Hardwood management

Discussion in 'Native Habitat Management' started by weekender21, May 23, 2018.

  1. weekender21

    weekender21 Active Member

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    The majority of the property I purchased last fall has been "select cut". I know that term gets tossed around a lot and in this case, the areas that were cut are mainly clear cut with some junk left over. I wouldn't necessarily call it a high grade because the majority of the trees that left were simply too small to cut, not necessarily poor form.

    Over the years, my property has become a majority polar forest. There are some hickory, maple, and oaks but the fast growing poplars dominate in most areas. The majority (maybe all) of the harvested mature poplars stump sprouted and some of them are getting pretty tall already. I plan to aggressively manage the hardwood regeneration and over time, select the best trees to repopulate the land and give them the best growing conditions possible. With that:

    1) Should I terminate all the stump sprouts in favor of the saplings? They were initially valuable deer food but most of the growth is now out of reach. I've seen some multi pronged poplars from previous harvests that appear to have faired alright but aren't single truck trees preferred by loggers to 4 or 5 pronged trees?

    2) When should I begin pre commercial thinning and optimizing growing conditions for the best trees? What I'd like to accomplish are better growing conditions for the next generation of timber and more sunlight on the ground. Basically looking to reduce the tree count from thousands per acre to maybe several hundred quality trees per acre.

    I do know a forester that assisted me with the purchase, just looking for opinions from other land owners.

    Thank you!

    This picture was taken last summer, most of the stump sprouts are now 6'+

    poplar stump - 1.jpg
     
  2. weekender21

    weekender21 Active Member

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    This picture shows several poplar "bushes". These stump sprouts seem to be thriving and I believe they will survive and mature into multi pronged tree clumps if not terminated.

    IMG_1546.jpg
     
  3. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

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    I am in the same boat as you - only farther down the road. I have forty acres of stump sprouted redoak from a clearcut 20 years ago. Half the trees on that acreage are stump sprouts - three and four trees together - from 3”-6” diameter. The other half are nice single trees - 7-8” diameter. A forester looked at it and told me I need a precommercial thinning. But that would cost a lot of money and leave a ton of debris on the ground. He said my other option is to wait ten years and have a pulpwood cut, taking the multi stemmed trees and hope they didnt damage the good trees - too much. Depending on your acreage and finances - you are still at the point to stop it.
     
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  4. Chipdasqrrl

    Chipdasqrrl Active Member

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    The only advice I have on the situation is to have the trees harvested in the summer next time, i would guess that the trees were dormant last time it was cut. If you don’t want such a high tree count, have them cut while the energy isn’t stored in the roots


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  5. Pacahunter

    Pacahunter Member

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    I’d let them grow and either hinge cut or fall them when they are bigger
     
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  6. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    I had the same thing happen with poplars. They will readily stump sprout and initially make great cover, but as they get a few years on them they really serve no purpose any more. I simply cut those stump sprouts off and reset the cycle. If they don't come back....fine. More sunlight for everything else. As far as thinning to go from thousands of trees an acre to hundreds, well that is essentially another true select cut to remove those trees that are of lower value or creating issues with other higher value trees. I essentially had to do that on my place the first time it was cut. My place was high graded decades before and as such what I had left was mostly a bunch of junk that was crowding the few good trees that where too small during the high grading cut. We removed literally 600 or 700 trees from roughly 50 acres. I did get lucky in that the poplar and the hard maple made me some money, but the rest was simply pallet wood. We cut mostly hackberry, cottonwood, sycamore, elm, ash and hickory that was of any size of interest to the loggers. I hand selected EVERY tree with them to ensure I knew what was being removed as well. We left any and all oak, cherry and walnut that was in good health. I was very happy with the resulting canopy being opened up (especially removing the maples) and the undergrowth explosion I saw the following couple of years. The thing is with that sort of cut you can;t focus on $, you have to focus on the wildlife value and impact both now and in the long term. That was what motivated my first harvest....and by luck some of the most shade producing trees (the poplar and sugar maple) where in demand in my area and made me some money in the process.
     
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  7. Chipdasqrrl

    Chipdasqrrl Active Member

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    Anyone know if hack and squirt is an option? Maybe just squirt the stumps? It would obviously take ages but I would think it’s an option


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  8. weekender21

    weekender21 Active Member

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    Great advice so far!

    A few more points:

    1) mature poplar bring good money in my area

    2) A commercial pulpwood “first thinning” isn’t likely with my steep terrain. All thinning will be me and a chainsaw.

    I like your ideas. I think I can do a mixture of hinging, flush cut, and termination on the stump sprouts and still reach all my goals. If they sprout again, that’s more quality food for the deer and I can repeat the process in 3-5 years.

    I’d like to burn a few areas an turn them into early succession vs. thick young forest. I’m not sure how the sprouts will respond but I’m guessing they’ll have a higher survival rate than the smaller saplings.

    Thanks again!


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  9. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    One the thinning aspect.....just keep it doable and rotate. Say you have 50 acres - focus on a 5 acre section every year and then move on to the next 5 acre section. This will also stagger the ages of the habitat and add diversity to the property as well. If you need some help find some folks that burn wood or the like. Also if your dropping trees do NOT cut up the tops. If you want the logs for a project or to cut firewood fine, but leave the tops as they will help create cover and other habitat types at ground level as well. You will also find that different trees stump spout more than others.....so some you won't have to worry about. Also do not forget about girdling trees as an option (as well as hack and squirt). I would not do a lot of them, but standing dead trees offer yet other feeding or habitat for other wildlife as well and still will allow light in. Just keep in mind that the tree will come down sooner or later. Also make sure you have any invasives under control FIRST. Giving those plants light and then trying to battle them is not a good idea. Good luck.
     
