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Author Topic: new landowner question about prescribed burning  (Read 412 times)

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Offline outdoorman

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new landowner question about prescribed burning
« on: March 18, 2021, 09:31:24 PM »
I recently acquired 46 acres of wooded forestland in rural middle Georgia on the Fall line.
It is surrounded by timberland and other small woodland landowners.
While walking with the county forester last year, I explained my desire to use it for both woodland conservation and light hunting and he later wrote a brief land management plan:

...This tract contains a mixture of natural upland pines and hardwoods as well as bottom land hardwoods. At this time a prescribed burn regimen could be implemented and burning could be done on a three year rotation. I recommend that the upland stands be burned and let the fire burn back down the slopes and put itself out as it reaches the bottomland stands.  By burning these upland areas, it will reduce the competition in the stand and open it up for the benefit of both wildlife and timber production.
Also, at this time, the majority of the upland areas contain pre-commercial sized trees. Since it is a natural stand, it is overstocked and will need to be thinned but I recommend waiting 5 more years for the trees to be commercial sized and hauled for chipwood or chip-n-saw.
After the upland stands have been thinned, I recommend waiting one more year before picking back up with the prescribed burning rotation.

The Forester then referred me to the local GFC unit for assistance with doing a prescribed burn and setting firebreaks.
Well, I had GFC come out and they started the firebreak. When I inquired about doing a prescribed burn the forestry staff warned me that a prescribed burn would put the hardwoods at risk of not surviving the fire. I have several very nice large mast producing white oaks and hickories on the property.

Worried about harming or losing these trees, I called the county Forester back and he advised that as much rain as we got it should not be a concern.
When I relayed this back to the GFC, they still said there is always a risk that the hardwoods might get harmed.
Now, I'm not sure whether to proceed or what is prudent to do.

Offline BaldBob

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Re: new landowner question about prescribed burning
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2021, 03:33:04 AM »
If you are primarily worried about a few mast producing trees, you can simply rake the fuels back several feet from around those trees.

Online Tacotodd

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Re: new landowner question about prescribed burning
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2021, 07:42:48 AM »
ďIĒ think that if you are careful and make some sort of fire break before where the hardwoods are, that you SHOULD be fine. But just remember, it is FIRE. 

Whatever you eventually decide to do about all of this, be careful and respect fire, for when used carefully, itís a great tool. But you HAVE to stay on top of it and never, NEVER take for granted anything about it!

Respect it and itíll respect you, neglect it and itíll take advantage of you! 

There, done with MY rant!
Trying harder everyday.

Offline TroyC

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Re: new landowner question about prescribed burning
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2021, 07:19:02 PM »
Outdoorman, where are you? I'm in SW Laurens County, did a 20 acre burn last February. Mine was a 20 yr old pine plantation. Did my own firebreaks, had forestry commission guy come out and three of us did the burn in about 4 hours. Today you cant tell the burn was done.

I had no hardwoods to protect, but I did rake around my split and stacked firewood stacks. Was not a problem keeping fire away. Fire was set to backburn so it progressed slowly. There are many variables the forestry commission takes into account when doing a prescribed burn. Temperature, wind direction, speed, humidity, and a bunch more. In reality, there are a limited number of days per year they can actually burn. Of course, last year and this year it has been pretty wet in central Georgia. I managed t get my burn done in between rains last year.

Offline WDH

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Re: new landowner question about prescribed burning
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2021, 09:29:44 PM »
Fire can damage the bark on hardwoods and created a pathway for rot fungi to invade the tree.  I have burned hardwoods in the past and had some bark scarring and subsequent butt rot.  I regularly burn, but only my pine plantations where hardwoods are not wanted or desired.  I do not burn my stands of mixed pine and hardwoods or my hardwood stands where I value the hardwoods because of the damage referenced by the Georgia Forestry Commission.

That said, Like Baldbob says, any mast producing hardwoods that you want to prevent fire damage to can have the leaves/debris raked away from the truck of the tree three or four feet and that will protect them from damage. 
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5-111, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.

Online mike_belben

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Re: new landowner question about prescribed burning
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2021, 07:18:50 AM »
Theyve already said it.. A rake and a backburn will protect your oaks.  Ive done small patches in nice whiteoaks with no issue just to see what will emerge.  It accelerated emergence of grasses but likely retarded the natural composting mechanisms of the forest litter into a soil builder.    This was pure hardwood in middle TN.

A chainsaw is the fastest wildlife increaser.  Dice the tops down low with a clearing saw in sunny patch clearings .. They dont have to be big but should be full sun. youll quickly get the plethora of fungi and grasses, briars and berries and critters and songbirds, rabbits, squirrels, deer etc  Its very satisfying.
Psalm 37:16

Offline nativewolf

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Re: new landowner question about prescribed burning
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2021, 07:57:34 AM »
If you have several oaks you want to preserve than nothing beats a high powered backpack leaf blower for fire prep.  Take the blower around the trees you want to keep cool, blow all the debris (twigs, leaves, etc) away.   Much faster than trying to get leaves out from shrubs that keep grabbing the rake.   

When the early botanist traveled the US and documented our trees they commented on the vast open savannah like piedmont.  Much of it was burned and a man on horse could ride unimpeded, can you imagine trying to ride from Macon GA to Richmond VA through the woods as they are now?  No way,  Then there was the coastal plain and LL pine fire systems which were really open from the NC/VA line to Florida and over to the Mississippi.  

So we had a history of fire in the US and though fire may damage a few stems but a restored savannah setting is really quite nice, great for wildlife and pretty.  I'd encourage anyone to give it a try.  The first few fires are tricky as you work to burn built up fuels.  

Liking Walnut

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