Tree Farming A Good Alternative; Knowledge Required To Compete

Brian R. Chandler, Crain, John Barry, Blazier, Michael  |  10/10/2006 12:03:21 AM

News Release Distributed 11/19/2003

MARKSVILLE – Tree farming is a good alternative for landowners to consider in making long-term investments in their land resources, but some knowledge is required to protect that investment.

Providing such knowledge was the purpose of a recent meeting in Marksville coordinated by the LSU AgCenter.

Foresters, industry leaders and landowners met here to learn about the latest developments concerning the use of forest herbicides, how those materials can be used to enhance forest production and to be recertified in the use of herbicides.

"This is the first forestry herbicide educational meeting of its kind," said Brian Chandler, an LSU AgCenter forester in southeastern Louisiana and coordinator of the meeting. "The forest industry is constantly changing, and it is important for landowners to attend meetings like this one to remain competitive in producing forest products."

The meeting provided an opportunity for foresters and forest landowners to listen to some of the best people in the industry speak about a variety of topics related to forest herbicides and the value of the industry.

"The forestry industry is the largest agricultural industry in Louisiana and the second-largest manufacturing industry in Louisiana," said Chandler, adding, "The industry contributed more than $3.8 billion to the state’s economy last year."

Increasing Louisiana’s tree production will help bolster its forest industry and thus provide additional jobs in the production, harvesting and manufacturing of the forest industry, he stressed.

"Landowners should consider forestry as a long-term investment to increase revenue from their land," said Barry Crain, an LSU AgCenter forester in Central Louisiana, "And the application of herbicides and fertilizer can help increase their profits. This helps landowners increase the productivity of their land and increase the return on their forest investment."

Trees need moisture, nutrients and sunlight to grow. Limiting undesirable competing vegetation by applying herbicides will increase survival of the trees and free some vital elements for desirable trees.

LSU AgCenter forest researcher Dr. Mike Blazier illustrated how intensively managing a stand of timber can yield up to seven times more revenue than an unmanaged stand.

"It is important to apply herbicides while trees are young to reduce undesirable vegetation and provide advantages for the desirable species to compete for water and nutrients," said Blazier, adding, "Studies show this can increase biomass production by nearly 40 percent."

Participants said the workshop provided valuable information.

"This workshop helped me verify research and learn new techniques in growing trees," said John Tuma with International Paper Co., which brought about 20 participants.

"The meeting was very educational," said Randy Upchurch, a private landowner from Sterlington. "I liked the presentations on the use of herbicides."

In other sessions during the workshop:

–Harry Schexnayder with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry also reminded participants of the importance of using herbicides properly. "Always follow the pesticide label," Schexnayder said. "Think before, during and after spraying."

–Mark Hainds with the Longleaf Alliance discussed the landowner advantages associated with planting longleaf pine trees. "Longleaf pine is a good choice for landowners who want to manage their land for multiple uses," said Hainds, adding, "Longleaf can be used to produce pine straw, for a combination of timber/agricultural products and for wildlife."

–Participants were informed about cogongrass, an invasive species of grass that grows so thickly in forest stands that it prevents young seedlings from growing and thus takes over the forestland.

For more information on planting or managing forestland in the state – or a variety of other topics related to agriculture, family life, youth programs, community development and more – contact a parish office of the LSU AgCenter or visit the Web site at


Brian Chandler at (225) 683-3101 or
Barry Crain at (318) 473-6605 or
Mike Blazier at (318) 927-2578 or
John Chaney at (318) 473-6605 or

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