Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fall Woodlot Report Part 2: Utilizing dead trees

In part 2, I will be discussing how I am utilizing dead wood from the flooded area. Trees are continuing to die in the flood prone area as their roots succumb to the lack of air and they suffocate. Trees have different abilities to survive flooding. The bald cypress I planted are extremely flood tolerant, and their knees are what allow them to breath when the majority of the root system is underwater. The willow oaks and nutmeg hickories that have died can only withstand 6 months or so of standing water. A few are on slightly higher gound allowing them to last a few years longer than others, but I believe they will all die eventually in this area. I have started trying to get these down before they die or after they are dead but still sound enough to take down. Wildlife trees are also important and the ones I cannot get to or were already damaged will remain for this purpose. The eastern red cedar's flood capacity is not known to me and I am leaving any live ones and taking any dead ones. Luckily, they do not rot and can wait around as dead standing trees until I get to them. Bugs love the hickory so much that the one I took down still had leaves on it and had bugs all the way to center. Smaker and firewood is all these will be good for. I have not taken down any willow oak that died this year. The cold weather should hold off the bugs until spring. I hope to salvage some timber for projects on the property, but they may become firewood if the bugs are to bad. The nice thing about the mill is I can cut down to the heartwood and make lumber while cutting up the sapwood into firewood if the bugs have only made it a little ways into the wood. The cedar I took down was beautiful, and one had a really interesting ring of sapwood inside the heartwood. It is going to become a picnic table for the property since it would be a waste to turn it into posts. Three hours of labor netted me 6 nice cedar saw logs, a short cedar elm, and a hickory that will become firewood. I have to more large cedars to get out and several small ones. There are also several willow oaks to take down that recently died and my not be full of bugs. Two may be to large for the log arch even. All told, I believe I can get quite a stack of lumber out of the dead trees with at least 7 more sawlogs of cedar and hopefully 9 of willow oak if the arch can get them all. I believe those willow oaks are going to be my pavilion posts, perlins, and such since there will be no ground contact. Well, that is enough on salvaging dead trees. Part 3 will be on the pond.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fall Woodlot Report Part 1: Forest Health

I am splitting up my recent observations and tasks into multiple posts. Today, I will cover the the health of the trees and the seedlings I planted. I suspected this spring that several more trees would die from the high water in the pond. The water was still in the forest and several cedars, oaks, and hickories had succumbed to the flooding. A few cedars I thought were in danger made it through and should not be in danger. The previous owner's modifications to the pond in 2006 must have affected the water level, and the addition of beaver trying to raise it over the last couple of years has raised it even further. There is hardly any sign of terrestrial plants where there were many when we purchased it. The flooding backs into previously forested areas the entire year, except maybe drought years, where the trees will continue to die unless I make changes to the pond. The new wetland areas are nice and I believe I will keep some for diversity and the fish. I am going to continue planting flood tolerant trees where the forest is continueing to die off. Bald cypress is doing well where I planted them 18 months ago. A growth rate of 4-5 feet in that time seems excellent to me. The photo is an example of those planted, albeit not the straightest but the driest to get to. I believe I will mix in some tupelo and sycamore in the next planting. I also planted mayhaw trees at the same time. Those have been flooded to the point I cannot spot any and are probably dead. I hope a few survived. Cottonwood was this years planting near the far north end of the dam. I found a nice series of mud puddles along my planting path and no sign of the cuttings. They should have been moist enough and were growing well earlier this year. I believe the hogs pound their roots to be a tasty treat. The entire area I planted was to wet to inspect, but at least 3/4 of them appear to have been eaten or killed. A few more of the oaks on the fringes of the pond have died since this spring as well. I had time to salvage the cedars, and it looks like I may be able to salvage a few of the oaks. The cutting and utilization of these trees will be part 2 of this series. Part 3 will be about the pond and its management.

Friday, November 12, 2010

2 trips in 2 weeks, amazing!

I made it out 2 times in the past 2 weeks. Hope to make it out again next week to hunt and possibly do a little milling. It sure is looking good out there. Cut some wood for the mill, fireplace, and to deer hunt. I scoped out a concrete pad I am sizing up to build a pavilion on for picnics. The trees were cut for either posts or picnic table for the pavilion. A beaver has been out there but not sure if it is still around. A lot of dirt has been pushed up around the overflow pipe on the dam and I found the den. I checked on the trees I have planted. The bald cypress are doing well with some around 5 feet tall. The cottonwood has been hit by animals, and all that is left is little mud puddles in a neat line where they were planted. The mayhaws also look to have drowned in the high water. I will need to get a closer look with waders or rubber boots to tell them apart from the brushy plants. I will get another post up soon with pics and better details.