dbltree's TSI thread

Lost Arrow

Note: I do not take credit for any of this information. Dbltree is the creator of these threads and I am simply putting them here to preserve them and share his knowledge. All information in these threads comes from Dbltree and Outreach Outdoors (http://www.outreachoutdoors.com/). All of this information comes from Dbltree's TSI thread at Outreach Outdoors. I have not made any changes to the information other than putting it in order into one thread.

Before looking over this thread...look first at various cost share options both state and federal, start with your NRCS office and local forester.

Cost Share

I'll try to put some of these in the appropriate threads but here are just a few cost share options to consider for various forest improvement practices. Be certain to read the EQIP practice link carefully and note that simple wording can double a payment per acre!!

Iowa only....REAP Practices must be approved by IDNR Forester and paid once inspected by the IDNR Forester and bill submitted.

TSI - Timber Stand Improvement 5 acre minimum - allowed $160 an acre X 75% =$120

Tree Planting - 3 acre minimum $600 allowed per acre X 75% = $450

Tree Planting/Weed Tree Removal - $160/$600 x 75% (weed tree removal may be less acres then total planted)

Federal Programs...these two have identical practices but EQIP practices allowed are different by county/state while WHIP is nationwide.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP)
Check by State

The following is just a brief list of a few of the options available...check this link for the complete list and the payment rates.

2013 Iowa EQIP Practices and Payments

314 Brush Management (weed tree removal)

647 Early Successional Habitat Development/Management (Timber Edge Feathering)

490 Forest Site Preparation

666 Forest Stand Improvement (TSI or Weed Tree removal)

422 Hedgerow Planting

338 Prescribed Burning

391 Riparian Forest Buffer

612 Tree and Shrub Establishment

380 Windbreak or Shelterbelt Establishment

In all cases either the forester or NRCS Tech will need to inspect the finished practice before the operator/landowner can be paid. Usually a simple bill will suffice (10 acres TSI X $160 for example) but in some cases they will want an itemized (seedlings, herbicides, fuel, labor etc) that add up to the total cost share.

The federal programs are not cost share, just a payment per acre so slightly different then the state programs.

Talk with NRCS and your local forester/private land biologist for more details but even they get confused, so look over the links and be informed yourself!

I have a lengthy thread on IW: Timber Stand Improvement but I'll try and post some pics and info here as well.

Thinking about fertilizing your oaks? Read this first.... Increased acorn production

Exactly what is TSI:

Timber stand improvement, or TSI, is a term used to identify forest management practices which improve the vigor, stocking, composition, productivity, and quality of forest stands.

The improvement is accomplished by removing poor trees and allowing crop trees to fully use the growing space. The chief aim of TSI is continued production of more and better timber products. TSI practices can be used to convert assorted hardwood and pine stands into productive forests of desirable species. TSI can speed up the growth and improve the quality of the trees in your forest.

Different TSI practices may be needed at different times during the life of an established stand -- from the start of a new crop of trees until the final harvest. Here are some basic TSI practices:

Prescribed burning in pine stands to remove undesirable hardwoods, to prepare seedbeds, and to reduce the potential for wildfires.

Cull tree removal to make growing space available on areas occupied by deformed, defective, and undesirable trees. Some cull trees may be cut and sold; however, most must be killed with herbicides.

Thinning to relieve overcrowding and increase the growth rate of crop trees. Precommercial thinning in young, unmerchantable stands is a cost practice. Intermediate thinnings or improvement cuts in older stands produce some income for the landowner.

Sanitation cutting to remove trees that have been damaged by insects, diseases, wind or ice.

Release of young, vigorous crop trees for faster growth and better quality by removing overtopping and competing trees.

Here's a detailed list of what we try to remove or kill:

suppressed trees that will not live until the next thinning.

trees too crooked, forked, or limby to make a No. 2 sawlog.

trees with fire scars and injuries from insects, disease, wind, or ice.

trees on the wrong site (such as a water oak growing on a ridge).

trees that are mature and slow growing.

any tree that will not contribute to the net value of the stand before the next thinning.

wolf trees with large crowns that occupy too much growing space or shade out more desirable species.

You will want to leave these trees in your timber stand:

high quality trees.
fast growing trees.
some mast producing and den trees for wildlife.
trees located so that all available growing space is used efficiently

Here's a copy of one of my own plans written by my IDNR forester

Stand #1 is 28 acres: CTR
This stand, located in two separate blocks of timber, is a mix of mostly large pole to small saw log size mixed oak and hickory with some ash, cedar, and an occasional walnut.

