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Author Topic: Tree tops after logging  (Read 1633 times)

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Offline gizmo

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Tree tops after logging
« on: June 18, 2018, 07:55:23 AM »
What is the best thing to do with the tops after getting your hardwoods logged? I am getting 250 trees cut and I am afraid of the mess after all is said and done..

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2018, 08:29:18 AM »
Have it in writing what will become of the tops.  If you already have concerns about how the job will look after it's done then you may want to re-think your plan.  
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Offline gizmo

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2018, 08:31:27 AM »
Tops are tops. What's the alternative??

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2018, 08:35:12 AM »
Chipping, burning, firewood.  You can have "wildlife habitat" or a clean lot after a job is done, depends on who does the work.  
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Offline teakwood

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2018, 08:37:07 AM »
I don't know how that is handled in the north, but here we hack them with the chainsaw and let them rot. Of course here it rots in 2-3 years 
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Offline Matt601

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2018, 08:41:25 AM »
I have pushed up the tops and burn it but the land owner gave me to wood. Hardwood I cut up in firewood but its all given to me. 
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Offline Ed_K

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2018, 08:57:44 AM »
If you have deer and want some regeneration, leave the tops whole right where they landed. The more off the ground the better. That gives the regen a chance to get started.
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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2018, 11:05:35 AM »
The branch tips 2" in diameter and smaller contain 3/4 of the trees lignin and are a critical component of forest soil so to remove them is like harvesting corn with no cover crop or rotation or fertilization after.  Nutrients are slowly depleted.  


Bigger than that is mostly carbon and cellulose, you can leave it to rot but its probably better sold as firewood if you have the means and the market.  Leaving the brush to rot is all the land really needs to maintain fertility, so by dicing tops into firewood stems to skid out, you are basically doing both steps in one activity.  All good things. 

What ed said is true as well. Even better if you pile the brush around your best crop specimens.  This will help ensure a good seed germination, deer protection for the sprouts and fertilization from the tops breaking down into humus. 
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Offline celliott

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2018, 03:37:06 PM »
If itís a hand crew, have it written they have to cut slash down to X height. Mechanical crew, they can pull whole tree and chip but youíre gonna have wide skid roads. 

Logging isnít pretty, maybe go look at some recent log jobs and get an idea of what to expect. 
Tops will rot down eventually. New stuff regenerates. It takes time though. 
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Offline wesdor

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2018, 05:24:06 PM »
I'm also a woodturner and our local club has gone out after initial harvests to collect some of the wood left by loggers. Typically they only take the butt cut (up to the first fork) and leave the rest. 

We are happy to take all those crotches and put in the extra time and work to saw them into turning blanks.  

We stack any of the small branches into burn piles, but in many cases the land owner leaves the piles for small animal shelter. 

If you have a local woodturning club near you they might be pleased to help you clean up.  You can see if there are an local clubs by going to woodturner.org. 

Good luck

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2018, 05:52:44 PM »
Oak Re-Gen is often eaten by deer if easy to get to it. Also need some dirt showing. Logger scarifies the soil in the process and leave the tops high  in pockets so wildlife can't get in the to eat. Oak is tough. Sun is critical.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2018, 06:42:20 PM »
Tops,hard wood? Maple,oak? Softwood,white pine, hemlock? I find white maple will rot,red oak will hang in there. White pine will last quite a while too,longer than white maple. When I cut,whatever I don't want gets cut into small pieces,I try for no longer than 2 feet,this gets it on the ground to rot. Also lets me drive over it with my tractor.
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Offline BargeMonkey

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2018, 08:22:15 PM »
90% of the jobs anymore want a clean swept woods, brush / tops gets piled. I'm on a decent sized job in Altamont and the landowner hasn't quite gotten how BIG of a brush pile we are talking, told him he could have a "burning man" festival some winter day. 🤣 250 trees isnt yo bad, as far as the regen leave them basically as they lay and let nature go, if you slash them down I figure it takes 2 winters for the woods to look better. "pulling tops" for people to clean up is asking for a headache, I've been burned on a couple jobs and refuse to do it anymore. 

