July 16, 2015 at 1:43 am #42519
The other day the guy who delivered some cord wood asked me if I’d consider letting him log my property. The wooded part is only maybe 8 – 10 acres so not a huge tract. The quality of my woods isn’t all that great either. Parts of it are pretty soggy. All of it is littered with large stones. Most of it is what I consider weedy trees packed too densely. I was thus surprised by his query but he apparently sees lumber value in the towering pines that I do have and cord wood otherwise. Doing it for the money is not a big motivator for me. I’d prefer payment in the form of cord wood if I were to let him do this. A potential benefit would be the thinning of trees where they are just too thick and maybe getting a logging road out there. I have a perfect spot for a shooting range that my son wants but there currently is no easy way of getting there, hence the possible benefit of a logging road.
All that said, in the back of my mind I have viewed my woods as a prep of sorts, basically an almost unlimited source of wood fuel come a long term SHTF scenario. We’d burn lots more than we do now if we had to use it year round for cooking and heating water in a grid-down scenario. Granted, I could heat my house for years and years just off of trees in my yard but if I sold off much of what is in my woods, that supply is gone for good in any time frame that matters. The other downside is the logging trucks would have to cut through my very well maintained yard.
Thoughts?July 16, 2015 at 12:57 pm #42523
Managing the wood lot maximizing the total benefits from the trees and property is in your best interest. I suggest calling the local State Forestry Office and get the aid of their expertise. The forestry agent will teach you which trees to mark for cutting and the trees to save to allow additional growth and natural reseeding. Many poorly grown trees should probably be culled providing conditions allowing rapid growth of trees with more value. The other land use benefits are a big bonus. Make sure you use a contract specifying all the aspects of the logging operations. Use the current local prices for standing timber, the forestry agent should be able to supply them.
Have plan for brush and tops, other wise it will end up laying around everywhere.
You dictate to the logger what trees will be cut and how many controlling the outcome. Maybe you only want to sell off a few of the larger trees that have the most value. If the trees are veneer quality the standing timber prices are much higher. You need a fotester to help you so you don’t get ripped off.July 17, 2015 at 11:16 pm #42548
74 is right. You need to be very specific with the logger. They will make a real mess of things without strict guidelines. I lived on a piece of property while it was being logged when I was younger and have seen what can happen. As 74 said be sure to specify what is to be done with the tops. You may also want to discuss stumps. Will they be left or removed. Will they do any grading and clean up when they are done? You also need to discuss whether you will be selling by the ton or just a flat price. Either way count the trees you mark and count the trees that come out. If you sell by the ton make them give you copies of the weigh tickets from the mill. Now that I have all the negative out of the way, there are a lot of benefits to having some of the timber removed. It will allow other trees to grow as well as other plant life. It increases visibility which can make harvesting game easier. Cutting timber can be a great thing it just has to be done right. Remember the forester wants to improve habitat the logger wants to make money.July 18, 2015 at 12:51 am #42550
Thanks guys. I think maybe I’ll talk to a forestry agent to get some advice. My woods could definitely use some thinning, though the general sogginess of much of it likely limits its potential for much. My next door neighbor dug a nice drainage ditch today along his woodline and then down our border, connecting to the trench I had dug last year along my woodline. That’ll help drain more water away which is a good thing. Thinning the woods some would also aid in drying it out if some sun and air was allowed to penetrate.July 18, 2015 at 10:04 pm #42560
I agree with above posts. Just be sure the logger doesn’t take the best and leave the culls for you. Thinning is great but sometimes he just wants the good, straight mature trees of valuable species. We once had someone agree to thin, they came in and took the best of what we agreed upon, and “forgot” to come back and finish the job. Also, some neighbors’ tracts looked like a war zone when logging was completed. Follow the forester’s advice–they know who works with integrity and who doesn’t.July 19, 2015 at 6:00 am #42569
Wildartist made a good point I forgot to mention. Let your neighbors know when the loggers are coming. Not trying to say your logger is dishonest but I have seen loggers “accidentally” go across property lines. Mark every tree they are to take and make sure they know where the property lines are.July 19, 2015 at 12:18 pm #42570
