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Fastest growing hardwoods

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Adios Pantalones, Jul 14, 2008.

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  1. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I have a mere 2 acres to manage. Along with adding in some black walnuts for historical/ecological interest, I'd like to manage for hardwoods. I understand that black locust is introduced here, albeit from not that far away (Appalachians/PA) but that it's a legume and so fixes nitrogen from the air and thus grows quickly. However- they don't seem to get that big here, and there is concern of locust borers (do we have them in New England?).

    I have lots of red oak, white oak, white pine (I'm taking it out slowly), red maple, some pignut, and good understory bushes (blueberries, etc.). As I take out selected trees- what should I plant back for fastest hardwood growth? White ash? Black Locust? I can provide a little natural fertilizer/compost each year to new plantings.

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I'd vote for black locust, because it does grow fast and I think it's a pretty tree. No better firewood, either. For longterm timber value, you'd be ahead with black cherry (also a fast grower, but not very good firewood) or hard maple. White ash would be a good all around choice, except that the emerald ash borer is threatening to kill off all the ash on this continent, so that might be a risky bet.

    Different soils and sites favor different species, however, so you're usually ahead to go with a native species. In your part of the country, that's probably white pine, hard maple and possibly red oak. Yellow birch is another beautiful tree with good commercial value and is good firewood. It seems to grow pretty fast and is native to most of the Northeast and northern New England. Bottom line: look around and see what grows best in your area and plant it.
  3. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I have a bit of everything here actually- white birch, various cherries, a few ironwood (slow growing). I might look for some yellow birch seeds here- it's another one that I like a lot- a fair bit denser than white birch (our state tree).

    Good point on the ash borer. Too bad- I love white ash and it's wood. None easier to split either.

    Thanks!
  4. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I found a list of the 15 fastest growing hardwoods in the US- Black Locust is not on the list, but honey locust is. Black walnut and red oak are both on there. I don't know where they got their data.

    #1 was cottonwood- which makes sense, but is only hardwood in name and doesn't grow here.

    http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=198432
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey AP, watch out for them thorny bastages of locust trees (honey, I believe). They are mean suckers and will pop tires like balloons. And a word on black walnut, be careful with them. They have a way of making some species die off ( you will never see an apple tree next to a black walnut). I'm not sure of what is safe and what is not, but you might want to look into it. Don't get one around your garden either.

    Ash, some maples, and locust are fairly fast growers.
  6. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    Weighing time to grow vs. btu output, silver maple is a good bet. Decent looking tree as well. They tolerate very wet soil, but being on a hill, I imagine you don't have flooding issues, MR. AP. Anecdotally, I've seen silver maple grow quickly.
  7. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    A friend of mine planted some hybrid elm about 27 years ago and they are 18-30" DBH , 45-60 feet in heighth and absolutely loaded with limbs up to about 6" . Don't know how they are for firewood but they are a great shade tree.
  8. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Silver maple is pretty low density. Lower than red maple, IIRC. It must grow VERY quickly to rate well on the BTU/year scale. I'll take some of your sugar maple saplings though, clown@$$.

    Honey locust- nasty evil SOB's.

    Black walnut contains juglone- kills off anything. You can compost the leaves etc then they're fine. This area was originally called "nutfield" because of nut bearing trees; part of the reason to replant BW here. Butternut and chestnut each have disease issues. Got various hickories here now.
  9. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    Come on down. Yeah, I wonder about how long the sugar maple will take to grow. I'm trying to thin some elms to encourage my sugar maples. Elms dominate my property, but sugar maples are 2nd. I have a plethora that young of the year to age 3.

    I'll keep some elms, but I hate splitting such stringy, twisty bark.
  10. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    List above is good - if soil and climate fit, go with hybrid poplar or hybrid willow. Likely 5-15 year rotations. Don't expect 2 acres to furnish enough wood unless soil and climate are ideal, and then likely not enough also, and you give up the idea of a mixed woodland.

    Forget about sugar maple on such a small tract, if firewood is your goal. You won't live long enough to get reasonable firewood from sugar maple.
  11. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I'm not planting hybrids- I'm definitely interested in natives. I guess I want the best natives for the job, and will allow some mix. You're right- it's not going to supply me alltogether.
  12. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    If I was looking for a renewable resource to burn, in my lifetime, I'd plant ash or poplar. They both grow straight and fast, of course we don't have the ash borer around here yet.

    Poplar is a faster burning wood and now I mostly use it for the shoulder season, but it does grow fast.
  13. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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    What about fast growing willows? Willows can put on 9' of height a year in most climates.
  14. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Willows generally need lots of water (I'm high and dry), and they're very low density (need to hire immigrant labor to feed the stove- LOL)
  15. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Just say'en I've burned tons of willow too...if it grows I burn it. But if I had my choice between willow and poplar it be poplar cause those trees have 1 trunk and it grows straight...willows spread out and at least ours are multi trunked. Any tree here that has more that one trunk is a target...

    ...truthfully I forgot why but back in the day when DEC agents were professional biologists and not revenue generators with guns. They told me cut the dead trees, the big trees then the multi trunked trees to correctly manage a wood lot...

    ...and that's what I do. Why make it any harder than it is.
  16. caber

    caber New Member

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    Poplar does grow incredibly fast and straight. Also dries really quickly and catches easily. We have several pastures that were left to nature just 25 years ago that are now choked full of Tulip Poplar trees that are as big as 50-60 feet tall and 2-3 feet in diameter. Straight as an arrow. Only problem with it as a firewood is how fast it burns. But, I have tons of it to keep tossing in.

    My plan is to remove all the poplar from those fields (keep the other species) and return them to grazing for the sheep. Then use 5-10 acres for better hard woods. Preferably Ash in rows and scattered maples.

    We have several Black Walnut trees. Nothing much grows around them. As I recall, the leaves and roots ooze some chemical that is toxic to other plants.
  17. wally

    wally New Member

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    for your location, southern nh, i'd say black locust and red maple would be good choices for fast-growing trees. red oak will do ok, too, and may produce more BTU's even if it produces fewer cords. i'd stay away from sugar maple, yellow birch and beech.

    you won't have to worry about the locust. it can and does get plenty big, even in new england. i can show you some monsters in central nh, groves near old cellar holes with some trees eclipsing 30" dbh and 70' tall. locust was planted by farmers because it grew rapidly and had decent rot resistance (it was used extensively for fence posts).
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