Optimum prescribed fire conditions for foliage regrowth among longleaf pine seedlingsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
We synthesized experimental observations in central Louisiana to estimate the season and precipitation conditions for optimal post-scorch foliage regrowth among longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) seedlings. After severe crown scorch, starch reserves support foliage regrowth and are at their maximum concentration in March through May. When sustained longleaf pine seedling vigor is desired, prescribed fire in March through May is optimal if seedlings have not experienced prolonged drought. We observed that 2 sequential years of severe drought reduced peak starch for 2 years after drought ended. Therefore, when high seedling vigor is desired and prolonged drought has occurred, a prescribed fire delay or other means of vegetation control may be needed until foliage mass and peak starch levels are restored. Furthermore, when seedling development has advanced beyond the grass stage, prescribed fire should be applied during the period of peak starch concentration, but before or after there is a high risk of terminal bud mortality.