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Our Foundation is in Research

Why Are Virginia Trees Your Best Choice?

The Virginia Department of Forestry has been growing seedlings for Virginia landowners for almost 100 years. When you put your money in the ground in the form of seedlings, you need to start with the best stock available; stock suited for Virginia soils and climate. The cultural practices that we use in growing seedlings in our seedbeds are based on more than 40 years of research and experience in quality production.

VDOF offers nearly 40 species of bare-root seedlings that have been grown at one of Virginia’s two State Forestry Centers: the Augusta Forestry Center, near Waynesboro, and the Garland Gray Forestry Center near Littleton. Our seedlings are sold directly from the seedbed without replanting, and seedling age is indicated with 1-0, 2-0 and 3-0 (one-, two- and three-year-old).

In addition to the wide selection of bare-root seedlings, we also offer specialty seedling packs and seed mixtures suitable for various wildlife habitats, use in wetland areas and for erosion control.

Cooperative Efforts

The Virginia State Nurseries are proud to be a member of The Cooperative Tree Improvement Program at North Carolina State University. The mission of the Cooperative is to economically increase forest productivity through the genetic manipulation of loblolly pine populations. Enhanced productivity through breeding, selecting and deploying superior loblolly pine families is a major goal of the Cooperative.

  • Due to the cooperative sharing of genetic material, all of the best families that are suitable for Virginia are in our program.
  • Selections have continuously placed extra emphasis on properties desirable for solid wood products (straightness, crown characteristics).
  • Some families from other provenances and cold hardiness zones either fail in Virginia or perform erratically.

Advantages of Our Genetically-Improved Loblolly Pine

  • Improved genetics for fast-growing, straight and disease resistant seedlings.
  • Increased growth and yield over unimproved seedlings.
  • Increased profits from improved growth.
  • Our seedlings go completely dormant for shipping, and fully dormant seedlings withstand shipment and planting significantly better than non-dormant seedlings.
  • We top clip our seedlings, which controls the shoot/root ratio contributing to excellent survival rates.
  • Pioneered pales weevil treatment.

Benefits of Top Clipping Seedlings

Top clipping seedlings is a nursery practice that makes a big difference in seedling performance. This practice controls the shoot/root ratio, which is the single biggest reason for good survival. Our research in Virginia has shown repeatedly that seedlings with a shoot/root ratio of more than 2:1 will not survive as consistently well as seedlings with a shoot/root ratio of less than 2:1.

Importance of Dormancy

Our seedlings go completely dormant. This is very important for storage, shipping and planting. Fully-dormant seedlings can be stored for two to three months without survival loss and can withstand shipment and planting much better than non-dormant seedlings. Virginia is at the northern end of the loblolly growing range. Garland Gray Forestry Center participated in a cold hardiness and dormancy study as a member of the Auburn University Nursery Cooperative. As expected, this study showed that the more northern loblolly families are much more cold hardy. Our families are quicker to go dormant and slower to come out of dormancy. Southern families react much faster to a warm spell and tend to come out of dormancy sooner. Due to warmer weather, seedlings grown farther south frequently never go completely dormant.

Pales Weevil Treatments

Pales weevil feeds on the stems of pine seedlings, primarily in newly-cutover stands being replanted. This insect can have a devastating effect on seeding survival, ultimately causing high mortality in newly-planted pine stands.

To successfully guard against pales weevil, the stem must be treated with permethrin. Studies resulted in a viable application method, and VDOF pioneered the use of this technique and treatment. VDOF’s treatment method fully covers the stem, treating the most vulnerable part of the seedling. Simply applying permethrin over the top of seedlings with a three-point hitch sprayer is not effective because the chemical does not reach and cover the stem.

Virginia’s Best Genetics

Our research program continues to improve growth and yield performance by breeding the "best with the best." We can differentiate among our best genetics and rate them for growth and yield performance. Improved seedlings, can show a 35 to 90 percent gain in growth and yield over unimproved seedlings.

To order seedlings, visit our on-line store.

Last modified: Monday, 06-Feb-2017 10:48:02 EST