Appropriate interval for select cuts?

Discussion in 'Native Habitat Management' started by readonly, Nov 10, 2020.

  1. readonly

    readonly Active Member

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    I bought the family farm 4 years ago. My parents bought it back in the 70's. Almost 19 years ago shortly after my father died we did a heavy thinning on the hardwoods, which are about 45 acres and have the property. There was a lot of 80+ year old Virginia pine, and we wanted it gone before another ice storm. We also cut a lot of poplar, some nice red oak, and saw timber cherry. On a different part of the property, planted loblollys were thinned 6 years ago. At that time they cut a tractor trailer load of poplar off a farm road on the property.

    Unfortunately, the forester who did both these last sales passed away. He did an awesome job marking etc. I am not optimistic about finding somebody to replace him. At the time of the pine thinning he said it would need to be done again in 8 years. So I'm coming up on that.

    The hardwoods that were thinned 19 years ago, I am thinking of doing that again. Not sure if it's too soon though? Last time no white oaks were cut. Some were damaged though. This time I would remove WO's that don't produce good acorns or were damaged. I have a lot of tulip poplars that are 20-24" with a few up to 30" DBH. I'm thinking of having all of them cut. Most only are clear for 1.5-2.5 logs. And don't look they will ever produce much more as a result. I may have a couple of small areas cleared for food plots. Not sure if I am being too aggressive. When I look back since the last cut, the stand of VA pine that were cleared are now beautiful young stands of oak and poplar, 100% improvement. There are other areas though where I was not aggressive enough with dealing with invasives like privet or bittersweet, and will need to get on top of that before any further timber cutting.
    Does 20 years sound like a reasonable interval for hardwood thinning?
     
  2. Buckly

    Buckly Well-Known Member

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    15 - 20 years between thinning sounds normal although it’s all dependent on a lot of things you mentioned. I’ve seen cuts that can be cut again in 15 and then some that would require 50. It sounds as though the forester had a thinning plan that was working. Just remember as far as timber there is never a rush. If you think it’s time and you wait 5 more years there’s really no issue if you wait 10 or 20 there’s still no issue. You have plenty of time to evaluate either yourself or by finding the right forester.
     
  3. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    45 acres of timber.....I think its going to boil down to IF you have enough timber to be taken to be of interest to a logger. That is what most small property owners run into. Moving the equipment in is an expensive process and it takes a fair amount of timber to just break even to cover that process..... I know pines tend to be thinned on a more aggressive timeline vs hardwoods, but it all boils down to if there is money to be made or not.....
     
  4. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Poplar bigger than 25" is past its prime and often gets bad heartwood. Sawmills like poplar 20 to 24". Logging at shorter intervals yields more bdft. per acre per year, and much better wildlife habitat. If you have quantities of hardwood timber bigger than 18" its time to start thinking of a harvest. The quality of mature timberland starts going downhill fast because you start losing the different sizes of trees that are critical to forest health, and the overall growth rates drop, plus the wildlife habitat disappears. In really good soils trees can be harvested with a select cut every 10 - 12 years. Average soils, every 15 - 18 years. The key to knowing is the diameter of the big trees at breast height, needs to be 18 to 24 inches for a harvest.
     
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  5. readonly

    readonly Active Member

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    So here I am almost a year later following up on this. I have a walk through set up with a logger on Sunday, same guy who did the cut last time 7 years ago. I was pleased with the job he did, although this is the first time I ever spoke to him. He remembered the place and called me back right away. Seemed surprisingly eager to come out for a smaller job. But it is on a good highway and not too far to the sawmills, pulp mills are a long haul from anywhere around here.

    Last time he cut my mother owned the place (I bought from her 5 years ago) and the logger dealt strictly with my wonderful forester, who has since passed away.

    The canopies on the pines are closed again, so time for them be thinned. I have 3-4 acres that are 33 years old, have a decent size to them, and they will be clear cut. I have an unknown acreage that will be thinned, but no more than 10 acres. They have grown a lot and there will be plenty of loads of logs and chip and saw.
    I did not mention the hardwoods to him. 20 years ago a lot over mature pine were removed along with a lot of mature 60-80 year old poplar, oak and cherry. Now the next generation of poplar is border line to log. I don't think it will generate a lot of money. If I cut them I will have my hands over filled with dealing with invasives like bittersweet and autumn olive, and I feel like the 20 year old new growth from the last logging, which is far from ready to cut, would be damaged removing the trees. I will look again before he comes out. The alternative to improve the habitat would be for me to cull damaged trees for firewood. Which seems like a chore I would never again around to.

    But this is my biggest frustration....I wanted to look at this with a forester. I spoke to a contract forester close to a year ago. He clearly was not interested. Talked about selling the pines as a boundary...which just is not done with pine because you will never get paid close to what you would by weight. Also didn't want to mark trees. I get it, this is not big enough for him to fool with.

