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Author Topic: Birch Regeneration  (Read 1586 times)

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Offline nativewolf

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Birch Regeneration
« on: October 20, 2021, 07:01:06 AM »
Hello all my northern brethren. Wondering about Birch regeneration.  Specifically we have some stands that we have been cruising that have quite a lot of Betula lenta (black birch, sweet birch).  So much regeneration that is is creating closed canopies that resemble beech stands.  Nothing else or rarely anything else has regenerated, this is from mid slopes (800') up to ridges at about 1400'.  Very pretty young stands but...no timber.  

Is this a common phenomena a bit further north?  We've seen it on 3 tracts we've cruised in 3 weeks.  All are a bit more mountainous than our normal properties but man...what yellow poplar and red oak.  We're worried that the birch has outcompeted the YP regen in many spots and that...that is saying something.
Liking Walnut

Offline mudfarmer

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2021, 07:44:19 AM »
Hey NW, hope things are well for you!

No experience with black/sweet birch but if conditions are right I get dog hair patches of yellow birch. Have seen gray birch do the same but that seems even more of a pioneer species and wants more open space. The yellow birch will fill in a natural or man made canopy opening like skid trails or where a large tree or a few trees came out. 

Thankfully yellow birch makes nice logs here. It does fill the canopy and I try to help along the thinning where needed but my land isn't at danger of becoming birch monoculture like with the beech even with no management. There is a 3acre strip between low pure hemlock stand and maple/beech ridge top that is almost pure yellow birch with just a couple of wolf maples and it is a beautiful stand and a beautiful place.

Offline HandyAndy

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2021, 08:07:20 AM »
North slopes, history of heavy cutting? From the reference below:

https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/sp/sp_ne113.pdf

Offline barbender

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2021, 08:28:50 AM »
Most of our paper birch regen up here is from stump sprouting, so the trees are usually in clumps of 4-6 stems. Otherwise it seeds in after fires or openings like landings. We have yellow birch, but it is relatively rare. Birch isn't trying to take over up here😊
Too many irons in the fire

Offline WDH

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2021, 09:56:11 AM »
Handy,

Excellent article.  
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5-111, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2021, 11:14:14 AM »
 We're worried that the birch has outcompeted the YP regen in many spots and that...that is saying something.
yeah that would be something.  i have 4-6" yellow poplar that i cut off pocket high maybe 3 years ago who's resprouts have gained 15 or 20 feet of height and wrist size diameter just popping out of the stump, while the cherry i released by the cut just stagnated.
  tulips' will to live is incredible. 
Isaiah 63:10

Online SwampDonkey

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2021, 11:39:33 AM »
Up here it is time of year (ripe seed) and ground skidding. I've seen sugar maple dominant stands turn into yellow birch from seed trees about as abundant as 1-4 birch per acre. The stuff makes millions of seeds. In October it falls like confetti. :D

Stump sprouted birches up this way is most always grey birch. But white birch is common on old field to have multi stems. Grey birch, a large non commercial shrub we call oversized alders. Or maybe that's just me. I hate grey birch. Seen lots of wasted/trashed forest land made into grey birch ground. :D
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline Don P

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2021, 05:17:37 PM »
That was a good paper. I'm looking out at the Nat'l Forest in Wythe Co. I'll try to remember to ask if they found any more of that small leaved variant.

Sweet Birch is prolific mixed in a NW facing beech stand here on our place at about 2500'. It is in lightly with the pines, poplar, red oak. Beech bark disease did roll through 15-20 years ago with nectria, which didn't really seem that interested in the birch, some fine twiggery but no stems that I recall. We have had ice damage, 

Structurally quite strong, the strength grouping is Beech/Black Birch/Hickory but the bugs love it. I borate it before stickering. It would be good flooring. From the comment in the paper about distilling the bark, it might be where the bark is worth more than the log. I've been in a house where the entry 1/2 bath was "wallpapered" in smooth bronze colored birch bark, beautiful.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline Clark

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2021, 05:34:13 PM »
barbender is right on about birch up here. In the situation you describe I would think, based on our paper birch, that a disturbance and good seed year coincided. It takes bare mineral soil for paper birch to seed in but it can do so prodigiously if there is a good seed crop.

