PORTFOLIO: Meadowfarm

Meadowfarm – Orange County, Va (2000 – present)

Meadowfarm and the Taylor timberlands consist of more than 10,000 acres of plantation pine, mixed hardwoods and rolling pastureland in the rolling Piedmont of Orange County, Virginia. The center of the estate is Meadowfarm, an 18th century home built by Robert Taylor, a relative of Presidents James Madison and Zachary Taylor. Much of the Taylor property is part of the original land grant from the King of England.

The primary focus of the forest management activity has been to manage the 5,332 Taylor timberlands, which consist of more than 3,000 acres of plantation loblolly pine. When VFWG was first hired to manage the Taylor property, many of the pine plantations were overdue for a “first thinning” and had begun to stagnate and suffer from small live-crowns. As a result, our primary objective was to thin those areas in the greatest need of thinning. Since the initial thinnings, we have conducted second and even third thinnings where the stand would support them. However, in an attempt to distribute age classes more evenly and create younger, more vigorous plantations, some of the older, less vigorous, and/or poorly stocked stands have been clearcut and reforested with the latest generation of genetically improved growing stock. Until now, the management objective has been selective thinning to reduce stocking rates to a level that maximizes growth of the largest and best “crop” trees. This has included preserving high quality hardwoods (poplar, red oak and white oak) developing in the understory – trees that could form the forest of tomorrow as the pine slowly and naturally transitions to a hardwood forest.

In the near future, we plan to begin a series of understory burns in some of the more mature pine plantations, in hopes of eliminating woody growth and promoting warm season grasses. Over time, this should enhance the quail habitat.

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