The best quality oak, walnut, and cherry will be marked and released from competition by killing adjoining trees that are competing for sunlight.

The following are the prescribed treatments represented by each of the TSI codes found above:

CTR stands for Crop Tree Release, marking and inventory. A maximum of 50 crop trees per acre are selected and marked and inventoried. They will be marked with a band of tree marking paint at Dbh. The inventory will specify species, Dbh. By 2 inch diameter classes, summarized by stand number, and will give a summary of crop trees pre acre for each stand.

The following species will be selected as crop trees, with highest preference given to the trees listed first:

Black walnut (Juglan Nigra)
White oak (Quercus alba)
Red oak (Quercus Rubra)
Black oak (Quercus velutina)
Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Red elm (Ulmus rubra)
Black cherry (Prunus serotina)

Only trees that have the potential for becoming veneer or high quality sawlog trees may be selected as crop trees, unless crop trees are being selected for wildlife considerations.

Crop trees are relatively young, vigorously growing trees. Trees with good crown symmetry is preferred.

The maximum size of crop trees will seldom exceed 18 inches Dbh. The rule of thumb is not to treat a tree if it is with in 4 inches Dbh of its anticipated final harvest diameter.

In choosing crop trees, they will be selected by species in the order given on the list, if all else is equal. Larger trees will be selected over smaller, higher stem quality over lower,
higher crown class over lower.
Trees with symmetrical crowns will be chosen over trees with less symmetrical crowns. Consideration will be given to the maintenance of stand diversity and the protection of den trees, and Indiana Bat habitat.

Each crop tree will be released form sunlight competition. Free growing space will be provided on all four sides of the tree. Competing trees will be killed using the hack and squirt method, or chainsaw girdling, using a complete girdle in either case, with an approved herbicide applied to the girdle. Girdling can be done at any convenient height.

Smaller trees can be cut, with a herbicide applied to the cut surface.

Herbicides will not be used on any tree of the same species as crop trees in the area.

These trees will be killed using a double chainsaw girdle, or a 4 inch ax girdle.

Vines will be removed from all the black walnut (Juglans Nigra) crop trees, but should not be removed from other species unless they are obviously damaging the tree.

Pruning: Remove limbs using an approved saw, following guidelines from recent Iowa State University pruning publications. All walnut crop trees will be pruned.

Weed trees: The following species and sizes will be killed: Honey Locust

Fences: Crews will kill trees right up to your fences unless you specify otherwise on this plan. This may mean that killed trees will fall across your or your neighbor’s fences, and onto neighboring land.

Practice Life: If any cost-share payments are accepted, then you have a legal obligation
to maintain the practice for specified period of time. You will be asked to sign a legally binding maintenance agreement.

Herbicides: The label is the law. You must follow the label exactly. If any instructions in this plan are contrary to the label in your possession, then contact the DNR District Forester for consultation. Herbicides must be used in accordance with their label.

Threatened of Endangered Species: Your Forest is potential summer habitat for the Indiana Bat, an endangered species. Take action appropriate for their protection.

Tree Identification Is imperatitive when attempting TSI and here is a list of trees and ID pics and more links are available here:

Using Anatomy and Habitat to Identify a Tree

Black Oak - Quercus velutina
This is a large tree, sometimes growing more than 100 feet in height.The thick, nearly black bark is marked with deep furrows and irregularly broken ridges. The characteristic inner bark is bright yellow to orange, hence the alternate common name. This tree grows on dry uplands, slopes and ridges.

The wood, while hard and strong is not tough, checks while drying and generally is inferior to that of the Red Oak. Still, it is used in much the same ways. Historically, the inner bark was important for its tannin and as a source of yellow dye. The bitter acorn is inedible.

Tree Size height 60' - 80' diameter 2' - 3'

Black Oak

Black Oak- Quercus velutina

All about Black Oak

Red Oak - Quercus rubra

The bark darkens and roughens near the base of older trees, while becoming fissured with broad, grayish ridges on the upper trunk. The tree grows on rich, well-drained soils.

The wood is similar to that of the White Oak, and although more porous and less resistant to decay, is used extensively used in construction and interior work.