Offline Don P

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2018, 10:08:13 PM »
The branch tips 2" in diameter and smaller contain 3/4 of the trees lignin and are a critical component of forest soil so to remove them is like harvesting corn with no cover crop or rotation or fertilization after.  Nutrients are slowly depleted.  
A little OT then back to the main event.
Actually branches usually contain slightly less lignin than stemwood, a couple of percent nothing huge. If you think of a tree as fiberglass, the cellulose is the cloth, the lignin is the resin that makes it stiff, branches are a bit more elastic than stemwood. A cotton ball is a good example of pure cellulose. The lignin is the glue that helps cellulose stand up 100 feet and become wood. Lignin is what the paper makers are removing when they pulp, that residue is used in formica, the hard brittle stiff brown core of those sheets. Softwoods contain more lignin than hardwoods as a sweeping generalization. Removing any of the tree is a loss of nutrients, how you treat the slash can factor into that loss as well as erosion.

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2018, 11:07:02 PM »
 

 This was a mixed stand with more hardwood alder then fir and red cedar. Out here with all clear cuts you have to replant by law in certain amount of time regeneration doesnít count, in our thinning all slash is left in the trails for a mat for the equipment to run on most will be gone out here in a year.

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2018, 12:03:31 AM »
Don.. I think i got it wrong.. This is a cut and paste of the article on chipped branch tips i was misquoting.  I cant make any claims to its accuracy, i dont know. 


Quote
The C/N ratio for ramial wood ranges from 30/1 to 170/1 while for stemwood the C/N ratio ranges from 400/1 to 750/1. Branches under 7 cm in diameter, without their leaves, are the best choice for shredding. In the North-American species, essential plant nutrients (N, P, K, Ca, Mg) increase when branch diameter decreases. These concentrations reach a minimum in branches over 7 cm in diameter, so branches having less than 7 cm in diameter contain 75% fertilizing nutrients. The bigger the branches the less digestible they become. If sawdust, issued from tree trunks, is mixed with the soil, nitrogen will starve unless the sawdust is composted with farm manure. The trunk of the tree supports the branches which are the real biological center for wood production. The trunk is ędeadĽ and does not allow lignin to be used by enzymes from microflora and fauna to integrate into the soil. For the forest, the ędeadĽ trunk is ęgarbageĽ, attacked from the outside, and transformed in CO2 with very little benefit to the soil
From here

Organic Research
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Offline Don P

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2018, 07:08:49 AM »
Mike, I knew which well you were drinking from :D That paper you guys keep linking to is kind of, well, it would be good to seek corroboration from other reliable sources. Interesting, sure, I'll let time sort that one out. 

There is nothing wrong with leaving larger diameter stuff in the woods, it is of benefit to the soil and is not garbage. In the end it does provide a slow positive N. Since that is quite mobile in soil that isn't a bad thing. It helps add organic matter for soil tilth, stabilizes the soil, protects from erosion. As others have mentioned it can help with browsing while the forest is regenerating. Chipped ramial wood does have higher concentrations of nutrients than stemwood. It is also broken down naturally faster than larger material... so why waste resources segregating and chipping it for a quick blast of nutrients... and then what, it is a fast release vs a slower steady release. Is that a good thing, we don't really know. If you put it on the ground with the saw that is the stuff that is gone quickly. It's all good, much of it is what we can live with while nature does its thing recycling and raising up the next forest.

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2018, 02:51:12 PM »
It works for me.  Sawlogs to the mill, firewood to the stove and brush into the dirt.  A year after i come thru the woods looks like a miracle grow advertisement and ive made every dollar per acre i could.  And no one says "that mike belben left my place looking like hell" .. Cant put a price on that!
Revelation 3:20

Offline jdatwood

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2018, 12:49:47 PM »
I cut by hand with a cable skidder. My standard operating procedure is cut them up small and when I come back with the skidder empty from dropping off my hitch Iíll run the brush pile over. When Iím done everything settles pretty good with the packing and holds down the underbrush

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Re: Tree tops after logging
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2018, 01:43:44 PM »
Not exactly on topic but related.  my yard has been a big clay excavation pit for about 2 years as i bring in fill to build up the slope into a workable shop site.  In winter i lose clay to rain runoff and in summer its powder dry and blowing dust devils.  

Wood chips and bark spread around have dramatically improved both issues.  Its a protective layer that dissipates the energy of a hard rain, thus reducing downpour erosion.  And its a sunscreen that prevents the relentless summer shade from fully drying the dirt into powder for gusty wind to blow up.  I spread about an inch of chip in areas where i have to walk or drive over clay that hasnt been gravelled yet.  It doesnt stick to my shoes or tires now during rain.  Normally you have to scrape it off your boots and see a 1/4 mile fling of it off your tires when you come back home. 
Revelation 3:20


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