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Good Woodlot Management

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Jack Straw, Mar 21, 2009.

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  1. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    I have an approximately 4 acre woodlot with 1/3 Hemlock and the rest is about equal parts Hard maple, Hickory, Ash, and Beech. There are about 12 rather large (24" diameter) various above mentioned hardwood. Then about 50 medium sized trees, and then about 100 smaller trees.(very rough numbers). Some of the medium and small trees need to be thinned. I have others place to cut wood (mainly ash and silver maple there and plenty of it).

    What is the best way to use this woodlot? I will leave the hemlock alone for a windbreak. I have been told to leave large trees because they produce the new saplings. Is this true? I am thinking about cutting 1-large, 5- medium, and thin out the small trees as needed, each year. Is this a good plan? Thanks.

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  2. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    We selectively log our land in the Adirondacks. The mills around don't want anything bigger than 24" other than pulp. If you are looking to maximize the long term value of the stand, I would consider removing them and open up the canopy. Other than your wind break, thin anything that isn't going to be a log or good btus for your house someday. For example, all of the beech that is either molded or destined for it. The thinning will keep you warm in the short run and help pay the taxes in the long run.
  3. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Look for trees with small trunks and big tops, then cut them down.
  4. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Hello Jack all trees leave saplings...

    ...big trees eventually rot and die to be come widow makers...in the meantime they choke out other growth. I don't think 4 acres is sustainable for a 24/7 wood burner but if it were here's how I would try and make a go of it.

    Cut out the dead trees, the biggest trees any forked trunked or multi-trunked trees and junk wood trees to let your better grow straight. That's pretty much my order of cutting here and it has worked out well for us.

    Hemlock is probably my favorite looking conifer tree if I had a stand of them here I'd be ruthless in removing them...I know you won't do it so I won't mention it.
  5. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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  6. `RyaN`

    `RyaN` New Member

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    Watch for disease/insects in your wood lot too. I know here in PA the hemlocks are dying due to the adelgid. Supposely the adelgid is going to be like the chestnut blight and wipe out most native eastern hemlocks.

    As for managing your woodlot. It is all dependent on what you want from the outcome of the woodlot. If it's for burnign wood, you might manage it differently then if you want to harvest trees for money and if you are looking at wildlife habitat you again might want to manage it differently.

    Have fun and enjoy your woods!!
  7. DaveBP

    DaveBP Minister of Fire

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    You should try calling your State Forest Service. They might send a ranger out to look over your property with you and make recommendations based on what your goals for the place are. They are up on all the advancing plagues of disease and pests and can answer any questions you have. That's part of their job. You've already paid them.
  8. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the replys.
    I want to use the wood for burning. I do have other sources for wood, but it's on other people's land and who knows what could happen in the future. I just want to harvest my woodlot in the most efficient way possible for as long as possible. The thought of having someone from the Gov't on my land rubs me the wrong way. It may be a good idea, but it ain't gonna happen.
  9. Tree farmer

    Tree farmer New Member

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    Central NH
    some rules of thumb, strictly speaking firewood here not sawlogs
    Pick the largest healthiest crowned trees no matter their stem quality (easier to identify in full leaf out) and release at least two sides (look at crowns as having four quadrants)
    releasing healthier stems large or small equals more sunlight and less competition
    more sunlight to the crown equals more sugars produced by the tree
    more sugar and movement of the tree equals faster stem growth
    faster stem growth yields faster cordwood production-
    if it is diseased or damaged remove it - simple as that

    Trees regenerate by coppice (sprouting) and seed bank in the forest duff. Usually large stumps produce few sprouts but roots may sprout especially on American beech after being cut- thinning these out as they grow is advantageous to faster stem growth.
    Coppice regeneration grows faster (already has established root system) so tend these along

    Personally, hemlock takes up too much growing space and sunlight if I am trying to maximize growing space hemlock goes first but you have to decide what is more important- visual aesthetics and diverstiy or firewood production.

    If you want deer or turkey in your back yard don't cut large oaks just release them and save a few large beech and cherry if you have them.

    Good luck. TF
  10. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    I'm in south Pennsylvania and have about the same size wood lot. I don't think I can get enough wood off it to sustain my winter burning needs.

    First thing I did was cut out most of the dead laying and standing, and then began to pull down leaners and such. I have a strong representation of black walnut and have no problem thinning them out.

    I try to leave a few of each species so as to propagate.

    I have left a couple dead standing for woodpeckers to graze.

    I've cut all boxelder down and treated stumps with 100% crossbow. (works every time) :):):) no regrowth.

    I've also been working on multiflora rose eradication which is a beeech to handle...the stuff is deadly, and if you've removed a bunch of it you'll KNOW what I'm talkin' about.
  11. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    I would absolutely not do this. There is no telling what he/she might see or find and there's no telling what headaches may ensue.
  12. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Plant some Locust. It is very nearly the best firewood there is, and nothing grows faster.
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