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Nursery & Tree Improvement

For the 2024 growing season, there are no plans for seedlings to be grown at the SC Forestry Commission’s Taylor Nursery in Edgefield County. The SC Forestry Commission is currently evaluating the Arborgen proposed contract amendment concerning future operations at Taylor Nursery and the future of the seedling production and sales program. There are three in-state private tree seedling nurseries that may be able to supply seedlings to SC landowners. These private nurseries are listed below.

  • ArborGen – Blenheim Nursery – Kylie Burdette, Phone (864) 650-4454, Email – kmburde@arborgen.com
  • IFCO – Windsor Nursery – Andrew Stewart (336) 613-7654, Email – astewart@ifcoseedlings.com
  • Weyerhaeuser – Quail Ridge Nursery – Dale Fisher, Phone (252) 633-7165, Email – Richard.fisher@wy.com

The Nursery & Tree Improvement program focuses on providing improved seed and high quality seedlings to South Carolina landowners. The Forestry Commission is in discussions with Arborgen and expects to be able offer an update soon.

Tree improvement is based on the combination of silvicultural and genetic principles to increase (volume, straightness) or decrease (incidence of rust and forking) the value of traits of interest in tree crops. The natural variation of species (mainly Loblolly Pine) is manipulated through specific tree breeding and progeny testing. In this way, new superior families are selected in reproductive cycles, which include several recombination and selection of the best-formed families. Our seed orchards located in the Niederhof Forestry Center were established with high quality seeds from loblolly pine families from the 2nd and 3rd breeding cycles.

The open-pollinated families are the result of the work shared over many years by members of the North Carolina State Tree Improvement Cooperative. As full members of the Cooperative, currently, we receive technical assistance and access to various benefits such as database support, free access to improved genetic material, and workload and costs shared with other members.

The best selections are planted in our seed orchards at the Niederhof Forestry Center.

Niederhof Forestry Center – tree improvement

In addition, we have progeny tests, clone banks, and demonstration plantations distributed across the state, including other locations in the program.