The Red Oak grows more rapidly than most oaks and is useful for planting in residential areas. The acorns are not as tasty as those of the White Oak, but many kinds of wildlife feed on them

Northern red oak (Quercus rubra)

Red Oaks

All about Northern Red Oak

Pin Oak - Quercus palustris
The mature tree is distinctive from a distance with its ascending upper branches, horizontal middle branches, and drooping lower branches. The round acorns are the smallest of Ohio's oak trees. The Pin Oak grows in wet, often poorly drained soils of bottomlands and swamps. The strong, close-grained woods warps and checks badly in drying and has limited uses. Various wildlife, including Wood Ducks, feed on the acorns.

Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

Pin Oaks

All about Pin Oak

Chinquapin Oak - Quercus muehlenbergii
The light gray or silvery-white bark of this tree resembles that of the White Oak. The tree grows well on the rich soils of bottomlands, but it also is found on drier hillsides.

The strong, durable wood is used for railroad ties, fuel and construction lumber. Its inclination to check badly during drying, however, makes it of little value for cabinetry and better furniture.

Reportedly the acorns are "sweeter" than those of any other oak.

chinkapin oak
Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)

Dwarf Chinkapin Oak can produce acorns in 3-4 years which makes it very a very attractive oak to consider planting! They are also perhaps the sweetest acorns to be found...

Quercus prinoides Willd.
Dwarf chinkapin oak
Fagaceae (Beech Family)
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
GROWTH FORM: rhizomatous shrub or a small tree to 25 feet (7.6 m). BARK: thin gray bark with furrows and scaly ridges. TWIGS and BUDS: grayish twigs, broadly rounded bud brown to chestnut-brown with a blunt apex, scales have some pubescence. LEAVES: shortpetiole 1/4 - 5/8 inch (6 - 16 mm); leathery leaves are obovate, 1 1/2 - 5 1/2 inches (38 - 140 mm), 3/4 - 2 1/2 inches (19 - 63 mm), margin undulate or toothed with 3 - 8 pair of short rounded teeth, base cuneate, apex rounded; shiny dark green above, light green below with slight pubescence. ACORNS: annual; 1 - 2 acorns on peduncle up to 3/8 inch (10 mm), thin cup with short gray pubescent scales, covering up to 1/3 of nut; oblong to oval light brown nut, up to 3/4 inch (19 mm) long.

Dwarf Chinkapin oak can produce acorns at 3 - 5 years. The largest known dwarf chinkapin oak is growing in Richardson County, Nebraska.

Dwarf Chinkapin Oak seedling sources:

Dwarf Chinkapin Oak — Quercus prinoides Seedling Source

Dwarf Chestnut Oak (Quercus prinoides) does say this...

Quercus prinoides usually doesn't grow more than 20 feet tall, and it begins producing acorns at a young age, often when only three or four years old.

Unlike many oaks, once it starts bearing, it has a good crop almost every year. Its acorns are also less bitter and more palatable to wildlife than those of most other oaks.


MDC White Oak list

Chinkapin oak is closely related to the smaller but generally similar dwarf chinkapin oak (Quercus prinoides). Besides the differences in size, the two species can be distinguished by their typical habitat: chinkapin oak is typically found on calcareous soils and rocky slopes while dwarf chinkapin oak is more likely to be found on sandy soils.

Although these two oaks are generally regarded as separate species, they are sometimes considered to belong to the same species. Interestingly, when the two are considered to be conspecific, the larger chinkapin oak is often identified as a variety of dwarf chinkapin oak (as Quercus prinoides var. acuminata) because the later was described first.

Chinkapin oak is also sometimes confused with the related chestnut oak. However, unlike the pointed teeth on the leaves of the chinkapin oak, the chestnut oak generally has rounded teeth. Unfortunately, this distinction is often not readily apparent. A more reliable means of distinguishing the two is by the bark. Chinkapin oak has a gray, flaky bark very similar to white oak but with a more yellow-brown cast to it, hence the occasional name yellow oak. Chestnut oak has dark, solid, deeply ridged bark that is very different. The chinkapin oak also has smaller acorns than the chestnut or swamp chestnut oaks, which have some of the largest.

Dwarf Chinkapin Oak (Quercus prinoides) leaves

From this site: dwarf chinkapin oak

These are some pics of PassThru's DWARF CHINKAPIN OAK and you can see this is more like a shrub then a tree but laden with acorns!

