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Author Topic: Sweet gun tree  (Read 827 times)

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Offline Matt601

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Sweet gun tree
« on: May 25, 2018, 05:12:09 PM »
Has anyone planned sweet gun trees in the south like we plant pine trees? I have 30 acres that I clear cut last year and I was thinking about planting sweet gun because I right now there pulpwood is almost 10 more a ton and logs are $20 buck more a ton than pine. What do you guys think?
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Sweet gun tree
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2018, 06:54:46 PM »
Don't worry, it will plant itself.   ::)

The key to your question is the rate of growth of Sweetgum vs SYP.
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Offline bluthum

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Re: Sweet gun tree
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2018, 08:05:10 PM »
The giant corporate tree growers in the south have experimented with lots of hardwoods over the years but have stayed with syp for what that's worth.

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Sweet gun tree
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2018, 09:46:45 PM »
Personally I am of the belief that if all we plant is pine there will come a day when pine is not worth much to the private landowner. Already there are mills that will only buy pine from crews working on corporate owned land. Got beautiful pine on private land? Nobody to sell it to, unless you want to just about give it away. 

The commodity world does not act in the best interest of the little guy, only themselves. Just because it's what they plant does not mean others can't do far better. 

You can go to Lowe's and buy cheap 2x lumber all day long. Ask them for some 6"-8" wide oak flooring and see what they say, then call me. 

A lot of guys don't like gum, but I remember when guys didn't like hemlock or tamarack either and now they have value. Look back far enough and big spruce was a junk tree only used to cushion the fall of white pine for ship masts. Around these parts old barns have cherry and walnut siding... imagine that. 
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Sweet gun tree
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2018, 10:11:49 PM »
The great majority of my property is hardwood, predominantly various Red Oaks.  Yes, I have planted SYP but I also have planted Shumard, Cherrybark, and White Oaks. 

Any unattended acreage quickly chokes itself out with Sweetgum, Pecan, and Honey Locust so herbicide spraying and bushhogging are regular work activities.  :-\
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Offline Matt601

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Re: Sweet gun tree
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2018, 10:52:11 PM »
I have 30 acres planted in pine right now there 6 years old. It was a hay field I have sweet gun that are taking over there growing as fast as my pines. I was just wondering if anyone has planted any and what the growth rate of them?
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: Sweet gun tree
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2018, 11:06:14 PM »
Around here they will out grow pine.  
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Sweet gun tree
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2018, 08:50:26 AM »
They will shoot up and reach for the sky, but take like forever to put on any appreciable diameter.  There is a flat that was left unattended on my leased property about 40 years ago that quickly was overtaken by Sweetgum.  There are some 12"-14" trees but most are much smaller.  They are masters of "overtaking" but don't do well for "production".   Actually the same goes for all hardwoods, including Oaks.  One can plant SYP with the expectation of harvesting it.  Not so with Oaks.  :-\

Back in the 70's a local paper company tried planting Cottonwood trees on some of their properties.  The results were less than favorable.

I completely agree with Southside logger regarding the dilemma that we private landowners are in regarding our SYP timber vs the timber company's timber.  We are being held hostage with nowhere to go.  Some landowners are refusing to sell because of the poor prices only to let their trees grow beyond the 24" maximum diameter and are now un-sellable without being jump-butted.
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Offline timberking

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Re: Sweet gun tree
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2018, 09:02:49 AM »
See a few gum and cottonwood plantations around.  Mainly the same guy and getting impressive growth but at a cost.  He nukes before planting and follows up with hand spaying.
Seedlings are probably 4X the cost of pine.

Offline Maryland G-man

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Re: Sweet gun tree
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2018, 09:55:14 AM »
Growing gum for profit will be dicey. Keep in mind that hardwood pulpwood is already so plentiful that the pulp companies have no need to grow it on purpose. Pines are planted to ensure a consistent future supply of the fiber they need, and without planting and subsequent management the natural hardwood growth would snuff out the pine. Plus, many/most pine stands are managed with thinning to ultimately yield higher value sawtimber.

You can do the same with gum but plan on much longer time frames, lower prices, and expect serious challenges in finding a market when you want to sell. There’s always oodles of low grade hardwood out there, so why would anyone be interested in paying the premium you’d require to recoup your investment?

That said, old gum grown in tight conditions (I.e., think natural stands of mixed pine/hdwd) can make some nice logs. I used to have a market for “white gum”, tight rings, no green heart, large diameter. Also pretty rare tree. I haven’t seen that market for awhile now.

Big gum (20”+) gets good prices around here. Used for shoring, mats, other applications needing really big timbers that don’t need to last long.

Run of the mill gets run of the mill prices. Good to have the outlet but not enough to convince me it’s worth tying up my land with it.



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