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The Virgin Beidler Forest

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

The original purchase of eighteen hundred acres of virgin cypress and tupelo gum swampland is the heart of Beidler Forest. Imagine a place where several cypress trees are documented as being over one thousand years old. Cypress trees are well adapted to withstanding hurricanes; they are, compared to pines, flexible, and their extensive knees that develop when growing in wetlands probably provides extra stability. But this virgin forest does not look all that old – there are mostly large but not huge trees and many small ones, as well. Hurricanes and other natural forces change even woodlands not disturbed by man. At Beidler, they leave trees as they age and as they fall (unless they are a danger to visitors on the boardwalk). We saw standing dead trees full of holes from pileated woodpeckers – they’re fond of carpenter ants that eat rotten wood.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.