Oikos Tree Crops - Dwarf Chinkapin Oak

Morse Nursery - Dwarf Chinkapin Source


Prairie Pioneer™ Dwarf Chinkapin Oak - Quercus prinoides ‘Fort Lincoln’

Dwarf Chinkapin Oak grows typically as a multi-stemmed, suckering, large shrub or small tree, 6 - 16 feet in height. It is native in the eastern U.S. as far west as southeastern Minnesota, eastern Nebraska and Texas.

Prairie Pioneer™ is a seedling selection grown from seed collected from a native stand in southeast Nebraska by Greg Morgenson, manager of Lincoln-Oakes Nurseries, Bismarck, ND. This novel, small-statured, tree-like cultivar is collaboratively released by NDSU and may reach 24-28 feet in height at maturity.

It has withstood -35 to -40◦F numerous times in Bismarck, ND, and therefore is hardy in zone 4, and potentially zone 3b as well. Prairie Pioneer™ was selected for its dark green, very lustrous foliage and upright growth habit easily trained to a single stem. The leaves vary from 2 - 4 ½ inches long, ovate-oblong to obovate, acute tipped and wedge-shaped at base, with 4 - 6 shallow undulate to dentate teeth on each side.

The lustrous foliage is somewhat reminiscent of the leaf quality on broadleaf evergreen holly species. The underside of the leaves is finely tomentose and lighter colored. In spring, trees are covered with yellow male catkins before leaves emerge, and sessile acorns are produced if a suitable white oak member species is in the area for pollination. Fall color is typically yellow to tannish-brown.

Propagation is by side grafting on containerized seedlings of chinkapin oak (Q. muehlenbergii), swamp white oak (Q. bicolor) or preferably, bur oak, if proven to be compatible. Prairie Pioneer™ merits attention as a dense, quality-foliaged small tree for residential landscapes and various sites where large trees are unsuitable.

Current Nebraska Champion Tree - Oak, Dwarf Chinkapin

Oak ID Key

True Nature Farm - Dwarf Chinkapin Oak seedlings

RPM Southern Hardwoods

The following pics are of Chinkapin oak Quercus muehlenbergii Engelm. (not dwarf)...pretty tough to tell which is which.

Chinkapin oak

Bur Oak

Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa), also known as blue oak, mossy-overcup oak, mossy-overcup oak, and scrub oak, has the largest acorns of all native oaks and is very drought resistant. It grows slowly on dry uplands and sandy plains but is also found on fertile limestone soils and moist bottomlands in mixture with other hardwoods. In the west, it is a pioneer tree invading prairie grasslands, and it is planted frequently in shelterbelts. The acorns become an important source of food to wildlife. The wood is commercially valuable and marketed as white oak. The comparative ease with which bur oak can be grown makes it a fine tree for streets or lawns.

Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Swamp white oak - Quercus bicolor is a deciduous tree with a broad, rounded crown. The dark, shiny green leaves are silver on the bottom side. Fall color is usually yellow, but sometimes reddish purple.

Though ornamentally insignificant, flowers bloom in April attracting pollen-seeking insects that attract migrating vireos, tanagers and warblers in search of a meal. Large acorns mature in early fall providing food for deer, wild turkey, black bear, fox and gray squirrels.

Indigenous to moist, bottomland locations, this oak has surprisingly good drought resistance.

swamp white oak Fagaceae Quercus bicolor

Swamp White Oak

Swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor)

White Oak (Quercus alba)

White oak is included in a group of oaks categorized by that same name. Other white oak family members include the bur oak, chestnut oak and Oregon white oak. This oak is immediately recognized by rounded lobes plus the lobe tips never have bristles like red oak. Considered the most majestic tree of the eastern hardwoods, the tree is also touted as having the best all-purpose wood.
A dominant forest tree on dry to moist sites throughout the Commonwealth usually reaching 80'-100' high. This tree is very important to both wildlife and people.

The acorn is an important wildlife food and eastern Native Americans made a flour from these acorns. Traditional uses of White oak wood include hardwood flooring, whiskey barrels and boat building. The famous Revolutionary War frigate, USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides", was made of White oak.

The "white oak group" includes all oaks without bristle-tipped lobes and acorns that ripen in one season

White Oak (Quercus alba)

white oak Fagaceae Quercus alba L.

