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Time to plant trees

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Timber is one of Georgia's most important resources. It's used for paper products, and lumber and increasingly as a fuel source. But if trees aren't replanted after harvest,  those products won't be as readily available. Plus, the air we breathe won't be quite as clean.

You don't typically think of winter as being a time to plant, but it's perfect for bare root trees, like pines. And you can get all you need from the Georgia Forestry Commission, which has enough seedlings available to plant more than 30,000 acres of trees in the state.

They don't look like much now, but these seedlings are on their way to becoming an important part of the environment, and the economy. "Trees are a renewable resource. They're a sustainable resource. They're good for the environment, as well as wildlife habitat and commercially," said Phil Roberson, who is spending his winter vacation working on his tree farm, a stewardship farm in Lee County.

He said, "I try to plant back a few thousand trees every year in some of the areas we've harvested."

These trees were planted about 25 years ago, and will soon to be harvested. Yesterday, Roberson planted 1,000 Virginia Pines, to continue the cycle.  Roberson said, "What we try to do is every time we harvest some timber through the saw wood stage. We try to go back and plant an equal amount in seedlings and start the process all over again."

He got the seedlings and the equipment to plant them through the forestry commission. Chief Ranger Tom Lambert said, "Now is the best time to plant the bare root seedlings and that's the type of seedling which we handle."

The rain we've had in South Georgia lately has prepared the ground for the seedlings, and Lambert says he hopes more folks like Roberson will make the effort to put trees back in the ground.  He said, "It's very vital. Not only to us, but everyone in Georgia."

Roberson said, "You know it's good for the environment. Trees are things that provide all the necessary living spaces for wildlife, it's good aesthetically. It's just a good thing to do for the land." Giving back to the land, so that it can continue to give of itself.

You don't just have to have a tree farm to get seedlings from the forestry commission. You can order as few as 10, up to several thousand. You can even rent the equipment needed to plant them. If you want to buy seedlings from the Forestry commission in Lee or Dougherty Counties, you can call 430-5122.

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