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Planting a new woodlot with nursery trees

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enroot farm:
Our nursery in southern Ontario is winding down and I have an opportunity to plant a new woodlot with 6-8' tall, 1" calipre trees (measured at 6" above ground). This size is referred to as "lining out stock" or "liners" in the nursery trade. Landscapers buy them bare-root and line them out while dormant in a plot for 2-4 years until they are big enough to be dug in a wire basket and used on landscape projects. My plan is to line them out and leave them for future generations to sell as lumber. I have swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor), red oak (quercus rubra) and black walnut available for planting. Question: how far apart should they be planted? I would like to maintain at least 11' between rows to provide access for mowing and other equipment. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Welcome to the Forestry Forum. 

Looks like you plant them in rows 11' apart. I'd go 6' apart within the row. 

Prob 12 to 13 ft apart to allow for growth and still mow a straight line 

enroot farm:
Precisely the answers I was pondering. I too thought 6 apart will be good for starters but eventually (maybe in 10-15 years) every other tree will need to be removed for 12 between. Would the quality of the wood be diminished if I plant now at 12 (i.e. too much canopy development)?

I've seen several plantations that are alternating rows of hardwoods and softwoods. From my understanding, the faster growing conifers give the hardwoods some competition to grow up rather than out.  Hardwoods are usually oak, ash (not so much anymore), black walnut. Softwoods are usually white pine or spruce I think. Maybe red pine grows too fast? I may have seen one with black walnut and red pine. 

The intent is for the conifer rows to be sort of sacrificial in the long run. But from what I've seen it turns into a nice mixed plantation that the deer tend to figure out what is going to survive.

If your goal is to produce future lumber from these hardwood trees, then they should be grown in an environment with plenty of competition to grow up and shed lower branches. Otherwise, you're looking at a lot of pruning.

I would consider planting 8x8 or 8x6 even, with 8' between rows. That gives you 16' if you remove an entire row, plenty of room for equipment. 


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