All about white oak

The currently accepted scientific name of white oak is Quercus alba L.
. It is a member of the order Fagales and has been placed within
the white oak subgenus (Lepidobalanus). Three varieties of white
oak are commonly recognized :

Quercus alba var. alba
Quercus alba var. repanda Michx.
Quercus alba var. latiloba Sarg.

Some authorities recognize these entities as forms rather than varieties

White oak is highly variable genetically , and many forms and
ecotypes have been described. According to Fowells , "no definite
races have been defined, but within such a tremendously diverse habitat,
climatic races undoubtedly exist." White oak readily hybridizes with
many other species within the genus Quercus , including swamp white
oak (Q. bicolor), bur oak (Q. macrocarpa), chinkapin oak (Q.
muehlenbergi), dwarf chinkapin oak (Q. prinoides), overcup oak (Q.
lyrata), swamp chestnut oak (Q. michauxii), sandpost oak (Q.
margaretta), chestnut oak (Q. prinus), English oak (Q. robur), Durand
oak (Q. durandii), and post oak (Q. stellata) . Hybrids, their
common names, and purported origins are listed below .

Beadle oak X beadlei Trel. (Quercus alba x michauxii)
Bebb oak X bebbiana (Q. alba x Q. macrocarpa)
X bimundorum Palmer (Q. alba x Q. robur)
Deam oak X deamii (Q. alba x Q. muehlenbergi)
Faxon oak X faxonii Trel. (Q. alba x Q. prinoides)
Fernow oak X fernowii Trel. (Q. alba x Q. stellata)
Jack oak X jackiana Schneid. (Q. alba x Q. montana)
Saul oak X saulii Schneid. (Q. alba x Q. prinus)
Saul oak was formerly known as Q. alba f. ryderii but is now considered
a heterozygous hybrid form of white oak .

Introgressive populations are locally common throughout much of the
range of white oak. Hybrid swarms derived from complex mixtures of
parental forms are particularly common on disturbed sites, at the
margins of white oak's range, and where several oak species occur
sympatrically .

This is a stand of young white oaks

Post Oak

Concordia Oak is a 3-way cross between a swamp white oak, chinkapin oak and dwarf chinkapin oak.

In 1974 botanist Paul Thompson noticed an unusual oak at an I-70 rest stop near Concordia. His discovery revealed a botanically rare, three-way hybrid that occurs only in Lafayette County. At the time, few specimens remained. Concordians hurried to get the rare acorns to the state nursery. Thanks to Friends of the Concordia Oak and the George O. White State Nursery, the oak’s future is secure. To learn more about seedling availability, call Concordia Parks and Recreation at 660-463-4277.

There is some confusion between another "concordia oak" as mentioned here...

The name “Concordia oak,” used for the threeway hybrid from Lafayette County, already designates a small cultivar of the English oak (Q. robur ‘Concordia’, known for its bright yellow spring leaves). Surely taxonomists will want to avoid confusion here. Could you tell us what botanical epithet, if any, has been settled for the Missouri tree, and identify its three parents?
David Dunlap, West Plains

Editors’ note: You’re right—Concordia oak is also a common name for the English oak cultivar you mentioned below. Our Concordia is Quercus X introgressa (named by botanist P.M. Thompson).

Sawtooth Oak (Quercus acutissima) is in the red oak family. Native to Asia, it is noted for its fast growth (two feet per year) and early acorn production.

The first acorns are routinely produced in [color:#FF0000]five to 10 years [/color]versus the 25 or 30 years it usually takes native oaks to start producing acorns.

The acorns are large and dropped in September or early October. The sawtooth is also noted for its consistent annual production and not being as subject to frosts or poor crops which often limit white oak production.

Although the red oak group has a reputation for being less palatable (containing more tannic acid) than the white oak group, the sawtooth does not.

Sawtooths will reach 50 to 70 feet in height. They are sometimes used as an ornamental shade tree, but retain the dead leaves on the limb well into winter.

Sawtooth leaves are similar to American chestnut leaves but are smaller, four to eight inches long, and have more sharply pointed teeth. Yields from mature trees in good years range from 1,000 to 1,300 pounds of acorns per tree.

