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Spacing Recommendations With Southern Pine Beetle Concerns

Acceptable initial seedling stocking rates include a maximum of approximately 600 seedlings per acre and a minimum of approximately 300 seedlings per acre according to Tennessee's Department of Agriculture's Division of Forestry.  This stocking requirement applies to all pine species.

A suggested spacing that is gaining popularity across beetle infested areas is 10' X 10' or 435 trees per acre.  This allows trees to get to a larger merchantable size and makes thinning operations more profitable.  This wide spacing allows mechanical operations to enter the stand with much less resistance and lowers the potential of harming residual trees.

Most pine seedlings have been genetically improved for increased growth characteristics, better survival ratios, and more resistance to diseases then the seedlings planted 20 years ago.  Survival rates for these improved seedlings are usually greater than 90%.  Thus, there is no need to plant more seedlings per acre to compensate for lower survival rates.  The increased growth of these trees also offsets a greater number of seedlings being planted.



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