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Nursery & Tree Improvement

The Nursery & Tree Improvement program focuses on providing improved seed and high quality seedlings at competitive prices to all landowners in South Carolina.

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 planted in our seed orchards at the Niederhof Forestry Center are transferred to the ArborGen Taylor nursery, where seedlings are produced and distributed. Both the Niederhof and Taylor Nursery are the main locations related to our program:

ArborGen Taylor Nursery – seedlings for sale

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.