Sawtooth Oak (Quercus acutissima)

sawtooth oak Fagaceae Quercus acutissima Carruthers

Shumard oak (Quercus shumardii)is one of the largest southern red oaks. Other common names are spotted oak, Schneck oak, Shumard red oak, southern red oak, and swamp red oak. It is a lowland tree and grows scattered with other hardwoods on moist, well-drained soils associated with large and small streams. It grows moderately fast and produces acorns every 2 to 4 years that are used by wildlife for food. The wood is superior to most red oaks, but it is mixed indiscriminately with other red oak lumber and used for the same products. This tree makes a handsome shade tree.

all about Shumard Oak

Nuttall oak (Quercus nuttallii),not distinguished as a species until 1927, is also called red oak, Red River oak, and pin oak. It is one of the few commercially important species found on poorly drained clay flats and low bottoms of the Gulf Coastal Plain and north in the Mississippi and Red River Valleys. The acorn or winter buds identify Nuttall oak, easily confused with pin oak (Q. palustris). The lumber is often cut and sold as red oak. In addition to producing timber, Nuttall oak is an important species for wildlife management because of heavy annual mast production.

all about Nuttall Oak

Black Walnut

Iowas Black Walnut Trees

Marking of Crop Trees

Kill cull trees by girdling

This is just an example of a crop tree with cull trees on either side

TSI is important to ensure we keep the oaks in our timber and cull the invasive hickories, locust and ironwood trees that try to take over because they are shade tolerant.

Here are some examples of some young white oaks that could stand to be thinned a little

Nice problem...too many white oaks!
Here's an example of how this situation gets started...

From stump regrowth

So if you have some trees logged, remember to go back and thin the regrowth eventually to one strong stem...

MDC White Oak Key

Now that I have done Timber Stand Improvement, learned to identify tree species and which ones are shade tolerant versus oaks (which are NOT shade tolerant) I've been much more aware of what's actually growing on my property.

There's a whole lot more young white oaks then I previously had been aware of...

They are relatively easy to find by searching out the huge parent trees and then finding the young white oaks around the perimeter areas.

In some of these areas I chose to hinge cut "cull" trees around the "baby" white oaks to give them light and growing room.

There is no need to worry about the huge parent oaks, they are mature and nothing is going to phase them now. The little oaks however don't stand a chance under the shade tolerant hickories, elms and locust trees.

So I search out these little white oaks which still have their leaves even here in late March.

Even from a distance the WO leaves are darker then the ever common shingle oaks and readily noticable as I walk thru the timber.

Most crop trees are released by girdling or "hack n squirt" using Tordon but I had several areas that were way to open so hinging junk trees to create a bedding area and releasing the young oaks will work well.

Much of our timber here in Iowa is rapidly changing over from oak to hickory, maple, ironwood, locust and shingle oaks...none of which have the kind of timber or hard mast value that white oaks do.

Burning and TSI culling methods are a couple ways of reversing this trend.

When it comes to holding whitetails on our property...white oaks are far and away superior then any of other species mentioned above.

Take time to learn more about your timber or wooded areas and start encouraging white oaks that may be growing there or by killing trees and replanting oaks either with acorns or seedlings.
Well it's the end of June and I thought I would share a few pics from my TSI project last winter at this point just looking for "kills" and those that thus far have refused to die.

I didn't get close enough to the girdled tree to see it but you can see the sunlight and undergrowth it creates.

I found that ALL oaks and locusts were very easily killed via girdling, mainly shingle oaks that were interfering with good crop oaks or lessor quality black oak to close to a better crop oak tree.

Sunshine on the forest floor is the sign of success here

A few shingle oaks were clinging to life but aren't long for this world

The smaller hinge cut hickories were still very much alive

But locust trees stone cold dead

You can see the "girdles" here and subsequent sunlight

The problem trees i found to be girdled hickories and maples with the hickories thus far showing no sign of distress while maples are at least starting to appear "sick".

This girdled maple's leaves have started to turn red while ungirdled maples nearby are healthy and green

I'm going to monitor the hickories as they perhaps will need a dose of Tordon to put them out of their misery...

I have a stand of 70-80 year old white pines and wind sent the top crashing out of one of them.

Just thought I would share in case you might consider (foolishly) to stick stubbornly to your stand in high winds...as I use to...

They do come down and being safely strapped in could prove fatal on windy day...

One of the objects of TSI is opening up the canopy is to encourage new oak seedlings that otherwise would sprout and then die as they are intolerant of shade, so I'll be monitoring oak regeneration and continue to kill shade tolerant species such as hickory and maples...
Took some pictures from the results of last winter TSI projects and what they look like this fall.

I kill competition both by girdling and hinge cutting depending on the situation.

