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Trinity Standard - Local News

Copyright 2017 - Polk County Publishing Company

 

Landowners study hardwood management and planning for best outcomes
Trinity Standard -

Trinity County Forest Landowners Association members met on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at Barnes Landing on Lake Livingston. Speakers included Richard Cole of Burns Forestry, Crockett, TX, and Mark Brian of Bird & Crawford Forestry, Center, TX. Richard Cole gave advice on landowners having the best results with their forest property. When seeking to find property to buy, use professional advice and keep in mind the intended use of the property. Establish a basis for depletion and check that boundary lines are accurate and marked with t-posts. Seller is responsible for accurate boundary lines. When selling timber, a consulting forester protects the landowner. The forester prepares a prospectus describing the timber offered for sale and terms of the harvest. Boundary lines must be accurate and if the property owner is unsure of the boundaries, a survey will be required and the boundary clearly marked with t-posts. Identify hidden hazards including buried water lines, gas lines, septic system lines. Pipeline crossing have to be approved by the pipeline company. Be sure that gates are wide enough for a loaded log truck to maneuver an exit from the property. The forester sends the prospectus to prospective timber buyers. and collects competitive bids so the landowner gets the best price. Use Best Management Practices (BMP's) during the harvest of timber to protect the site and include such practices as leaving streamside management zones as creek buffers, waterbars on roads and restored creek crossing. Cole advised that landowners should go look at recently thinned wooded areas to know what to expect. Harvest machinery pushes down brush and trees to harvest the commercial section of the tree. Soil will be disturbed and the remaining stand may have skidding damage to tree trunks. Tops of trees are left in the woods to naturally deteriorate and provide organic matter for the soil. Harvest equipment and trucks are heavy and are hard on roads used for access to the harvest. It may be necessary for the landowner to install culverts in roads in wet areas. The log loading area is called a set and will require a cleared space for machinery. Later these open areas are suitable for wildlife food plots or will seed to natural regeneration. Plan for regeneration before the timber harvest. For natural regeneration to succeed, the seed source remaining after the timber harvest must provide good quality trees of the desired species. Pine seeds need contact with bare mineral soil to sprout and competing underbrush removed. Look at the soils on the site and whether healthy trees have regenerated there previously. Artificial regeneration by planting quality seedlings chosen for the site is an option that starts putting the forest back into good use.. If sufficient natural seedlings are not well established and free to grow in about four years following harvest, it may be time to follow good site preparation and plant nursery-grown seedlings to return a forest to productivity in a timely manner. Current strong market prices for hardwood timber promote landowners to look at places where hardwood grows naturally. Mark Brian shared the basics of hardwood: soil, water and sunlight. The area where hardwood trees grow naturally can be managed to become a productive hardwood site. Unwanted hardwood varieties should be cut and removed. The type of soil like in a creek bottom tends to be a very good hardwood site. Soils with low pH is acid and favored by almost all common hardwoods. Adequate water but not constant wet soil is favored by hardwoods. Shade tolerance is specific to types of common hardwoods. Hardwood for commercial harvest tends to be intolerant to shade or intermediately tolerant to shade so the site has to be exclusive to hardwood with no or very limited overstory of shade trees. Hardwood stand development starts after a major disturbance that removes the previous overstory. This new stand originates from existing stumps, roots, seed sources and/or from advanced regeneration that was in the understory. With competition for light, water, and nutrients, vertical stratification of individual species results. If enough stems are allowed to grow into the canopy, an uneven-age, multi-strata stand is formed. During their growth, the hardwood trees are every-changing due to environmental conditions. Management of the hardwood site through silvicultural harvesting falls into classifications. An improvement cut is to enhance stand composition and quality by removing undesirable trees. This system is commonly used in previously unmanaged hardwood stand. Crop tree release is to select individual crop trees early in the life of the stand and periodically release them from competition to promote maximum growth and quality development in those trees. Selective thinning is to control the growth of the stand by adjusting stand density and composition by selection criteria set out in the prescription. General hardwood thinning guidelines: •Begin thinning early in the life of the stand. •Leave trees with well-developed crowns and best form. •Thin from below whenever possible to remove trees with inferior crowns. •Use frequent light thinning instead of infrequent, heavy thinning. •Avoid excessive logging damage to residual trees. •Avoid "high-grading" of the stand. •Trees should be left in streamside management zones for wildlife habitat, soil stabilization, flood and erosion control •Each landowner can customize their hardwood management practices to meet their goals. The schedule for the 2017 start up of the new RoyOMartin Oriented Strand Board mill at Corrigan was reviewed. The plant is now under construction. In late August and early September they will start taking wood. In October 2017 the mill will begin producing product slowly to work out any problems. The goal is to have the mill running at full load by Christmas Day 2017. After the RoyOMartin plant starts production they plan to take 150 loads of pulp wood a day. They will take any wood with a 3 inch top. The plant will accept wood from loggers who have contacted the plant ahead of harvest and gotten a contract so the logger is identified when the load arrives at the plant. The plant will employ 165 people at full capacity to produce OSB panels. They expect the plant to produce OSB panels designed for roofing and wall construction. Todd Nightingale of the Texas A&M Forest Service encouraged the use of the website www.texasforestinfo.tamu.edu which has many options and resources for landowner use. A mapping program called Map My Property allows for mapping a property. The website has numerous resource pages listed under topics headings. Todd encouraged the landowners to keep thinning their forest to improve forest productivity. Charles Smither reported on the topics covered at the recent Texas Landowners Council at the Texas Forestry Association headquarters in Lufkin. Dues to Trinity County Forest Landowners Association (TCFLA) of $10 a year fund teacher scholarships to the Teachers Conservation Institute (TCI). The Texas Forestry Association sponsors TCI week-long workshops which use the forest to teach environmental education. The interdisciplinary workshop focuses on the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the state that comes through the scientific stewardship of its natural resources. Workshops in introductory TCI I are being taught in July 2017. Teachers take field tips to see logging operation, sawmill, forest nursery, Texas Forestry Museum and wood product facilities. Teachers receive an environmental education curricula as part of the resource materials. Call TFA for information, 1-866-TXTREES. The Trinity County Forest Landowners Association is open to all persons interested in learning about good forest management. Meetings are held quarterly, and resources on managing a tree farm for wood, wildlife, water and recreation are shared with members. Send $10 dues to Mary Bullis, 3058 Province Circle, Mundelein, IL 60060. The next TCFLA meeting is Friday, July 28, 2017.

 

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