Q: We moved into our home a few months ago and found what looked like a small clump of green grass surrounded by string, as though someone was trying to protect it. This year, it has taken off and looks like a giant evergreen candle. It is now approximately 28” tall, and we would love to know what it is.
A: You have a longleaf pine growing from the “grass stage” to the “bottlebrush stage”. If you have room, let it grow and particularly learn more about the importance of this tree to southern Georgia
Hundreds of years ago, the lower half of Georgia was covered with longleaf pine trees, in association with wiregrass. The pine wiregrass prairies supported an incredibly complex and productive ecosystem. The pines have been extensively harvested, such that there are now few pine wiregrass examples in the state. Left to grow naturally, the pine you saw will eventually grow 50 to 100 feet tall.
For an enjoyable read about longleaf pine ecology and a family living in Waycross, get Ecology of a Cracker Childhood (The World As Home) by Janisse Ray
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