Episode 9 in the Land of Legacy series, Dr. Walt McPhail takes us through his spectacular woods, talks about his journey with the Tree Farm Family, and shares memories from his everlasting friendship with the Master Tree Farm creator and mentor, Dr. George Kessler.
At first glance, what makes the McPhail Tree Farm so different is the sheer size and number of pole-sized timber on his property, which are the straightest and tallest trees a person can grow, but that’s not where this story begins – or ends.
Walt is a veterinarian by profession but a Tree Farmer by passion, so naturally, he will give you the facts. For example, while we were sitting with him for a short amount of time, he described his trees per acre, poles per acre, price differentials, tree competition, tree spacing, site indexes, board feet, site preparation techniques, herbicide options, tree genetics and land buying strategies. However, Dr. McPhail also has a soft side - his family, his friends and the future of the land he has nurtured. Over the years, Walt has taken on a tremendous amount of work outside of his veterinarian practice to ensure that the land he and his family inherited remained in the family. This passion and work spilled into the land he and his brother, Bill, bought, so they could continue providing habitat for wildlife, healthy trees for the forest ecosystem, and a beautiful place to be enjoyed by future generations.
For this and countless reasons, Dr. Walt McPhail received the SC State Tree Farmer of the Year award in 2001, the Southern Region Tree Farmer of the Year award in 2003 and 2012, and finally, the National Tree Farmer of the Year award in 2012. Looking back on his journey, you’ll hear how the McPhail brothers have thrived under what most others would call backbreaking work, how Walt loves being hands on with his forest, and how he glows with pride in the results. Walt and his brother also share their pine cathedrals with anyone who cares for the land like they do, including students, teachers and other Tree Farmers. Finally, you’ll learn how the McPhail forest is at a turning point, between harvest and replanting, and a sustainable tree growing process that is never ending, just like his friendship with Dr. George Kessler who joins him for this special episode.
Listen now, and share this series with others, who – like our SC Tree Farmers – love the land and put the family in family forestry!
Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)
Reforestation (Replanting Your Land):
South Carolina Forestry Commission (SCFC)
SCFC Seedling Sales
Southern Group of State Foresters
Clemson University Cooperative Extension
Managing Your Timber for Pole-Quality Production:
Mississippi State Extension
North Carolina State University Extension
How to Sell Your Timber:
American Forest Foundation – My Land Plan
South Carolina Forestry Commission Foresters:
Management Plan Template:
SC Tree Farm Management Plan Template
Estate and Succession Planning:
US Forest Service
American Forest Foundation