  10. weekender21

    weekender21 Active Member

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    J-bird, great point on the invasive species. Unfortunately M-flora rose has a pretty good hold on my logged areas already. Fortunately there is a lot of Blackberry and other natives mixed in but this is something I’ll be dealing with as long as I own the property.

    Most of the tops from the logging operation were left where they fell.

    This is a rough look at my current situation:

    -60 acres of maturing forest, ~40 years old. This includes SMZ’s I don’t plan to harvest.

    -35 acres of clear/select cut that’s 3 years old

    -35 acres of clear/select that’s 0-12 months old

    -25 acres of clear/select that’s 4 years old.

    It’s really the maturing 3-5 year old cuts that I want to aggressively manage. They’re wildlife benefit years are numbered as they mature out of reach.


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  11. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    You may not ever eradicate an invasive (I have the same issue with Jap bush honeysuckle) but you can try to limit it's spread and maybe, just maybe even push it back some. I have some MFR as well, but it's not taking over. And just like any management.....it's management, that's a verb, meaning an action. It's ALWAYS a work in progress. You have a lot more cover areas than I do and I even have to break mine up into chunks to simply keep from feeling overwhelmed. I agree that a 5 year old stump sprout more than likely will serve little use. As such this is where you need to use what ever tactic works best for you. If you need to kill the stump or every other one or just those that you know are going to explode. You may also change your mind to some extent on how many trees you bring down.....as that is only going to create more work for you to manage. Heck maybe even create lines of this work thru areas. The difference in plant density and types will influence deer travel patterns and the like as well. You would essentially be creating an edge.....which deer really like. Do what you can with what you have to work with. Be creative and keep it interesting. That work load is something we all have to deal with. We all have things we would do if we had the time or resources..... It's OK for a property to require some work on your part, but it shouldn't become a second job either.....enjoy it and remember it's a journey and not a destination. We are trying to help mother nature along....not do it all for her!
     
  12. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I've said this already concerning this but I'll repeat myself and I wont remember doing it anyway. When forests are highgraded, i.e., anything 15+dbh cut, which has been the process for most over the last 100+ years, you tend to have an influx of invasive such as MFR and shade tolerant trees since deer tend to browse away the really good stuff before it can establish. Your friend is fire as oak trees are highly resistant to it and the other crap not so much. The problem is doing it or getting someone to do it for you. Some DNRs will do such for land owners at decent price. It will set back undesirables and release the seed band of good that has been laying in wait for decades sometimes. Good luck as I doubt in reality doing hack and squirt or chainsaw on such large tracts will accomplish a whole lot. But like most of us, you gotta try.
     
  13. Chipdasqrrl

    Chipdasqrrl Active Member

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    I second this. The only thing I would add is that I think you would want it to be a growing season fire to make sure you kill the trees. I believe Grant woods has a great video or two on growing season fires and a whole lot of information about it.
     
  14. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about the rest of the world - but I have seen extensive damage done to oaks during non-growing season fires - especially in areas that had been thinned in the last few years, allowing increased vegetation to grow on the forest floor - increasing the fuel load. I have seen damage to oaks in mature, non-thinned woods that were burned two or three times over a ten year period.
     
  15. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    Yea doing so before sap begins up not so good. But I do think with his newly clearcut land that not too much an issue as forest litter should be minimal and you pretty much are burning that all to the ground innitially. And I will say this tx applies to whites, reds, and perhaps black oaks. I can't say so much about more southern varieties. And buildup of fuel around trees for decades can create a little problem at times with too hot a burn at tree base. Oaks can catface from a burn pretty extreme and survive quite well from their inherent nature. Controlled burns are becoming a regular tx in our national and state forest in this state. Funny to go down the road with a warning sign at side of road saying do not call 911, controlled burn.
     
  16. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

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    I agree - and the point of some controlled burns is to kill hardwood. I worked for the Feds in Natural Resource Management since 1979 - we were using burns when I started. USFS has burned here for more years than that - and still are. I have seen extensive damage to hardwood in thinned, mature forest - especially where NWSG regenerates after timber thinnings. The fire does not usually kill the bigger oaks outright - may take them years to die - unless a summer drought comes through - then it wipes them out. Hypoxylon canker will get almost all of them with a pretty bad burn scar.
     
  17. weekender21

    weekender21 Active Member

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    Luckily I only have a few oaks! The goal of my burned areas will be to kill the hardwood regeneration and replace the young forest with early succession. This will be relatively small percentage of my property. The majority will still be some stage of forest regeneration.


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  18. TreeFan

    TreeFan New Member

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    Here is a long term strategy that may help.

    Given this - poplar are not shade tolerant and will not come back up if there is shade.

    Cut the poplar around all the hardwood trees that you want to keep and give them as much sun as they need to thrive. Allow them to shade the area. Keep cutting the poplar and it should not come back, allowing the hardwood to succeed and become more predominant.
     
  19. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    Good read even tho the study was done in north country and not much consideration given to deer browse on new seedlings affecting dominate tree species in an area. But it gives some good insite on clearings and how regeneration is affected by various factors. Of course always have to be careful with forest studies as to who they might cater to such as the tree huggers, foresters, academia. https://academic.oup.com/forestry/article/86/5/555/638331

    And a decent infrequent fire read. https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_gtr914.pdf
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
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  20. snowracerh

    snowracerh Member

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    I have a logger doing the same, starting tomorrow. Boy am I nervous! I figure worst case, they cut too much and the deer habitat gets even better

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