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Undertaking a project on 128 acres of wooded forest, pine reduction, advice needed...

Discussion in 'Arborist 101' started by anymanusa, Jul 1, 2018.

  1. anymanusa

    anymanusa ArboristSite Guru

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    So this is a plot of land my wife wants to remove virginia pines and make room for hardwoods to grow. This is like a lifelong care and maintenance project for us to enjoy. It's going to kind of be our playground to some extent. We want to make a cottage and some camping, and do all kinds of other things with this. There is a conservation easement and it is connected to a national forest. This means that we can't clearcut the place, but the conservation folks are okay with the pine removal. We just have to have documentation and letters and so forth.

    It's my understanding that virginia pine is a trash tree and we really can't get anything for it or sell it in any way. Maybe some of you guys are smart enough to be able to look over this picture with the rough boundaries and figure out how much pine is on this lot. We are going to keep all the loblollies and longleaf pines. There are very few in comparison. The vast majority of this green is virginia pine.

    I have a few questions. I have a stihl ms441, fs460, and a few smaller saws. My fil has a few tractors. What kind of an undertaking is this? How long should I expect this to take? what kind of progress can I make? How does one go about managing all the waste trees on a project like this? Do I just stack them up and burn them?

    As you can see, I don't even know where to begin or what questions to ask, I'm just trying to wrap my head around all of this and buy some more equipment if necessary. I haven't committed to high dollar chippers or anything, I'm just a dude who likes to be out doors and has some saws, and my wife has a plan for this land.

    Thanks for all input.



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  2. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    1) How close are you to paper mills? Virginia pine makes good pulp - better than most, actually. It isn't planted much because it rarely grows into better logs (the higher value product coming out of almost any pine harvest).
    2) How much volume of Virginia pine do you have? If there is enough, and you are close enough to a pulp mill, they may pay you to harvest the timber. If you are going that route, MAKE SURE you have a forester who is administering the sale on your behalf.
    3) If there isn't enough to bring in a commercial operation, do you care if you make a little money for a lot of work? If not, scrap the idea of "harvesting" and just call it a "non-commercial thinning". If you are doing that, there may be cost assistance available through a program called EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program). Check with the local county agricultural service offices (specifically, NRCS) and/or the state forestry folks.
    4) If you are doing a non-commercial thinning, I'd just girdle the trees or fell them if you'd rather. Generally girdling is: faster, safer, does less damage, and keeps the snags standing for the wood peckers.
    5) Glad you want to manage for hardwoods. It is pretty tough to regenerate Longleaf and Loblolly pine without clearcuts (add Oak to that list too...). I'm kinda surprised there is more of those than Virginia pine, as they tend to do well in the flats while Virginia tends to do well on ridge tops which is where it looks like most of your pine is. What kind of hardwoods do you have and what do you want to manage for?
    6) Have you had a forester help you develop a plan to manage it? Again...something that the state folks may be able to help with. Some states offer that, others do not. I did just that for landowners in Ohio for almost 20 years. What State are you in?
     
    anymanusa, gorman, CacaoBoy and 3 others like this.
  3. anymanusa

    anymanusa ArboristSite Guru

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    There is one within an hour or two, I'll have to check on that for viability, my wife is under the impression that no one would want this wood...

    These are 30-40' tall probably up to 10, maybe 12" diameter, and thousands of them.

    Noted, thanks.

    Because girding would cause them to lose their needles and stop blocking sunlight?

    There are only sporadic longleaf or loblolly pines as far as I can tell. Maybe 1 or 2 in a 50 tree cluster.

    She is working with some of the conservation easement folks, and we will be talking extensively with foresters, as long as we can get their time. Alabama.

    thanks for the reply.
     
  4. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    RE girdling: yes...the point is there are limited resources (sunlight, water, nutrients) to grow trees. If you can stop a tree from taking those resources, other surrounding trees can have them. A dead standing tree, a tree lying on the ground, fed through the chipper or burned is no longer taking those resources.

    Side note: there is some argument that leaving a tree on site will keep the nutrients on site to be recycled. Research, however, has found that it doesn't make a big difference whether or not the trees are removed or left on site.
     
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  5. old CB

    old CB ArboristSite Operative

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    Give strong consideration to just felling and letting the trash trees feed the ground.

    I have camp acreage (upstate NY near Canada) where I thin the woods to favor sugar maples. Much of mine begins as "pole woods"--overgrown with small diameter trees. I select the better maples, oaks, etc. and drop others to give the selected trees less competition. You can see the results in a few years, as the keeper trees are "released," in forestry terms, from competition. The cull trees I merely dice up enough to get them mostly in contact with the ground, which hastens decomposition. Every form of life--bacteria, insects, birds, and so on up the food chain--thrives on this stuff. I girdle and leave standing an occasional tree where directional felling would be extra work (and the natural lean threatens a good keeper), and the standing dead is great for wildlife as well.