It easy to walk thru and see the dead trees againt the skyline and the released oaks thriving.

Some oaks were small and had no chance under the shade tolerant hickories until being released!

New browse erupts from stumps

and I hinged smaller trees to create living bruspiles

Deer were bedded in among these tops when I walked in

You can see the huge old parent oaks in the background in this pic where I tipped over everything around them

and that allowed new oak seedlings to come up and in time they will take the place of trees I have killed

Always identify your crop trees before firing up the chainsaw and it's usually safer and eaiser to girdle larger cull trees and then hinge smaller cull trees for bedding.

In some areas with no oaks present I interplanted swamp white oaks among the downed tops but it's now so thick in there I haven't checked on them.

Hunting season is upon us so I'll check on the flagged seedlings early next spring and spray them with Oust and keep and undesireable growth killed back.

In time I will turn the tide and return my timber to oak habitat rather then hickory and maple that have little use in my habitat program...
Prescribed fire signifi-cantly increased the density of oak seedlings and sprouts < 10 cm tall. Prescribed fire also reduced the density of red maple regeneration

There is no question that fire can be a valuable tool in encouraging oak regeneration and lowering the density of many invasive, shade tolerant species. Discuss your long term timber goals with your forester and come up with a Forest Stewardship Plan that may or may not include burning as a management tool.

After doing my own due diligence and discussing the use of fire as a tool on my property I have been encouraged to use fire more often to not only as a timber management tool but a means of encouraging more natural native browse.

Removing leaf litter can increase the density of native forbs and grasses useful to whitetails and other wildlife.

The following links will give you further detailed information on the subject of burning of oak regeneration, how it works, why it works and problems you may encounter.

First-Year Effects of Prescribed Burning on Oak Regeneration

White oak seedling height growth differed significantly among the three burn treatments. Seedlings in the single year burn sites had the greatest height growth, while seedlings in the non-burned controls had the least. Diameter growth was significantly greater in the single year burns than the controls.

Prescription burning to promote oak regeneration

Using Fire to Regenerate Oak After Clearcutting

Using Prescribed Fire For Oak Management

Prescribed Burns In Eastern Mixed-oak Forests

Fire can be a powerful tool in enhancing our habitat but knowledge and understanding beforehand will help determine your goals and then you can decide if using prescribed burns in your timber is right for you...
Spring is a great time to be out looking for 'shrooms and taking inventory on your oaks at the same time. The leaves of young oaks tend to stand out and I often go back with brush nippers and nip away any competing trees.

White oak seedling

White Oak young tree

Black oak

At my place the competing trees are often shingle oaks

and the they stand out in stark contrast this time of year...white oak on left and shingle center behind

Here we have a black on the left, shingle oak and then a giant white oak towering behind

This is NOT a good time of year to thin oaks themselves because of oak wilt but other species can be nipped off or trimmed away or at least a mental note made for a winter TSI project...
Sitting in a tree stand on a neighbors farm I have permission to hunt, I can't help but notice that it could sure use some Timber Stand Improvement.

The oak tree in the center is surrounded by all kinds of less desirable tree species that need to be killed to free up the crop tree.

All around me there were stands of hickories that offered nothing positive in the way of whitetail habitat yet if not near a crop tree would not normally be considered "weed tree's" under a TSI forest stewardship plan.

These are the type of areas that would be better off hinged or girdled and treated to open up the understory rather then be left as is.

The hickories have a shading canopy that allows almost nothing to grow underneath.

Only yards away a different type of tree species that are less shading has allowed a natural succession to brushy, shrubby understory that is full of deer beds and runways. True TSI usually helps open up canopy and allows the same type of undergrowth to spring up.

Timber Stand Improvement usually involves girdling and chemically treating and weed trees in the same respect we weed our gardens to allow the crop tree to grow faster and to produce more/better/acorns crops. Hinging the weed trees is just away of utilizing the weed trees and converting them to potential bedding,cover and browse rather then just dead trees left to slowly slough away....
Some pics from a TSI project I did a while back....

example of Crop Tree and cull trees (marked X)

Looking skyward at same trees at competing canopy

Cull trees are girdled to kill them and release the crop tree

Reducing canopy allows the released crop tree to grow faster, produce more mast and also encourages oak regeneration

I hinge smaller trees in these areas but all the larger trees are girdled for not only my safety but to limit damages to crop trees. Large trees falling against the crop trees can damage limbs and open up wounds that make them susceptible to diseases such as oak wilt. Girdled trees open up canopy instantly but slough away slowly without causing harm to surrounding trees.

