ArcheWild Planting Services Helps Reforest Spruce Knob

ArcheWild Helps Reforest Spruce Knob

ArcheWild staff plant 1000s of maple, oak, and birch seedlings on the highest mountain in West Virginia

ArcheWild Planting Services Helps Reforest Spruce Knob

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) contracted ArcheWild Planting Services to plant 1000s of trees on a retired pasture on Spruce Knob.  Spruce Knob is the highest and wettest mountain in West Virginia at 4863 feet and located just south of Dolly Sods Wilderness area.  Trees included sugar maple, red oak, white oak, black birch, and yellow birch.  ArcheWild previously collected seeds from the area and from other high elevation sites in the state.  The new trees are genetically attuned to the cold winters and high winds in such a harsh environment.

The very windy, quite cold, and non-stop drizzling rain made the planting especially memorable; we even enjoyed a brief snow flurry.

ArcheWild Planting Services conducted a post-project review about a year after planting and found that about 70-80% seedling survival.  A few trees had been eaten by rabbits and some of the birch were probably just too small to survive.  But the oaks and maples had firmly rooted and appeared to be growing strongly.

This planting supplemented several thousand previously planted red spruce.

ArcheWild supports reforestation and riparian restoration projects throughout West Virginia by collecting seeds from appropriate locations.  We condition the seeds and germinate in plug trays.  And then we produce larger container material, which can take several years to reach a usable size.  ArcheWild needed five years to build up enough locally-sourced inventory to support the variety of West Virginia restoration programs.  Read more about using ecoregion-appropriate plant genetics.

Equipment used included hoedads, forestry shovels, single and double tree planting bags, root dip, and lots of warm clothes.

A special thanks to Sara Street and Mike Klym who joined the planting team from Williamsport and Pittsburgh, respectively.

We appreciated the hospitality of the Mountain Institute for the use of their facilities for planning meetings and meal preparation.

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