Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Silviculture of Southern Upland Hardwoods, Bulletin 22

A quick review of a helpful little book. Written by Lawrence C. Walker and published y Stephen F. Austin University School of Forestry in January 1972, it is the sixth of a series of books on southern silviculture. I picked it up because it has some helpful info on the Cross Timbers and post oak forests, oak-hickory forests, and southern black walnut plantations. It is a helpful little bulletin with some very specific information. It would be even more helpful for forest owners in the southern Appalachians and the Ozarks of Arkansas. They discuss regeneration, management, and problems to very specific forest types and regions in the south. One interesting tidbit that is a good example of the info inside is that forking in white oaks may be hereditary. Bad news for anyone with a poorly managed stand with forked seed trees looking for regeneration. I hope to find the rest of this series to see what other helpful info they have, hopefully one on bottomland hardwoods.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Basic Pond Management, the book

The book is written by Bob Lusk with Mark McDonald. It is a basic primer on pond management with chapters on planning and building a pond, fish, stocking, harvest, habitat, existing ponds, and wildlife. The information is presented well and should be read by any aspiring pond owner whether they will guild or buy one. I wish I had read this before my purchase! I especially liked the chapter on evaluating existing ponds, even though mine was in hindsight. All of the chapters are very informative and will create a knowledge base for your continued education if you feel that necessary. The broad scope does limit the details and a knowledgable pondmeister will probably want to skip it. I have found myself pulling it down off the shelf several times as a starting when I want to bone up on some pond information. It is definitely a book not to judge by the cover, love the '80's shorts and hat, so do not believe the out of date clothes mean out of date info. This is a timeless classic on ponds that can be found here:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thanks to the fellow pondmeister david u, here is a link on how to keep those pesky trees from growing back. Useful info anywhere you want to keep a tree from coming back, especially invasives. I used Remedy RTU around the pond because it uses vegetale oil instead of diesel. Go to keep those fishies happy!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pond work and stump sprouts

Ah, stump sprouts. Natures magical way of regrowing a tree when it has been damaged beyond repair above the ground. If you are into growing trees for firewood, then these will be your friend for coppicing. If you are trying to keep the tree away for good, then they are the enemy. I just finished clearing a bit of space on the pond shore with evil multiple stem bodark stump sprouts coming out of 12" diameter 1-2' tall stumps, and to top it all off they had thorny vines growing all through them. Other areas of the pond have large 16" diameter 4' tall elm stumps because of the steep grade and the lazy previous owner. These have resprouted into 20-30' tall trees with 4-10 stems each and a rotten center. Cut at ground level and spray with a strong hebicide, and respray any new stump sprouts. Also, some trees will send up stump sprouts 30+' away from the stump. The fight is not over, I am sure these stumps will send up new sprouts in spring, but for now the peninsula building site has the nice view in the photo.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why should I have a Forest Stewardship Plan?

While I could go into it myself, the Forest Landowners Association does a better job in their article here: . One of the keys to a good plan is a good timber inventory which they also outline here: . Look for other interesting articles in their archive section, you cannot get full access to all articles unless you are a member. I am pondering joining this organization, they have some excellent material for the woodlot owner. I am also considering joining the Texas Forestry Association so that I can get information specific to my state. Check your state, you may have resources in the form of a forestry association also.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Manual of Forestry

I found this interesting book online. It is A Manual of Forestry with special reference to forestry problems in East Texas by the Texas Forestry Service, Bulletin 45. It has some dated information, which is to be expected for a book published in 1952. One great part of the book is it is tailored to East Texas, which my property is in the northern portion. It also has some interesting chapters on some subjects rare to the average landowner book. It has a chapter on fire prevention, including the use of fire breaks in your woods and the types and factors of fires. Another interesting chapter is on forest enemies including many insects, weather, and domestic animals. Domestic grazing animals is the other unusual chapter. They discuss in depth how to graze livestock in a forest with as little damage as possible to the forest. It is definitely an intrigueing way to earn more money in certain forests as long as you are not looking fot any regeneration of tree stocks. I recommend this book for anyone with a woodlot in East Texs who has already read the usual landowner forestry books, especially if you also run cattle on the property.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Woodlot Improvement 4-H Club Bulletin

I have a very helpful bulletin from the Cornell 4-H club. If you are looking for a straight forward manual on improving your woodlot, then look no further. It is a short educational bulletin meant to teach the young club memebers on how to improve a woodlot quickly and correctly. The bulletin goes over what a good lot is, the form and species fo trees to keep, the differences between even-aged and uneven-aged woodlots, making an inventory, and harvesting. The copy I have is Bulletin 43 Woodlot Improvement: Managing the Woodlot by J.A. Cope and Fred E. Winch Jr., of which there are many reprintings. I do not know if the 4-H club has a current edition. The closest I found was this website with some of the bulletins info:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Texas Forest Service forester contacted me

