By Montana Grant

Posted: October 1, 2020

With all the recent fires, reforestation is an important job. Once the forest has burned, the area is perfect for replanting. The ash and carbon help create nutrients for new plants to thrive.

The greatest worry is erosion, so the faster plants and trees can get rooted the better. Many landowners burn their ditches and fields to enrich the soil. It only takes a few weeks to see green grass coming back. Native peoples would routinely burn certain areas to create future grazing for horses and Buffalo.

Pine cones are seeds. These unique seeds are ready to plant. In some cases, the pine cones need to be heated by fire and explode. When this happens, the seeds disperse and are ready for the next generation. The Lodgepole Pine requires fire to reproduce.

Other pines sprout from their cones. Each cone contains many seeds, or nuts, that can sprout into a new tree. It may take 75 years or more for a new forest to regenerate. The Lodgepole seeds are not viable until the tree is at least 25 or more years old. If another fire happens before that, the forest will struggle to return.

Here is a way that you can help replant a forest. Gather a bucket of the type of pine cone native to the site. Not all pine cones are the same. You may want to mix several types of cones for diversity. Dig a small hole and plant the cone so that half of it is above the ground. Space the cones a few feet apart. The attachment point on the cone is the bottom. Step on the dirt around the cone to hold it inn place. Now plant another. Nature will take care of the rest. You will amazed at how many trees can be started in this way.

You can also create a tree nursery in your yard. Use the 5-inch black commercial pots filled with soil. Start your pine cones the same way. Water as needed but do not allow the cones to get to moist. They can rot. Ones the seedlings are a foot or so tall, transplant them afield. You can also dig a trench and plant hundreds of cones. Once they are a foot tall, pull them out and wrap a bundle of bare rooted trees in a damp cloth or newspaper. Transport afield and plant.

You can wait on nature to reforest an area, but a little help cannot hurt!

Montana Grant

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