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2” in 10 years Landowner Tree Selection for Forest Improvement Peter J. Smallidge Cornell University State Extension Forester www.ForestConnect.info What I Hope You Learn Today Overall: how to grow healthy trees that make you feel good about your forest. Specifically:

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landowner tree selection for forest improvement

2” in 10 years

Landowner Tree Selection for Forest Improvement

Peter J. Smallidge

Cornell University

State Extension Forester

www.ForestConnect.info

what i hope you learn today
What I Hope You Learn Today

Overall: how to grow healthy trees that make you feel good about your forest.

Specifically:

  • How your objectives relate to tree selection
  • Factors to consider when selecting trees to cut and leave
  • Strategies to remove unwanted trees
why grow healthy trees
Why Grow Healthy Trees

Accomplish goals soonerand with greater control

  • Timber production
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Wildlife foods
  • Aesthetics
  • Water quality
slide4

The outputs related to health require adequate tree growth. Sunlight typically limits tree growth. Cutting releases desired (uncut) trees from competition for sunlight.

What makes for healthy trees?

one example of good growth following thinning sugar maple 2 radial increment 4 diameter 10 years
One example of good growth following thinningSugar maple: 2” radial increment, 4” diameter, 10 years

Crown closure in a spruce plantation.

how to pick winners and losers

How to Pick Winners and Losers

You’re making an investment of time, money, and sunlight. Pick your investments carefully.

pick winners and losers based on
Pick Winners and Losers Based On….
  • Owner objectives for favored species (soils)
  • Healthy crowns
  • Crown class
  • Species mix for soil
  • Vigor and defect
  • Spacing
slide9

The tree crown is the production factory.

Don’t invest in a weak factory.

slide10

Favor for

Crop Trees

Avoid as

Crop Trees

From Nyland, 1996. p. 355

slide11

Know your soil type and the tree species that grow well on those soils. Favor trees suited for the soil. You can’t squeeze blood from turnip.

http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/

http://www.gmushrooms.com/Greenwood/Guide.htm

Sandy loam, good organic matter. Sugar maple, red oak, beech, white pine.

Sand, low organic matter, very well drained. White pine, red pine.

slide12

Fusarium

Eutypella

Weak Crotch

Nectria

Maple borer

Reduce defective trees. They have slower growth, provide inoculum, and are more likely to break during a storm.

slide14

Safe operations depend on your skill level and available equipment. Most people aren’t as good as they think they are.

a garden approach to forest management
A garden approach to forest management.

Crop Tree Management

http://na.fs.fed.us/stewardship

Thin around the crowns of the most desired trees.

ftg free to grow 0
FTG = Free to Grow = 0

2

1

4

3

What makes a good crop tree?

what to expect from correct thinning general trends
What to Expect from Correct Thinning – general trends

Positive effects

  • Best growth response with
    • High site quality
    • Trees 50 to 85 years
    • Healthy residual trees
  • 30 to 50% growth (cords, board feet, etc.) increase
  • Improved quality of stems
  • Reduced mortality
  • Improved live crown ratio (start with young trees)
  • Diameter response in 2 to 5 years, varies by species
  • Diameter doesn’t predict response potential (Leak)
  • Response depends on intensity of cut
what to expect from correct thinning general trends22
What to Expect from Correct Thinning – general trends

Cautions

  • Increase in epicormics by 30% (Marquis 1969), but little effect on butt log quality (Smith et al 1994)
  • No effect on height growth
  • No effect on release of low canopy trees
directional felling
Directional Felling
  • …”you decide the direction a tree falls.”
  • Game of Logging for Landowners
  • Don’t “chase the tree”
  • Directional Felling Advantages
    • Reduce hung trees
    • Safely and quickly release hung trees
    • Position log for extraction
    • Reduce risk of personal injury
    • Increased productivity
slide25

Flame Weeding (research)

  • Will kill trees
  • Is USDA organic approved
  • Some logistical advantages
  • Economics are unknown
herbicide treatments for thinning
Herbicide Treatments for Thinning
  • Cut-stump treatment [Misc. publications at www.ForestConnect.info ]
  • Basal bark treatment
  • Foliar treatment
  • http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/freepubs/pdfs/UH174.pdf
    • google psu uh174, #2 on list
so should you thin
You should thin if

Closed canopy and irregular crowns

Dead lower branches

No understory

Disease and defect

Slow radial growth

You should not thin if

Shallow roots and thin soils

You see daylight

So, should you thin?

Contact a NYS DEC forester for a FREE visit to evaluate stocking (number of trees per acre). Flag trees and have a DEC forester discuss your selection with you. DEC foresters will mark an acre to illustrate correct tree selection, or, will assess your marking with constructive ideas.

for more information
For More Information
  • www.ForestConnect.info
  • NYS DEC, public service forester http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/4972.html
  • Consulting or industrial forester http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/5230.html
  • Master Forest Owner volunteer (CCE)www.CornellMFO.info
  • http://na.fs.fed.us/stewardship (crop tree management)