mill Plantation uses only the very best genetics as there is nothing more important for a 20 plus year crop. Mass Control Pollination (MCP) or Varietals (Clones), from Arbor Gen with a stocking density of 500 to 550 trees per acre is our standard. Most recently the lower end of this is better as with good site preparation and excellent seedlings survival near 100%, maybe 450 trees per acre is better? Bailey Mill Plantation is constantly evaluating growth, form, survival and NPV of our Plantation Establishment Investment.
- Fertilization - The young pine plantations often require fertilization to provide more Phosphorus and Nitrogen to accelerate growth to their maximum potential. Soil sampling and analysis provide the data to build the appropriate fertilizer mixture. Clemson University is a good soil analysis partner.
- 1st thinning - - This is typically the first harvest that occurs on a Southern Yellow Pine Plantation and occurs in the first 7-10 years of growth. At this stage, most of the trees have reached a marketable size for pulpwood, which is used to manufacture paper products. The goal of a 1st thinning harvest is to open the stand and provide more sunlight to the crown of the trees and reducing competition for soil nutrients. Often this first thinning is a row thinning, removing every 4th or 5th row and then selecting poorly formed or weaker trees on each side of the row to reduce competition, allowing the remaining trees to accelerate growth into larger diameter, higher value sawtimber.
- Intermediate Stand Treatments - Also known as Timber Stand Improvements (TSI). These forestry activities include practices such as prescribed burning, herbicide weed control, fertilization and salvage cuts to control disease outbreaks or other anomalies. These treatments are often applied in the interim years between thinning harvests and are used to achieve a wide variety of management goals and objectives.
- 2nd & 3rd thinning - This type of harvest has the same purpose as the first thinning. Reducing each trees competition for sunlight and nutrients. But, these thinning’s are a “marked thinning” by a professional forester. This ensures the lower quality trees, i.e., smaller, forked, scared, crooked etc., are removed on the right spacing, leaving the dominant, and co-dominant, best formed trees to continue growing high quality sawtimber. Typically, these harvests are conducted between 14-25 years of growth and thus contain increasing quantities of sawtimber and poles, increasing the value of the harvest revenue and NPV of the forest investment.
- Final Harvest - This harvest completes the rotation for the pine plantation This is typically a clear-cut harvest conducted at the end of a growth cycle. The timing of this harvest is ideally when the tree has reached biological and financial maturity. In other words when the mean annual increment of growth slows, and the market conditions are best for monetizing the highest value for the wood products. All the trees on the site, are harvested and then sent to sawmills or pole yards for use in high-value forest products, such as sawn boards, beams poles and piling.
- Marketing & Selling Timber - Working with a consulting forestry team such as Wise Batten, Inc is suggested to market and sell the timber to various wood products mills throughout the state of South Carolina. As consulting foresters, their team helps us to navigate the entire process from harvest boundary layout, timber cruising, putting out timber sale bid packets to drafting contracts with Loggers which govern the harvesting process and commercial transaction ensuring the landowner maximum value for their crop. Being close to the timber market is one of the most important responsibilities of the private land owner but consulting forestry resources are invaluable.
Best Management Practices (BMP'S)
- Best Management Practices (BMPs) – BMPs are voluntary standards that professionals choose to follow when conducting forestry operations. The goal of these standards, developed by the South Carolina Forestry Commission, is to reduce the environmental impact of these operations, many of which involve the operation of heavy machinery and equipment. One of the biggest concerns of the Forestry Commission is to protect water quality, and thus many BMPs deal with water quality issues that may arise during a timber harvest.
- These forest and wildlife management activities all make us proud to maintain and enhance the rural, low country sporting lifestyle that is so important to our family values and generations yet to come.
Timber & Trees
- Growth Patterns - This species can reach a height of 95–115 ft with a diameter of 1.3–4.9 ft at maturity. Exceptional specimens may reach 160 ft tall, the largest of the southern pines. The typical growth period for this species is 24 years, however, some genetically improved seedlings have been known to reach maturity in as little as 15 years.
- Range & Growth Conditions - Loblolly pines grow throughout the Southeast, and along the Atlantic coast. The trees thrive in a variety of soils and at altitudes from sea level to 2,400 feet.
- Key Traits & Identification - Loblolly pines have the smallest needles of the Southern Yellow Pines in bundles of 3 and measure 4.7–8.7 in long. Relatively smooth, fissured, brownish gray bark is the norm.
- Harvesting Loblolly- this species is typically harvested anywhere from 20-28 years old depending on the target wood products.
- Fun Fact - The common name, Loblolly, was given because this pine species was originally found mostly in lowlands and swampy areas.
- Our primary objective at Baily mill is to grow timber to supply fiber to local mills. We produce both pulpwood and sawtimber products that provide the raw materials needed to support the many different mills throughout the low country.
- Our timber is also managed in a way that minimizes environmental impact while also cultivating wildlife habitats for species such as white-tailed deer, Eastern turkey, and bobwhite quail.
- When done properly, timber harvesting operations can produce both income for the landowners, as well as quality habitat for wildlife.
- Harvesting operations are most beneficial to wildlife when they are used to mimic natural disturbances to which the wildlife has evolved and adapted.
- Our most recent planting was 90 acres in 2017 on baily mill plantation