Clemson Extension Forestry and Wildlife

Basal Area: What It Means and How to Measure It

If you have had interactions with a forester before or read forestry-related articles, you probably have heard the term basal area mentioned at some point. For some reason, basal area has always seemed to be this mystical term that folks struggle with understanding what it is and why it’s important. In this article, we will […]

Forestry Herbicide Series- Herbicide Basics

a woman using a backpack sprayer to apply a foliar herbicide.

Herbicides are an invaluable tool in forest management for controlling undesirable vegetation. To use them safely and effectively, one must understand a few basic principles. This article is the first in a series of articles on herbicides for forestry applications. To start, we will look at the basic principles one must understand to utilize herbicides. […]

The Story of the Longleaf Ecosystem

tall longleaf pine trees in rows with understory grasses.

The Longleaf PineAmong the Southern pines, longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) has several key characteristics that have allowed it to grow on some of the harshest sites in the southeastern United States. One is its fire tolerance. Fire is a critical component of the longleaf pine ecosystem, and longleaf evolved with understory species, like the bunchgrasses, […]

Personal Protective Equipment for Chainsaw Users

orange chaps laying on the ground

In the first part of this series on chainsaw safety, Patrick Hiesl talked about the safety features of modern chainsaws ( Now, we are telling you about the personal protective equipment available to protect you from most major injuries. For chainsaw users, Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, includes leg, foot, eye, hearing, face, and hand […]

The Safety Features of a Modern Chainsaw

Chainsaw with arrows and labels pointing to the safety features.

Now that the outside temperatures are cooling down, it is a great time to start working on cutting some firewood for next year or cleaning up some of those trees that the summer storms knocked over. Many of you have probably used chainsaws for years or decades and are well-versed in the use of them. […]

Tractors and Implements for Forest Landowners – Part 4 Vegetative Management

Image of a rotary cutter. Photo credit: Stephen Pohlman, Clemson University.

Our series’ first, second, and third articles covered tractor selection, ground contact implements, and property maintenance (see links at the bottom of the article). The fourth part will cover two primary vegetative management implements that the forest landowner should consider adding to their arsenal. The first implement for consideration is a rotary cutter, commonly referred […]

Pine Stand Thinning

Three-year-old planted lobolly pine exhibiting apical dominance.

Forest management practices are recommended for various reasons to meet landowner management objectives, including generating income, improving habitat for wildlife species, and, most importantly, maintaining a healthy, productive forest.  Properly timed thinnings in natural and planted pine stands will provide all these benefits. Thinnings are “intermediate cuttings that are aimed primarily at controlling the growth […]

Understory Foliar Spray Applications in More Developed Stands

Understory “carpet” of Nepalese browntop (pre-treatment).

Problematic plants and cost-share An expanse of mature or well-developed forestland in the southeast contains plant species deemed undesirable by landowners. Plants may be suppressing 1. forest regeneration, 2. preferred wildlife habitat, 3. aesthetics, or 4. simply hindering overall enjoyment of the area. These plants may be non-native, invasive species such as tree of heaven […]

Identifying Common Longleaf Pine Planting Mistakes

Longleaf seedlings. Photo credit: David Dickens, University of Georgia,

Successfully planting longleaf pine requires attention to detail. Recognizing mistakes may mean the difference between moving forward with a successful stand or starting over. Here is what you should be looking for: It is highly recommended that you work with your planting contractor so that you can check in during the planting process. If you’re […]

Pine Straw: Considerations for Production on Your Land

Pine straw box baler. Photo Credit: Ryan Bean, Clemson Extension

With spring weather and homeowners turning their focus to outdoor projects, pine straw sales are beginning to pick up quickly. Pine straw has become a favored mulch on residential and commercial sites. The qualities that make pine straw an essential part of a woodland ecosystem, such as moisture-holding capacity, protection for roots against temperature extremes, […]