Forestry in Fluvanna County, Virginia
New River Work Area
serving Floyd, Giles, Montgomery and Pulaski Counties
Virginia Department of Forestry
100 East Main | Map and Directions to this office.
Floyd County Courthouse
Floyd, Virginia 24091
Floyd County - An Introduction
Floyd County contains 243,981 acres of land, of which 60% is forestland, and lies on the Blue Ridge plateau, southwest of Roanoke, Virginia. The elevations range from 1900 ft. at the Montgomery county line in Copper Valley to 3,971 ft. on the top of Buffalo Mountain. The county watershed is at the headwaters of the New River and the Roanoke River. Therefore, all water flows out of Floyd County.
The soils overlie metamorphic and igneous rock and are well suited to growing trees. White pine that is planted on a 10 X 10-ft. spacing will produce 40,000 bd. ft. per acre in 35 years. The average rainfall is 44" per year.
Conservation easements have boomed in recent years with 31 farms for over 4100 acres under easement. Floyd is home to many large and beautiful trees including the state champion Alleghany serviceberry. There are also many rare and threatened species including bog turtle and Gray's lily.
White pine (Pinus strobus) has always been a valuable and versatile tree. Since 1605 when the British Royal Navy reserved large white pines along the New England coast for shipmasts, until today's nursery stock, this tree is a proven asset.
White pine is native to Floyd County and the first plantations were established in the late 40's and early 50's. The furniture industry has traditionally been a large user of white pine. However, recent relocation of many furniture plants over seas and competition from Radiata pine, has reduced white pine usage in furniture. Currently, log cabin logs are using white pine as a raw material.
White pine seedlings are hand planted in cutover, prescribe burned or dozed land, while planting machines are used in openland. When planting in cutover land, aerial release is usually needed to control competing hardwoods and allow maximum growth of the seedlings. In openland, herbicides are usually applied in conjunction with the planting to reduce competition from grass.
Tipping is an additional way to derive income from white pine plantations. Tipping is the cutting off of the lower branches. Pines between the ages of 10 and 12 years loose their lower branches due to lack of sunlight. Harvesting of this material prior to this shading usually takes place at age 7-10 years.
Hand crews cut these branches, bag them and transport them to local manufacturing facilities, which in turn create Christmas roping, and wreaths. Tips are cut in October and November and are mostly purchased by the boundary.
- White Pine Tip buyer's list.
Floyd County has a strong wholesale nursery stock industry. White pine is the primary species used. Pines from 3 ft. tall to 20 ft. are dug, wrapped in burlap and shipped all over the Eastern and Central part of the county. They are used primarily for landscaping. Other species utilized besides white pine include; Norway spruce, dogwood, hemlock, Fraiser fir, birch, maples, oaks, and boxwood among others.
- See the listing of nursery growers in the county.
There is some overlap between nursery stock production and Christmas tree production, but Floyd produces huge quanties of Christmas trees also. White pine and Fraiser fir are the most poplar species. It takes a 2-year-old pine seedling or a 5-year-old fir seedling 6-8 years to reach harvestable size. Floyd was the first to mail order Christmas trees and the first to ship to foreign countries.
- See the listing of Christmas tree growers in the county.
The Virginia Outdoors Foundation currently has a conservation easement on one farm in Floyd in the amount of 266 acres, located on Panther Knob.
The New River Valley Land Trust task is working with local landowners to preserve natural, cultural and historic resources in the New River valley through easements and donations as is the Virginia Department of Forestry through it's Forest Legacy Program.
Last modified: Tuesday, 24-Jan-2017 11:23:03 EST