Hardwood management in pine area
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    Hardwood management in pine area

    Fair notice- this is a bit of a gear grinder more than really looking for answers.

    Our area is rural with a lot of timber. Over the past 50 years, the recommendation has been to convert hardwood land to plantation loblolly pine so there is a lot more pine than good hardwood in the area. I get it, pines grow well. With present day genetics and management practices it's a very predictable tree. They grow much faster than hardwoods and landowners can look at 2-4 generations of trees over the course of a lifetime instead of 1-1 1/2 generations for hardwoods. Pines will also grow in soil that would produce only scrubby hardwoods so there are a lot of good things about growing pine.

    However, being the stubborn soul that I am, I want to grow hardwoods when the soil and ground will support GOOD hardwood trees. Some of my land will support good hardwood as evidenced by the fact we have good mature hardwood growing there.

    Here's the rub- it's time and past time to harvest some of the trees and get a new generation going. Area consulting foresters and loggers are clueless on how to do that. They know how to do a clear cut. They know how to thin a pine stand. They don't have any experience with cutting mature hardwoods and getting them to a landing without screwing up trees that are to be left growing. It's not just me running into this issue, it's any landowner in this part of the state who is attempting to manage hardwood forests. If I was 20 years younger, I'd consider biting the bullet and buying the equipment to do harvesting myself but I'm a bit too old to go that route.

    Eventually, some newer generation loggers will see an opportunity and jump into this market. There's value in hardwoods, at least good oak, poplar, hickory. We don't have any good markets for gum, beech or low quality trees as local pallet plants have shut down and we don't have any mills cutting railroad ties. The easy thing would be to sell the existing hardwoods, take the money and plant pine trees but dang it- that's putting all the eggs in one basket. What happens if for some reason the pine market shuts down or a pest or disease devastates pine trees? I don't want to leave my children with only one type of crop tree when there is ground that will support better options.

    Sorry for the rant/whine/gripe. I'll figure this out and find a logger but at the moment it's frustrating.

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    Keep in mind that I know next to nothing on this subject... but that's never stopped me from jumping in before!

    When I read your post, I was reminded of these folks... Hardwood Lumber and Veneer Log Merchants - 100% FSC Certified In the "This Old House" that's currently airing on PBS, they used this outfit to provide the hardwood flooring for the project. Apparently they hand select the trees when they harvest them and do them just a few at a time. When they harvest, they replant something like a 10-1 ratio so they're always growing more than they're harvesting. If I remember correctly, they do provide forestry services consulting. Might be worth a call.

    They also own this flooring company... Hardwood Flooring | Buy Direct From The PA Manufacturer | FSC Cetified Sweetie is really bugging me for wood floors in the house so I'm going to call these people to find out the cost. They're close enough that I can haul a trailer up there to pick up what we'd need.
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    If I am reading this correctly - you are having a hard time finding a logging contractor to do a select harvest of your hardwoods?

    That is all that is done around here. Back in the 1800’s this area called the Big Woods was clear cut - it was 90% hemlock. After the clear cut and all the problems that they didn’t foresee, the Big Woods came back as a 90% hardwoods forest.

    In Pa in my area 80% of the area is owned by the state. Now they practice strict select harvest rules. Getting the harvestable trees out through the forest is a challenge but it is done every day around here. It is done with small skidders pulling at most 3 trees at a time for miles at times to get to landings.

    The only conifer type trees that are harvested around here are the few that must be taken to make skid trails. There is no market for them except for a chip board plant and a paper mill which are far away. Hardwood mills abound.

    If you have enough acreage to harvest maybe contacting a logger from my area? Will travel for trees?
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    Right now, in New England anyway, there is little market for hardwoods. People are clearing lots and stuffing the whole tress directly into wood chippers and composting the chips. If they have enough chips they might find a wood pellet manufacturer that is willing to buy them and sometimes they can find a bio-fuel electric plant that will buy them but most just seem to go to waste.

    The arborists in my area have been complaining over the last 4-5 years that they have to pay people to take their hardwood logs. I talked to a guy that was complaining about it and told him he was free to drop a truckload in my side yard. He ended up dropping off 3 loads of oak and cherry that I cut it up for firewood. (Got about 16 cords out of it!)

