White pine is the best species for growing on marginal land in Tennessee. According to the University of Tennessee Agricultural Department, white pines will grow on sandy, well-drained soils. The mature trees reach a height of 100 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 feet. This makes the white pine ideal for construction timber. Once the trees are planted, very little maintenance is required as a properly laid-out pine plantation will stunt all other tree species growth.
Remove all large brush from the planting site with a tractor and an attached mechanical bush-hog-mower. If the planting area does not have heavily competitive vegetation, you do not need to prepare the area. Plant pine seedlings between December and March on unprepared land. Wait until February if you cleared the land.
Create either a 10-by-10-foot or a 12-by-12-foot planting grid. A white pine seedling will be planted at each crossing point of the grid lines
Push a planting bar 6 inches deep into the soil. Rock the bar back and forth. Pull the bar from the soil.
Insert the roots of the pine seedling into the hole. Push the hole closed with your foot.
Apply a recommend herbicide three years after the initial planting. The reduction of competition from other vegetation will ensure a healthy pine plantation.
Keep all livestock from the pine tree plantation area. Maintain and remove all dead branches. This will protect the site from wildfire.
Prune the lower limbs on the pine trees with the pruning saw as the tree matures. The overall goal is to keep the lower 17 feet of the main trunk free from any defects and limbs. Trees must be no larger than 7 inches in diameter to ensure proper healing prior to final harvest.
Thin the pine stand when the density exceeds 400 trees per acre. Lower density pine plantings will not require thinning during the 30 to 40 years it will take for the trees to reach maturity. Remove pine trees that are not straight and have any surface defects. The thinned trees are typically sold as pulpwood through a local tree contractor. Thinning typically occurs during at the 25-year stage of the plantation.