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Author Topic: Starting Ponderosa trees  (Read 400 times)

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Offline ljohnsaw

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Starting Ponderosa trees
« on: October 18, 2019, 03:05:45 PM »
I have 10 acres, steeply sloped, at 5,846 elevation with a mixture (in order of occurrence) of Incense Cedar, White Fir (maybe some Red Fir), Noble Fir, Ponderosa Pine, Quaking Aspen (in select areas) and a few Black Oak.  Ground cover is ferns, what I call deer thorn, a few other bushes, a willow-like tree and some sort of low growing oak-like bush that seems to prefer hanging over boulders.

With the droughts we've been having, about half the white fir that makes up about 30-40% of the total is dying or dead.  The cedar is another 30-40% coverage but doing well.  Ponderosa is about 10% and doing well.  If I go about 1,000' lower elevation, it is predominately ponderosa along with DF.  The white fir is popping up everywhere (little 2" up to 12") and then some 4-5' trees.  I haven't look too hard but I don't see ponderosa generating.

My woods are VERY overgrown and I'm in the midst of thinning out the dead and sad specimens which will open up the canopy to let some light down to the floor.  Though the ferns seem to like that.

Not that it will matter in my lifetime, but what' the best way to get some ponderosa growing?  Shoot all the squirrels? ;)  They seem to strip all the cones before they open.  I do have one big buck (deer) running around at times - what vegetation are the deer eating?  Hopefully not young ponderosa.  Do I just need to buy some seedlings from somewhere?

On the sunny side of the hill from me, there was a big fire back in 2003 that left a several mile long by a couple mile wide scar.  That was heavily planted with ponderosa that have grown to 12-16' and maybe 6" dbh.  They are spaced far apart in places so I suspect they all didn't make it.  There is the deer thorn growing and a lot of cedar but not much else.  Is a foot a year a normal, good growth rate or should it be more/less?
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline Okefenokee_D

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Re: Starting Ponderosa trees
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2019, 04:18:23 PM »
Do a prescribed burn when weather permits.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Starting Ponderosa trees
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2019, 04:27:48 PM »
Do a prescribed burn when weather permits.
:-X
Not likely on my little parcel.  It wouldn't stay contained.  My neighbor's cabins are "in" the woods so they would likely loose their places.  "Open" burning is pretty much limited to when snow is on the ground from late December until May or early June.
So are you saying the ponderosa needs the heat to release the seed or the ground cleared of competition or both?
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline BaldBob

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Re: Starting Ponderosa trees
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2019, 02:15:39 AM »
Ponderosa doesn't need heat to release the seed. It does not like a lot of competition from grass & forbs when young. It also wants full sunlight once established.
If you really want to regenerate Ponderosa - 1. Create moderate sized openings(  > 30'x30' ). 2. Reduce the ground competition by spraying the appropriate herbicide - Round up if just grass & forbs, others such as Garlon for brush. 3. Get 2-0 or better yet 2-1 PPine seedlings that are grown from seed from your seed zone and elevation from a good nursery and plant on about a 9'x9' spacing. Planting should occur as soon as possible after rthe snow leaves. If possible plant on the North or East side of stumps, logs or anything that will provide a  little shade to the planting site during the hottest part of the day.
If you don't want to plant, you might have some success scarifying the soil of the openings in late August/early Sept. of a year with a good PP cone crop.
A foot of height growth/yr on PP at that elevation is in the normal range.

Offline Okefenokee_D

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Re: Starting Ponderosa trees
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2019, 11:30:33 AM »
I just know the most economical way to reduce the brush and provide nutrients is to prescribed burn. There will be prep involve, but as I have seen out West...most people don't prep like we do over here in the Southeast.

Offline Doomsday

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Re: Starting Ponderosa trees
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2019, 03:12:35 PM »
As mentioned before: scarification or burn.

If you wish for natural regeneration, you must expose bare mineral soil. It's one of the quirks with seral species such as PP which grow in systems with frequent fire return intervals. This is best achieved with an Rx burn (mimicking natural processes) but not required. Up here we have decent luck regenerating with ample scarification. This could be done in small openings with any kind of tractor.

If you end up planting, you will want at least P+2 (2-year old growing stock) and some consideration of what season to plant.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Starting Ponderosa trees
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2019, 03:26:33 PM »
ok, so PP does not like shade or competition.  I did clear an area of fir (40x100) and could expand it a bit.  My SkyTrak can make pretty good mess of the brush.  No PP right there but some 100' away.  I'll see if I can get some cones/seeds before the squirrels eat them all!
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline clearcut

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Re: Starting Ponderosa trees
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2019, 03:35:50 PM »
Then Woody Plant Seed Manual will give you the specifics on seed harvesting, storage, and stratification requirements. 

https://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_series/wo/wo_ah727.pdf



The University of California is offering prescribed fire workshops. CalFire appears to be encouraging landowners to consider using prescribed fire as a management tool. 

https://ucanr.edu/sites/forestry/Prescribed_fire/Rx_workshop/


Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Starting Ponderosa trees
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2019, 03:50:35 PM »
Thanks.  Found one that is only 2+ hours away in December.  The first two (still available this year) were 3 and 4+ hour drives!  Might attend but my property is pretty steep and very thick cover.  In the mean time, I'll keep cutting away.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline pine

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Re: Starting Ponderosa trees
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2019, 12:46:12 PM »
Don't know exactly where you are in Northern Cal. 
Bald Bob is correct but I would stay away from 2+0 seedling in PP.
I have had very good luck with both Plugs and P+1 PP seedlings.  I tried 2+0 PP one year and will never do that again.  They were of rather poor quality, in my opinion, but they did not thrive and lacked vigor.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Starting Ponderosa trees
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2019, 08:19:43 PM »
Don't know exactly where you are in Northern Cal.
Right at I80 and highway 20 - Yuba Gap.  Please decipher - 2+0, P+1 and how that differs from plugs.