    But you'd be planting and trying to think ahead 40-50 years. There's no telling what the markets will look like that far down the road. That makes it tough.
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    The hardwoods market around here is hot - the only industry that is surviving.

    The mill up the road had a kiln fire about a year ago. They invested into a huge new building. This image shows only a small percentage of the raw intake lot.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Hardwood management in pine area

    Quote Originally Posted by mark02tj View Post
    Keep in mind that I know next to nothing on this subject... but that's never stopped me from jumping in before!

    When I read your post, I was reminded of these folks... Hardwood Lumber and Veneer Log Merchants - 100% FSC Certified In the "This Old House" that's currently airing on PBS, they used this outfit to provide the hardwood flooring for the project. Apparently they hand select the trees when they harvest them and do them just a few at a time. When they harvest, they replant something like a 10-1 ratio so they're always growing more than they're harvesting. If I remember correctly, they do provide forestry services consulting. Might be worth a call.

    They also own this flooring company... Hardwood Flooring | Buy Direct From The PA Manufacturer | FSC Cetified Sweetie is really bugging me for wood floors in the house so I'm going to call these people to find out the cost. They're close enough that I can haul a trailer up there to pick up what we'd need.
    Mark

    When we did our floors I got our flooring from Weavers Woodworking in Ephrata PA. He was one of the cheapest around and makes a great product. I think I paid $3.50 a square foot for #2 grade quaterswan white oak in 3”, 4”, and 5”.

    I could have gotten clear but the price was over double the number 2 and I might have wasted 10% of the number two cutting it knots. Tight knots I left giving the floor character.




    I also have a friend that make really nice furniture grade pre finished hard wood.

    http://www.rehmeyerfloors.com

    Just don’t look at the hand scraped line. If I was rich it’s what would be in my house.
    I’ve watched him manufacture it and I can tell you that it is hand scraped and I can definitely see where he gets that much tied up in it.

    A floor that looks 200 years old out of the box.





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    Beautiful floor, J3!!

    THANKS for the source information. I've jotted it down for future reference.
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    IMHO, anyone that tells you they can select cut, and leave younger trees unscathed, is lying to you,,

    After watching my crew this spring,, I doubt there is a better crew in the state of Virginia,,
    they "select cut" a few acres,, and EVERYDAY they were apologizing for the damage done.

    There is no way to take down a tree that is as large in diameter as it is tall,, as a harvest tree.
    It can be done in a city, where the homeowner is paying thousands of dollars per tree for removal.

    That type removal is not for harvest.

    I was happy with my select cut, I only wanted enough left to act as a buffer between me and the neighbors.
    I got that,,,but, LOTS of young trees were obliterated,,,
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    Treefarmer i applaud your intentions. Not enough people are thinking of future generations. As to disease or such a few years back one of our state parks which was planted with pine by the conservation corps had most of these tall straight pine trees devestated by some disease and only now is mother nature reclaiming the land. Best wishes in your endevors

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    Thanks for the responses

    Thanks to all who jumped in the conversation. While it's not possible to take down big trees without causing some issues with young trees, my issue is that I've got mature trees, no mid canopy or mid age trees and a few seedlings coming up in the spots where sun can hit the forest floor. So the issue isn't taking out the young trees but felling and skidding without tearing up the trees that I want to leave.

    It can be done but it's slower work than the normal pine clear cut. Most loggers in this area use feller bunchers and skid out whole trees letting the ground break off the pine branches on the way. Logs are usually left truck length. That's great for a pine clear cut as a small crew can fell and haul a lot of loads in a week. It won't work well for me as if they try to drag the whole tree, they would be clearing out a path 50' wide every time. Some hand cutting/topping would be required and most crews really don't do that in this area. In a nutshell, that's the issue- loggers are used to cutting pine on a high volume basis and know how to do it well. They aren't used to this type of harvest.

    Can I import a crew? Maybe although it's doubtful that a crew would travel so far as to require being away overnight while harvesting. I may be able to get a crew from closer to the mountains in Va. I think that's probably my next step although one logger in the area claims he has done good select cuts. I'll go inspect some of them when I get a chance. I did one visit with a different logger and wasn't impressed with his work. From what I could see, he simply high graded the best trees and left junk which is exactly the opposite of what I need. It will be a process but hopefully I'll find the right crew.

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