    What really shocks me is I can't get a call back, or even a text or email response from the state department of forestry. I don't have time to run a complaint about it up the chain to Richmond. But I have tried numerous times to reach the 2 local points of contact and they just can't be bothered to respond. There is no secretary or administrative assistant. It's all email and cell phones. Just an email back saying they are too busy and will call back in x number of weeks would have been appreciated. But I got nothing.
    Luckily I have the contact for the guy that cut last time. So I hope it goes well.
    I am eager to at least get the pines cut as I am planning a number of improvements for the property, including upgrading the access road for logging, and I don't want to spend a lot of money on the road to have it torn up afterward by logging trucks, and it really is time to thin those pines. I may be jumping the gun by clearcutting the 33 year old pines, but it will add some good habitat for fawning for a few years.
     
  6. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I think you should consider showing him the hardwoods to talk about a TSI while he's out there anyway. The more you do at one shot, the more attractive your project is to a logger due to the expense of moving in. Saw logs are worth more than pulp, and poplar growth rate per acre slows down fast if a tract gets over ripe, and after hearing his input it's still your choice of a course of action. In the past I’ve dealt with foresters and I've dealt directly with loggers and each method has its advantages and disadvantages, I'd consider either way in the future, depending on which is available, and the level of confidence i have in that particular person for handling the project.
    People who don't return calls are sending a clear message that they don't want your business. And it's rare to find a government employee who's doing more than going through the motions. My county NRCS office is an exception to the rule, super nice folks who take pride in their work and make it happen.
    Moral of the story, walk away from those who won't give you the time of day, and give your work to people who value relationships, are professional and deserve the business.
     
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  7. g squared 23

    g squared 23 Active Member

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    Maybe I’m in the minority, but I own my property to attempt to hold and hopefully kill mature bucks. I’m not interested at all in waiting to timber the thing, I want it thick and nasty right NOW. My entire neighborhood is open oak flats and ridges. If I keep those red oaks and get a decent paycheck in 15 years when the time is right, my property will be just as ordinary as everything around me and my hunting will suck. And then it’ll be better for 5+ years and then it’ll be open again. Yes I hate the invasives, but as long as I keep them under control (which I don’t mind doing, it’s a labor of love), I can continue to create security that a huge buck will appreciate. I’m leaving a few crop trees and even planting some oaks as I see fit, but my focus is on planting shrubs that provide browse, cover, and berries that the critters will spread for me. But the most important ingredient is the sunlight.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  8. TreeDaddy

    TreeDaddy Well-Known Member

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    Names? Numbers?

    bill
     
  9. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    What area?
     
  10. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    I like how you think. Timberland is a good investment, but if you bought it for hunting, put deer habitat first. However, I am firmly entrenched in the camp that believes that you can have the best of both, and that also properly managing your trees actually makes better deer habitat than strictly managing for jungle thickets. Managing trees is simple, a rough outline is to leave a large quality seed tree stand every 100 feet with plenty sunshine to the ground in between. Also leave some quality middle sized and small trees stand.
     
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  11. readonly

    readonly Active Member

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    I met with the logger today and things went very well. Even though I had never met him before, he did a good job with the last cut which was just a small pine thinning 7 years ago, and so I am optimistic things will work out this time. He's seems eager for the job. He estimated 30 days to start which seems incredibly fast. Dependent on weather and mill closures. Because we are in a long dry streak, everybody has been cutting and there's a heavy flow of wood right now.
    He is agreeable to my harvest plan for the pines. I also showed him the hardwoods and I liked what I heard on that. He pays 50% on logs across the board, 75/load (27ton) dirty chips and 150/load (clean chips).
    I will definitely keep you posted on how this progresses.
     
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  12. readonly

    readonly Active Member

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    The day after I last posted, out of the blue I got calls and emails from the state forester. Told him I was making arrangements for a cut. So he made it a rush to get me on the schedule for a walk through. Two of them came out yesterday and we walked through the portions of my property that I am planning on cutting. The lead guy had actually done the post cut inspection last time and remembers the place.
    It was very helpful and I learned a lot. In hindsight, maybe I should have showed them the rest of the property and possibly added to what will be cut. However, the logger is squeezing me in so I don't think he want so be here too long. He likes my pines and has place that will give a very good price for them now, that's why he's squeezing me in.
    From the foresters I got some tips on the pine thinning. Also on the hardwood thinning. They were extremely impressed with the management on a section of my woods that is 2 age classes: mature poplar ready to cut and understory of beautiful white oaks ready to take off. Credit goes to the last forester and his tree marking 20 years ago.
    The loggers will start later this week. They will be on the pines at least a week and half then turn to the hardwoods. I have a lot of marking to do in that time. I plan to do before and after videos and put them on youtube, I will post a link.
     
  13. TreeDaddy

    TreeDaddy Well-Known Member

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    Any particular "tips" to share?

    thanks,

    bill
     
  14. readonly

    readonly Active Member

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    Basically site specific stuff like "clearcut these b/c..." or "leave this group because they're protecting the rest of the stand from wind" or " harvest all mature trees in this section to release the young trees." I feel like I have a decent knowledge base but still plenty of ideas that needed to be pointed out.
     
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