As environmental stewards, planting trees is one of our many responsibilities. Years of watching nature has taught us that the most diversity occurs in the edge or boundary of two of ecological habitats, where we see more wildlife and microbial growth. During the last decade at White Oak Pastures, we have planted about 1,000 trees along our fence lines each year to create this edge.
This February, we planted the first of 1,200 new pecan trees throughout our pastures. This year’s planting will be quite different than tree-planting in years past as we are not focusing on that edge effect, but it will provide a completely different set of benefits than previous years.
Pecan trees are the last to foliate in the spring, so the sun will get to the pastures when it is needed most. In the summer, foliage will protect our livestock and land from the heat and sun, and pecans will fall on the pastures to feed the animals. The trees will be spread out far enough that they do not over-shade the grass.
Right now, the young pecan trees are protected by circular steel fences called Arbor Shields, which deter the livestock and allow natural organic growth.
We’re excited to watch the trees grow throughout the years, and see the animals enjoy the extra shade and food. Eventually, our pastures will resemble the African Savanna.