Clark
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Offline Blue Noser

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2021, 07:55:58 PM »
All species of birch are prolific seeders. Given a combination of a good seed year - which occurs frequently with birches - and suitable growing conditions, birch will grow as thick as hair on a dogs back.

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2021, 08:03:48 PM »
Thanks all. I'm downloading that paper mr handyandy.  It was just odd to see pure birch outcompeting YP.

Mike, we see just amazing YP regen all the time.  I'm due to start prunning off some stump sprouts in 2 years.  We need enough shade to keep the other sprouts suppressed, we'll go to 1.  
Liking Walnut

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2021, 05:10:29 AM »
Multistemed birch is usually from animal browse. Like cattle and deer do to our northern white cedar. Old pasture is full of multistem cedar if it is marginal land and adjacent to a seed source. Moose will hit young birch up here and at about 4 feet up most all be bent down or broken off. Completely ruined. :D
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline cutterboy

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2021, 08:02:39 AM »
There is a lot of black birch on my farm but no dense stands of it. Some areas are 50-60% but always mixed with red maple, red oak, hickory and some white (paper) birch. Black birch makes pretty lumber but there doesn't seem to be much demand for it. It makes great fire wood as it has about the same density as red oak.

Offline cutterboy

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2021, 08:07:17 AM »
HandyAndy, thanks for that excellent article. That Harvard Forest it mentions is 10 miles from me.  

Offline Ed_K

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2021, 08:49:31 AM »
 Cutter boy, have you ever stopped into the fisher museum ? They have a really kool diorama of the 1800s to the present.
Ed K

Offline chep

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2021, 08:56:52 AM »
Better then beech!!!

In our market black birch is graded on yellow birch specs. Makes veneer and sawlog grades and is actually a decent return. They grow fast, straight respond to thinning. I would be thankful. 

The other thing is that deer dont browse it. So they do get a boost towards life in that regard. As things are warming in our region you can see the black birch creeping north up the Connecticut river valley and expanding its growing zones. 

Birches are prolific seeders so the trend looks to continue.  I think it's an underrated and undervalued specie of the future


Online SwampDonkey

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2021, 09:05:13 AM »
Yellow birch was always the #2 species for veneer up this way. Sugar maple the first. But birch can have more heartwood in the veneer specs than maple. 8) I've seen them take birch down to 4 foot 4" for veneer. :)
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline PoginyHill

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2021, 09:20:48 AM »
In the states, YB is the preferred species for veneer. Further north (Canada), WB is good, because less worm track than in the US. WB in the states is often riddled with worm track - warmer climate, I believe. Black birch is not as good - generally more defects and the sap wood tends to be more of a yellow color rather than white; but can produce some fine veneer on occasion. Whiter wood is preferred for veneer - in maple and birch.
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Offline cutterboy

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2021, 07:22:44 AM »
Cutter boy, have you ever stopped into the fisher museum ? They have a really kool diorama of the 1800s to the present.
Yes Ed, I have been there a number of times and it is really very interesting. Anyone who is interested in New England history, land, and forests should go see it. In the town of Petersham Ma. on Rt. 32.

Online SwampDonkey

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Re: Birch Regeneration
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2021, 10:08:36 AM »
Our veneer buyers here were always Americans, Columbia Forest Products being one, Miller Veneers another. One other bought the short birch. Those buyers always paid more for maple. They buy yellow and white birch also though, but could be $1000 bucks less compared to maple for the top stuff. We do grow large white birch up here. A lot of my travels including the west coast, I never saw a white birch bigger than 10", compared to 30-40" here in old growth. And we lost a lot of big white birch in the 40's to the die-off, well documented. Seen lots of cambial worm damage in sugar maple, it's live wood that heals and leaves a brown streak, not stain. The 'worm' is a fly larva. On my loom the wood is maple, and veneer quality, but I can see worm tracks in some pieces. She's all clear wood, no knots or heart stain.
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21


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