The more I think about this the less inclined I am to allow any logging on my property. I am interested in having a forestry agent take a look just to hear what he/she might say about improving my wood lot. I’m even curious as to the loggers perspective but I don’t need the money at this time and so why not just leave it there for my own future use. Based upon what I might learn from a forestry agent perhaps I could make or direct some improvements myself so as to better the long term conditions. I appreciate the input from folks here.July 20, 2015 at 2:39 am #42576
FYI MountainBiker, a forester once told my parents that they could have firewood indefinitely from a 15 acre woodlot if managed well. Yours is a bit smaller but keep that in mind. Probably the best option is to manage it yourself. No big machines coming in to ravage the land…no ‘mistakes’ to be litigated later.July 21, 2015 at 12:42 am #42594
I think you will have fun learning about forestry management. You can still cut a few trees to make your shooting range while harvesting some fire wood. ( I’m sitting on a boat in the middle of a small creek about 150 yds from a marina with free wifi. It’s pretty hard to believe I can connect to the Internet)July 21, 2015 at 1:34 am #42598
74, my son is going to get his shooting range, but on his own property. The news as of this morning is that assuming it perks, he’ll be buying a 25 acre wooded lot here in VT. That parcel is full of mature trees and so much of the wood for the house will come from the land which will save a bundle on the construction.July 21, 2015 at 2:50 am #42604
Thinning out the woods will make it better for deer harvesting. You can certainly save a lot of money on wood flooring if you have oak or maple. If you make cabinets cherry is good to use. I don’t have a planer but I know someone who has an old one weighing in around 400 pounds. Those 3 hp motors run forever. He would sell it to me but I don’t make enough furniture to justify it anymore.August 9, 2015 at 10:41 pm #42975
I never completed the loop on this conversation. I did call the County Forestry Agent. He was pleasant and somewhat helpful but I could tell his focus is more on large parcels suitable for logging. Interestingly he called my property up on Google Earth and could tell the woods was mostly White Pines and White Cedar and that there were generally wet conditions in much of it. He said he could come take a look but first I needed to think through what my objectives were. Improving the woods is too general. The answer differs if improving for aesthetics, improving for wildlife or improving for future logging or some other use.
I went out this afternoon doing some exploration being I hadn’t been out there for quite a while. Once out there I decided to look for the pins defining the boundaries. Regretfully I didn’t being a map nor did I first review it on Google Earth so as to have some clues as to where the boundaries might be. I should have 4 pins marking the back boundary being there is a small 100’X224′ corner cut out from what would otherwise be a perfect rectangle. I did stumble upon two pins that likely are associated with my boundaries and then failed to find a 3rd which I had found a couple years ago. Next time I will take my map with me and a Google Earth printout.
I did come across a truly ancient tree that had once grown in the open as indicated by it’s spreading branches. Not sure if it is on my property or not, though I think it might be. I am going to have to go back with my tree identification book. I did take a leave off of a small tree growing at its base but could not conclusively identify it either from the tree book I have or an internet search, in part because the closest fit isn’t really an option, that being an American Chestnut. I’ll bring a tape measure the next time I go out there but the trunk has to be a good 4′ wide. There are/were enormous limbs reaching out, some of which have snapped off. I can’t guess as to the height but it is very tall. The tree is more dead than alive but it is still alive.August 9, 2015 at 10:52 pm #42976
My first guess is your tree is a beech. The leaves are similar and Chestnut trees are part of the beach family. Smooth silver gray bark?August 9, 2015 at 11:19 pm #42978
I’ve seen enormous old beech trees and know that distinctive bark but nonetheless I did look up the leaves anyway Their edges are smoother than this tree. The next closest fit is almost as unlikely as it being an American Chestnut, and this would be it being an ancient elm, though the leaves slightly favor chestnut. Also, the manner in which the limbs spread out was not the same way that a spreading elm does.August 10, 2015 at 11:17 pm #43024
I went back out there again today. No luck on finding metal pins but I did visit that grandfather tree again. This time I paid attention to the bark and while the tree didn’t have any branches low enough to take a leaf from, from studying the bark I realized that the tree I took a leaf from yesterday was not the same kind of tree, despite the leaf being similar. The bark on the main trunk was somewhat nondescript given its age and condition but the limbs coming off it were identifiable. I think the tree is actually an ancient yellow birch. The average lifespan is 150 years but they can live 300 years. The manner in which the limbs spread out is indicative of it having been in the open long ago which might make it as much as 250 years old. The circumference is more than 10′ waist high. I paid attention to the path I took exiting the woods and it is definitely on my property.
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