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Discussion: New forest

in: Charlie; Charlie > 2019-10-14

Oct 15, 2019 5:33 PM # 
Any particular species you're favoring? I'm seeing lots of black birch up higher, pine and oak down lower, plus beech that wants to pop up everywhere and then die in about 10 years. Expect sugar maple as well, but that comes along more slowly. Trimming out the beech and hemlock, too, as they will never be good crop trees.
Oct 15, 2019 6:17 PM # 
Interesting. I’ve certainly seen a sub-species of beech here in the midwest forests that is huge!

If one had a woodlot, and was super-concerned about mitigating all his O travel by planting trees, what type of tree would add carbon to its girth the fastest?

And if one wanted to grow construction lumber-trees, that would be harvested and used to build, so that that carbon would be stored for 100 years or more after the tree matured and died, what type of tree would be the most likely candidate? Hemlock, for both questions?
Oct 15, 2019 7:22 PM # 
Long-lived trees would be best for carbon sequestration, but the question is complicated by the various diseases trees are subject to. In these parts, hemlock is no longer particularly useful, because it is subject to wooly adelgid, which kills them gradually. Over the last 20 years many of the large forest have had their hemlocks cut to forestall them dying in place. Oak is wonderful, but the MDC (the water company) has cut a lot of oak in recent years because it was under so much stress from the gypsy moth. So you don't know today what diseases may strike over 100 years or so. These days, the most valuable timber tree in these parts is the northern red oak and we have a lot of them and continue to like them. However other oaks, particularly white oak and chestnut oak, are a better food source for animals.

The trees that are growing up now in our 13-year old clear cut are pretty diverse, primarily hardwoods, with a smattering of pine, and a smaller smattering of hemlock. Probably black birch is the most prominent, but we also have a fair amount of white birch, red oak and chestnut oak. There is particularly some really nice straight yellow birch coming in,and we will favor that. Yellow birch is apparently valuable now for veneer. A few white oak. There were quite a few scattered big tooth aspens, but Zack has been cutting them out, and the forester concurred.They are fast growing, not of much intrinsic value for timber (although food for grouse), and tend to shade out more valuable trees. I haven't seen sugar maple, but we have a fair amount of red maple coming in, much of it sprouting from old stumps. We will be cutting out some of the sprouts where there are multiple sprouts from the same stem, favoring the straighter stems. We have pin cherry (a good food source, but not particularly valuable as lumber) and a few black cherry. That will stay, but much of the pin cherry will come out gradually as we favor the birch and oak. Haven't seen much hickory. Seems like we used to have a lot of hickory, and we do have it in the mature forest around the clear-cut. Also some nice enough looking sassafras, some striped maple which we will cut out, to the extent it isn't already getting shaded out.

So a lot of stuff. Nice that we can walk through the forest now, after many years of it being too thick (and scratchy). Certainly all the blackberry canes are long gone by now.
Oct 16, 2019 12:51 PM # 
Hemlock does not make good lumber because it has a tendency to shake, or split along the grain. For heavy timber it's okay, but not dimension board. Mine ended up as chips for paper pulp, sold by the ton at $30 per. Poor pine also ends up as pulp, but good quality goes for boards and is worth much more.

We've got lots of hickory, too. This is a good mast year and I'm drying some nuts to see if they're worth eating.
Oct 16, 2019 4:33 PM # 
We have a huge crop of red oak acorns, but the whites and chestnuts are not producing much this year. I haven't been paying much attention to the hickories, but I'll go poke around under some.
Oct 16, 2019 4:53 PM # 
We have masses of acorns from our oak. Does that make it a red? I’m happy to at least know oak.
Oct 16, 2019 4:59 PM # 
Check the leaves. Your oak may very well be a red, but conditions may be different at your place than at ours. Not far away, but almost 1000' of elevation and whatever other local conditions. Oak leaves are certainly still on the trees, and they are generally the last to fall. Although beech leaves often hang on a long time.
Oct 16, 2019 5:32 PM # 
I've got a lot of acorns, but I don't know if my oaks are red or black. I think I figured it out once, but I forget the answer. The distinction is a little subtle.
Oct 16, 2019 8:13 PM # 
Leaves are all mostly up, so far but tonight may bring many down. The description makes it sound red but will have to wait to see. For now seems like various birches have come down.
Oct 17, 2019 1:32 PM # 
Quite a lot of hickory nuts on the trails, particularly after heavy wind and rain last night.
Oct 17, 2019 5:45 PM # 
My hippie sister used to gather acorns, blanch them, grind them, and make a delicious bread from them for her commune out in California in the 1970's. No yeast, but very dense and nutty, right from the wood-burning oven!
Oct 17, 2019 8:54 PM # 
Delicious? Seems hard to imagine. However, if one is going to do it, white oak corns would be the way to go. Red oak acorns have way too much tannin in them. However, things could be different in California with the live oaks. I don't know much about them, although I did live for a year in the midst of a theoretical thousand of them.

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