Tree Planting: What, Where, & How We Plant

September 27th, 2019

The Aria® brand believes it’s important to give more than we take, which is why we plant three new trees for every one we use. These new trees aren’t planted on land we own – instead they’re planted in our national forests, where they will help increase the country’s total tree canopy. More specifically, we partner with The Longleaf Alliance to plant longleaf pine trees and recently have been planting them in the DeSoto National Forest in southern Mississippi.

While tree monocultures typically are not as beneficial for the environment as planting multiple species, the longleaf forest is unique in this respect. It has been called the “Amazon of the Southeast” because of its tremendous bio-diversity: over 800 species of plants and hundreds of animals call the longleaf forest home. And over half of the plants found in the southeast are found only in the longleaf forest, along with hundreds of wildlife species. The longleaf pine was once the dominant species in the southern U.S, covering roughly 2/3 of the southeast from Florida north to Virginia and as far west as Texas (over an estimated 90 million acres). Its land area now comprises around 3% - 5% of its original footprint and is home to several threatened and endangered species. That’s why we’re so passionate about helping to restore the longleaf pine forest.

Photo: The Longleaf Alliance

Unlike other species of pine, the longleaf requires a regular presence of fire to thrive (every 2-10 years). The tree’s bud is covered by a thick bundle of needles, protecting young plants from being consumed by the fire (the needles burn while the bud is protected); meanwhile more mature trees are protected by their dense bark. Fire that otherwise consumes Slash and Loblolly pine have limited effects on the longleaf. Prescribed fire is important because it temporarily clears out the understory and makes a better habitat for the native plants and animals, which in turn serve as food sources for species like the bobwhite quail, turkeys, and gopher tortoises.

Photo: The Longleaf Alliance

Fire is also important before planting of new longleaf pine trees (natural regeneration also occurs). Seedlings are raised in a nursery and then planted in the forest during the winter months (Nov – Feb). To prepare the soil for planting, prescribed fire is used to burn off the understory and make room for the new seedlings. You can see in the picture below how dark the ground looks as a result of the fire. Trees are usually planted at a rate of approximately 600 trees per acre and will then begin to develop their extensive taproot system underground.

Photo: The Longleaf Alliance

The Aria® brand is proud of its efforts to restore this beautiful and valuable piece of the American environment. Join us as we journey towards a better tomorrow.

Partnering with The Longleaf Alliance

The Longleaf Alliance is on a mission to guide the restoration, stewardship, and conservation of the longleaf ecosystem. They collect and distribute unbiased information about the management and restoration of the longleaf pine forests to landowners, managers, policy makers, educators, and the public. With emphasis on tree regeneration, groundcover restoration, and responsible management of prescribed fire and herbicides, The Longleaf Alliance looks at the full picture of how to develop a sustainable longleaf habitat.

For more information about The Longleaf Alliance, visit www.longleafalliance.org.