    On steep ground especially, the cull wood can help hold soil and forest litter from washing downhill.
     
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  6. Diy mechanic mike

    Diy mechanic mike ArboristSite Member

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    My dad and I are doing a similar thing but with just 27 acres and i can tell you now a truck load of saws ain't gonna get you anywhere fast unless you have a army running them. We have two saws, a old mf tractor with loader,a bushhog, box blade, bottom plow, 6-way blade, old whisper chipper 12in, grain truck with dump bed for chipping into cuz were using chips for gardening areas and steep slopes that are hard to maintain. And the big logs were stacking on a trailer and hauling to stacking location for fire wood use or log checks for erosion control depending on if it's hard wood or trash obviously the hardwood gonna be fire wood but the trash wood will work for log checks in troublesome areas so every bit of earth waste can be used to further your farm instead of just burning it(waist imho unless your burning for heat). But we did burn a decent amount of stuff that was so vine infested we were just like nope not even gonna touch that except with our garden torch to light it up Haha. But were in the process of starting a small scale trimming service to make enough money to get a bull dozer 15000lbs range with 6way blade to speed up progress on our 27 acre project and the tree scrapes from trimming will be used for mulching and fire wood purposes for greenhouse. so I would say if your financially able to buy a dozer with 6way do it cuz you can clear some **** and do dirt work to fix erosion issues cuz by looking at that aerial you got erosion issues for sure but chain saws for cleaning up 128 acres I have to say from 27 acres experience there no way your getting to your dream in your lifetime with chain saws... sorry for the harshness but this is something you need truth on before you get to far in with chainsaws Haha. we have only cleared about 2 acres of land so far for farming and it has taken us almost 2 years because obviously summer time clearing by hand is rough we did most work in winter cuz you work to warm up instead of barely working and still dying from the heat. Now like I said it is just me and my dad so if it's just you and your wife it might be a little slower unless you got a real Linda logger for a wife Haha but my mom and sister have helped a lot with food for us while were slaving so we put all time into clearing rather then stopping early to get home to make food before we starve out lol.
     
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  7. anymanusa

    anymanusa ArboristSite Guru

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    Oh I don't take it as being "harsh". I don't have but a day a week at most to work on it, and there won't be final grades issued...if I get sick of working it, it stays where it lays until we make other plans. Right now we're working the roads, and I can have those cut up right in a few months. I know cutting every last pine from the forest is a massive end goal, even if we were to just girdle every one, that's a million miles of walking.

    Really, I don't think any of it is flat enough for bulldozing work, but the fil has one if we need.

    Yeah no doubt you and your dad can do more than me and her. She's help, but she's not as productive as a man. Really she's an impediment in a lot of ways. She's the kind who would let a lumber company take the wood, and then police the crap out of the way they would do it! Lol. She's pretty unrealistic and unreasonable too. I told her I was going to buy a clearing saw for the road work, and she was like, telling me my 2hp km130 with a saw blade would do fine...I went and bought the saw I wanted without her blessing lol. Now she understands why I got it. She isn't gonna like me buying a 543xp either, but these trees aren't gonna need me lugging my ms441cm around. That is way too much saw for the trees that will need a chainsaw, and my husky 435 ain't quite enough saw.
     
  8. Diy mechanic mike

    Diy mechanic mike ArboristSite Member

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    Yeah were wanting to get a dozer for lots of 6in diameter and down trees on about 5 of 27 acres were wanting to farm berries on... and also need dozer for lots of dirt work, pond or two into the hillside for erosion control and irrigation of crops, road ways into hillsides, and eventually clearing into the rest of land for walnut tree planting cause that's gonna be my retirement I'm 25 right now and got about 100 seedlings growing from seeds I collected last fall so gonna do it every fall til I plant up the whole 22of 27 acres since berries are gonna have the other 5.... seems like a good thing for me and nature and of coarse once I harvest them I'll replant for the next person in line and/or nature, and for God sake tree farms are just beautiful when they are all rowed out. I'm wanting to do the walnuts on contour in rows, (have done a lot of homework on the tree farm thing and hilly terrain), but not gonna be able to do that til we get a dozer cause it would be to much work with just tractor.
     
  9. Diy mechanic mike

    Diy mechanic mike ArboristSite Member

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    You tube "19 on-contour swales" for a simple video of what were trying to do to our 27 acres Haha. it's a really cool thing that I think a lot of ppl with hilly terrain should start doing to stop filling the bottom of ocean with our eroded land lol cause that's where all the land we see disappear ends up eventually. And the water storage on hillsides creates better soil for plants or trees to grow in and of coarse plenty of water to drink when they need it.
     
  10. Ryan'smilling

    Ryan'smilling Addicted to ArboristSite

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    There's many saws that are a much better value than a 543xp. That's just a rebadged zenoah. Not a real husky. Personally I'd look at the 241cm, 261cm or if you want it in Husky flavor a 550xp.
     
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