TSI itself encourages a more dense understory that whitetails prefer and that in itself requires some continued management to control shade tolerant species such as ironwood....
I'll try to put some of these in the appropriate threads but here are just a few cost share options to consider for various forest improvement practices. Be certain to read the EQIP practice link carefully and note that simple wording can double a payment per acre!!

Iowa only....REAP Practices must be approved by IDNR Forester and paid once inspected by the IDNR Forester and bill submitted.

TSI - Timber Stand Improvement 5 acre minimum - allowed $160 an acre X 75% =$120

Tree Planting - 3 acre minimum $600 allowed per acre X 75% = $450

Tree Planting/Weed Tree Removal - $160/$600 x 75% (weed tree removal may be less acres then total planted)

Federal Programs...these two have identical practices but EQIP practices allowed are different by county/state while WHIP is nationwide.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP)
Check by State

The following is just a brief list of a few of the options available...check this link for the complete list and the payment rates.

2011 Iowa EQIP Practices and Payments

314 Brush Management (weed tree removal)

647 Early Successional Habitat Development/Management (Timber Edge Feathering)

490 Forest Site Preparation

666 Forest Stand Improvement (TSI or Weed Tree removal)

422 Hedgerow Planting

338 Prescribed Burning

391 Riparian Forest Buffer

612 Tree and Shrub Establishment

380 Windbreak or Shelterbelt Establishment

In all cases either the forester or NRCS Tech will need to inspect the finished practice before the operator/landowner can be paid. Usually a simple bill will suffice (10 acres TSI X $160 for example) but in some cases they will want an itemized (seedlings, herbicides, fuel, labor etc) that add up to the total cost share.

The federal programs are not cost share, just a payment per acre so slightly different then the state programs.

Talk with NRCS and your local forester/private land biologist for more details but even they get confused, so look over the links and be informed yourself!
Timber Stand Improvement is usually crop tree release that includes marking and inventorying the crop trees, then doing a 4 sided release of any cull trees with competing canopy.

Marking the crop trees first makes it easier to go back through searching for competing trees

It's easy when the competing trees are "weed" trees like hickories, ash and basswood

but often we find clumps of white or red oaks and we must choose which ones to cull

TSI requires staring at the skyline a lot looking over the canopies

Look for full canopies and cull trees with thin spindly canopies

Opening up canopy will release young oaks

which will require thinning and culling in the future

but without TSI the young oaks will succumb to intense shading canopy

Give them a little light however and they will take off!

I usually bury the saw as I girdle so i don't need a double girdle

but use caution because you can see what is on the inside of the tree and sometimes even a light girdle can topple a tree with a rotted interior!

Clumps of American Basswood are a pain to girdle!

Maples are one species that I use a double girdle AND Tordon in the girdle!

This maple is still alive 3 years later with only one girdle

and is budding out once again

so I double girdled it with out Tordon just to see if I can kill it in that manner

A leaning tree can pinch a saw even with just a girdle

so when possible have a backup saw handy!

TSI is a relatively safe method of opening up canopy, increasing understory growth, encouraging oak regeneration, enhancing crop tree growth and mast production and providing more browse and cover for whitetails to boot....
Sometimes we have to kill invasives in either our timber or native grass fields and basal bark spraying when small trees and shrubs are dormant can be a great way to kill these problem trees.

Garlon, Remedy, Relegate and Crossbow are a few that can be mixed with diesel fuel and sprayed on the lower 12-20" of the stem in late winter to kill these trees or shrubs.

I chose Relegate (a generic form of Remedy) and used Trail Lite 2000 dye which is made to use with diesel fuel in this situation. We mixed 3 parts dsl with 1 part herbicide.

Our targets were nasty ole honey locusts that had invaded a new NWSG planting

The dye is nasty stuff, so don't wear clothes you care about!

Be sure to soak the bottom area until the poison runs down the side of the stem

The dye is not a prerequisite but it does help to tell where you have been and avoid missing areas

We'll check back this spring and see how successful we were at killing the locusts, hopefully we nailed them and when we burn the NWSG the remaining remnants will go up in smoke.

Until I (unknowingly) wiped my dye soaked glove across my nose and face and walked into the local diner for lunch....it was a quiet day...