Working up there today there were 6 or 8 cones sitting in my driveway from a huge PP.  There were actually ripe/open as opposed to the green grenades the squirrels were dropping all last month.  I broke one apart and got about 65 nuts.  There were some little white grubs burrowing through the core - looks like they ate out a couple of nuts.  Might process a few more cones and read up on how to prepare the nuts for planting in the spring after I burn all my brush piles.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline pine

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Re: Starting Ponderosa trees
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2019, 02:17:47 AM »
The below is from the Webster's Nursery website that gives a pretty nice explanation and it saves me typing.  I am certain that there maybe a few variations depending on the nursery on the density and root pruning depth but you get the idea.


1+1  
 This term designates a seedling grown for one year in a seedbed, harvested, root pruned to five inches and transplanted back into a nursery bed at seedlings approximately six seedlings per square foot. The transplanting process results in a larger caliper and a more fibrous root system. The seedling will have more side branching, with a minimum of 10 inches in height and 4 millimeters in caliper (stem diameter at the root collar). The root system on a 1+1 plus the extra storage of food in the caliper and root system will allow the seedling to survive on an infertile site, compete with other vegetation and give it a better chance of surviving browse damage.
 
2+0  
 This designates a seedling that was grown at approximately 25 seedlings per square foot in the seedling bed and grown in the field for two years (never transplanted). After two years the seedling is ready for outplant. The production costs are low because the seedling had not been lifted, packed and transplanted as in all of the transplant stock types. The root systems on such stock type are pruned horizontally in the ground at a six-inch depth and vertically between each row at the end of the first growing season. These cultural activities encourage branching of the remaining roots and promote more fibrous roots required for out planting survival. This stock type will survive in a site that has low competing vegetation and minimal levels of animal browsing.
 
Plug (P or P+0) 
 This is a seedling grown in a greenhouse in containers that are narrow and deep. For some species, this stock type reduces the time between request and outplant. For some species, growing plug stock type is necessary due to low germination and early growth. Various sizes of containers are available but the target is a styro-2A (two cubic inch containers) if the seedling will be used for a Plug+1 stock type. A styro-10 will be used if the seedling will be used for out planting.
 
Plug+1 (P+1)  
 After growing in the greenhouse for a year, the seedling is extracted from the container, root pruned at 5 inches and transplanted in a nursery bed at approximately six seedlings per square foot. As with the 1+1, the root pruning and transplanting generates a larger caliper stem and more mass in the root system. Cedar, hemlock, larch and some species of pine and true firs are propagated as Plug+1.
 
Plug+1/2 (P+1/2) 
 Like the P+1, this stocktype combines greenhouse and bareroot phases, but the process is completed in one year instead of two. Seedlings are started in late winter in the greenhouse in small containers (2 cubic inches or smaller). In early summer, seedlings are transplanted into nursery beds at approximately six seedlings per square foot. The early start and low transplant density allow for the production of a relatively large seedling in a short amount of time.

Offline RPF2509

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Re: Starting Ponderosa trees
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2019, 02:53:42 PM »
good info so far.  Pines need light and freedom from competition for the first few years.  Seedlings for your area may be hard to come by as many of the nurseries are busy growing trees for the last round of wildfires.  There were State nurseries in Magalia and Davis run by Calfire and both were closed but may have reopened. If open they should have trees for your area (you're in seed zone 525 and whatever elevation you're at), most of the commercial nurseries don't have the time to deal with small orders.  Try to get trees from as close to your zone and elevation as you can. Your most practical bet is clear openings of overstory and brush and let nature do the work.   The squirrels can do some damage but they also do most of the work by burying seed for later.  Your fir will be a bigger challenge as it typically seeds more often and more prolifically than pine.  It may take some patience but the pine will come in if it has enough light.  I've commented before in your build thread that the pictures show you have too many trees which you realize.  For opening size, the bigger the better and it doesn't have to be completely open.  I would start by cutting anything smaller than 8" that has less than 50% crown - this will mostly be pile and burn as no one wants the wood.  Cutting these smaller trees also helps fire safety.  8 - 16" and less than 50% crown would be next - you might get some lumber out of these trees but no one will buy the logs.  If you don't have light yet to the forest floor, go bigger or pick a spot and cut most everything down.  Don't discount Doug fir.  Its a valuable wood, pretty tree and does well in partial shade.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Starting Ponderosa trees
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2019, 03:13:28 PM »
Don't discount Doug fir. Its a valuable wood, pretty tree and does well in partial shade.
 
Thanks, great info that I can follow.  Not discounting DF, but I don't see any at my elevation.  Drop down about 1,000'-1,500' and there is a bunch.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.


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