The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => General Board => Topic started by: outofmire on July 30, 2011, 11:48:52 AM

Title: Girdling oaks
Post by: outofmire on July 30, 2011, 11:48:52 AM
Hi there,

I've got a couple of acres that I'd like to convert to pasture quickly.  I'm toying with the idea of girdling the trees and growing winter wheat under the canopy.  I think wheat needs to be planted early fall, like 6wks before the last frost.  That means I'd need to plant in September (FF is end of October). 

I know girdling can take a couple of years.  Is there a faster way, besides felling them?  Is this a good time to girdle trees?  We are in a bit of a drought right now in Arkansas...very hot and dry.

Title: Re: Girdling oaks
Post by: Magicman on July 30, 2011, 01:07:28 PM
Just simply girdling will not kill the trees.  The roots will still be alive and working and you will have root sprout everywhere.  They will sap the nutrients from your soil.

There are many different chemicals that you could use to actually kill the trees.  Eight oz. of Arsenal per gallon of water is what I am now using.  Here is a thread where I used hack-n-squirt to kill Sweetgums.  I was planting trees and not wheat, but the procedure is the same.

Use the search function above for "hack-n-squirt".   

Here is one:,43504.0.html

Title: Re: Girdling oaks
Post by: WH_Conley on July 30, 2011, 02:02:53 PM
Eventually it is going to be pasture, I am not sure I would want a bunch of dead trees dropping limbs on the live stock.
Title: Re: Girdling oaks
Post by: POSTON WIDEHEAD on July 30, 2011, 04:14:35 PM
If your concerned about limbs falling on livestock, and I would be too.....I would just fell the trees and drag them with a tractor or dozer to a central location to keep until I'm ready to saw them for lumber or firewood.
You could then plant your wheat and remove the stumps later.
Title: Re: Girdling oaks
Post by: outofmire on July 30, 2011, 04:31:29 PM
How long before the limbs start dropping?  I thought I would have at least a year to fell them.  In the meantime I was looking for a way to survive the winter with hay shortages already looking to be bad this year.

Title: Re: Girdling oaks
Post by: Magicman on July 30, 2011, 06:51:38 PM
You will be all right until next Spring/Summer.  I know that you said Winter wheat, but Rye/Ryegrass is more shade tolerant.  Of course, it is not as cold tolerant though.

It might be wise to talk with someone in your County Extension Office.
Title: Re: Girdling oaks
Post by: Stan snider on August 01, 2011, 09:41:51 AM
If you are as dry as NE oklahoma i understand your situation well. With the drought stress already on this country I would expect a 100 percent kill and oaks don't resprout very much. Red oaks will start shedding limbs by next summer but post oak or white oak will only drop small stuff for years.
 Rye or winter oats will make more fall grazing and ryegrass will make grazing later into next spring. The noblefoundation is an excellent source of data on winter forages.
There have been many acres girdled on this place when I was a kid, but it was all done in the spring with an axe.
If you are short enough on pasture to think of this, it might be time to get a plan of when to sell figured out.This is a huge amount of work, considerable expense and if not part of a long-term plan not worth it.
I plan on planting a couple hundred acres for winter pasture so I understand where you are coming from. You can look at my post in the weather thread if you aren't in this drought area to get a better understanding of what we are going through
Title: Re: Girdling oaks
Post by: customsawyer on August 03, 2011, 06:04:39 AM
If you are thinking of using chemical then I would recommend going with one that is not soil active. This is even more important when grazing under them big trees. 
Title: Re: Girdling oaks
Post by: Al_Smith on August 03, 2011, 07:53:37 AM
As a normal rule an oak will not resprout .It will however stand dead for years before it goes over .The stump will be there almost forever .

Fact is I've got pictures of big oak stumps that were felled in 1937 that are still hard as a rock but have maybe 3 inchs of rot around them .
Title: Re: Girdling oaks
Post by: shelbycharger400 on August 06, 2011, 06:21:53 PM
just pasture the cows in their for a year or so, maybe a horse or 2 , they will eat the bark,  in bout a year or so the ground will be trampled , the urea in the ground ect... they will all die off rather quickly
Title: Re: Girdling oaks
Post by: CX3 on August 07, 2011, 12:43:11 AM
Youre talking about a whole bunch of work to make a very small amount of pasture.  Sell some cows