Oh boy, the new management plan program is not slow! I faxed in the form late last week and they gave me a call today. I guess I was one of the first, because they had some problems with the form and fixed them when I pointed them out. The forester said they would do a walk through after the holidays and give me suggestions on what to do next.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Working With Your Woodland by Beattie, Thompson, & Levine

In my opinion, this is one of the best books for a landowner to read about forestry. If you can only get one book on forestry, this is the book for you. My only quible is that they concentrate on New England forests, but they at least explain that this is where their experience lies. The authors cover almost every aspect a landowner needs to know. The book is broken down into chapters on woodland potential, foresters, management plans, management techniques, harvesting products, and finances. Each of these chapters goes into depth on the topic without becoming to academic. They weigh the pros and cons of many different competing ideas including management types, competing land uses, and foresters. They also discuss how to decide the future of your forest in the last chapter by weighing all the book has taught you and deciding what end result you desire. It is also the only book I have seen on forestry that goes into the financial side of things, especially taxes. Having perfect trees is wonderful, if they don't cost a fortune to grow. There are many different editions out there, so be wary of the tax info is you purchase an older edition. The appendix will also help New England forest owners with a lot of state info. Read this book, it will pay for itself many times over.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Southern Woodland Trees by James Berry

I thought I would post a quick review of another book I found very useful. It is an old (1924) book, and is easy and cheap to find. The reason I found it useful is it has a very good chapter on identifying trees by their endgrain, bud structure, and leaves. It is a simpler and cheaper option before stepping up to the technical texts. Another unusual part of it is the sections on unusual trees from the south. Unusual trees can be a niche market for their lumber to the hobby woodworker. There is a break down of different oaks beyond the typical red and white. Berry also identifies the property differences among the hickories, which I have not found in any other book. Hickory was much more valuable to industry in the past so the difference in properties was important, especially strength. Each tree species has a geographical and plant description, a drawing of the leaf and fruit, tree form, occurence, distinctive characteristics, wood qualities, and uses. It is also interesting for its historical perspective on tree distribution and uses.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quick book review

Here is a book I read recently and found helpful on the basics of a woodlot. It is The Country Journal Woodlot Primer by Richard M. Brett. It is a great introductory book on how to manage your woodland. It is a bit old, but most of the information is still relevant. There is quite a bit of information on what a woodlot is and what you can do yourself. I especially like the section on planting your own seedlings, since this can be a high dollar area is someone else does it for you. It also oultines a lot of the equipment you need, just ignore the chainsaw section unless you KNOW how to handle one. I also like how the book goes about the telling you about the different paths a woodlot can take, identifying tree quality, and that it tells you to enjoy your land. First and foremost, enjoy your land and what you are doing to it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Forester guidance form

Sent in my form today to the Forest Service, hopefully it does not take to long. I will send in my form to TPWD for technical quidance on the wildlife side of things including the pond and open areas. The guidance will be in preperation for applying to the Landowner Incentive Program(LIP): . Hopefully I will qualify for some state assistance since I have prime habitat for some threatened freshwater mussels, a woodland plant called Arkansas Meadow-rue, and maybe some others. The mussels already live in the pond. I hope to be able to replant the pond perimeter with native plants and get some assistance with some timber stand improvement where the meadow-rue could be planted or may already be. The next chance I have to get out there to work is the day after Christmas. I need to clean up the brush I already cut around the pond into firewood and brush piles built for animal habitat. Many of my books describe there construction, but the Maryland DNR has the best web description: .

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Texas Forest Service website update

The website has always had a lot of good info, but they have finally updated with instructions for getting your local state forester out to your property! This is the link ot the landowner section that will get me started on a professional forestry plan. Maybe I will be able to get some professional help after all. Many other states have a forest service or dnr that can provide a lot of information to the property owner. States that have traditionally had smaller property owners seem to support them better than Texas does.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I would like to welcome you to my blog. If you are not from Texas, do not worry. A lot of information I have been digging up is good for anywhere in the country. I am trying to create a complete plan for my property including management of the forest and the pond together for income, personal enjoyment, and wildlife. Surprisingly, I have found no single book or person that deals with all sides of my plan. I am trying to learn as much as possible myself to properly manage my land. It has been tough since much of the literature is for large properties, other climates, different goals, outdated, or narrowly focused. I own 17 acres in Red River county Texas that has about 12 acres of uneven aged bottomland forest, a 3 acre pond, and 2 acres of open area. The forest has oak, hickory, elm, ash, eastern redcedar, and some other minor species. The pond is stocked with largemouth bass, hybrid bluegill, channel catfish, and crappie. It is also hosting a diverse population of migrating ducks this year. There is also a bit of history to place. The pond was originally dug in 1895 for the steam rail line that is now decommissioned. Coal is scattered around the property along with other leftovers from the railroad days. I will be reviewing the books I read about wildlife and forestry, passing along the good info, warning about the bad info, and generally trying to create what I have been looking for over the past 6 months.