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Author Topic: Over-management for sugar maple  (Read 2529 times)

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Offline wisconsitom

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Over-management for sugar maple
« on: January 22, 2019, 12:30:41 PM »
Fellows,

What think ye all about the disturbing tendency I have seen all across the western Great Lakes northern hardwood forest (And I suspect elsewhere across the northern US).....that of managing only for Acer saccharum?  Hey, sugar maple-this state's state tree- is a great species.  But I happen to like beech, yellow birch, hemlock, northern red oak, the occasional upland white-cedar, the occasional mature white pine......along with sugar maple!  Very boring to just be looking at "sugar bushes" all the time.  My understanding of just one region-the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan-is that there was vastly more yellow birch and these other associated species in the original stands, and that a combination of uncontrolled fires and poor management decisions has led to this outcome.

Then too, in the area of my woods/plantation, which is central Oconto County, WI, quite near the tiny village of Suring.....one can see exactly the same thing.  Stands consisting of perhaps 95% sugar maple.  And that might be low!  Boring.....

tom

Offline GAB

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2019, 01:37:46 PM »
There is definitely some work involved, however a maple sugar bush will provide for an annual cash crop that can offset the property taxes and sometimes then some.
For many years in New England and NY, and a few other places, the farmers sugar orchard proceeds was the money used to buy seed and fertilizer for the spring plantings.  Since many small farms have gone away it is less so now.
Gerald
W-M LT40HDD34 w/6' ext & SLR, JD 420, JD 950w/loader and Woods backhoe, V3507 Fransguard winch, Cordwood Saw, 18' flat bed trailer, and other toys.

Offline wisconsitom

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2019, 01:46:48 PM »
Thanks GAB.  I get that.  But nowadays, it's the 1200 acres of corn, the 1000 acres of soybeans, and the 6000 cattle getting milked 3 times in each 24-hr. cycle...........that I believe is paying the bills.

tom

Offline maple flats

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2019, 03:29:30 PM »
I make syrup and I try to manage my sugar bush properly. First of all, a mono culture of sugar maple or any other species is not a healthy woodlot. If the sugar maples are the only trees in there they become much more susceptible to diseases and pest infestations. A healthy sugarbush is about 50-70% sugar maple maximum and a blend of many of the others you mention. The biggest exception might be the Beech, in a sugar bush they can be too prolific if you cut one down, hundreds of others sprout up from the extensive root system. If they are cut, then thousands can sprout up. They become a pest. However, if a beech is growing there it is often left, because all of the sprouting does not happen unless that mother tree is cut. I only cut beech in areas where I don't have sugar maples.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline GAB

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2019, 03:51:27 PM »
Thanks GAB.  I get that.  But nowadays, it's the 1200 acres of corn, the 1000 acres of soybeans, and the 6000 cattle getting milked 3 times in each 24-hr. cycle...........that I believe is paying the bills.

tom
Here in VT some of the larger farms have installed methane digester and are producing what is called cow-power.
I think the first one in VT was in the Middlebury area.  I heard that that farm has since added a second generator, don't know if they miscalculated the size originally or if the farm increased it herd size.
Some of these farms are selling bagged manure after it has been through the digester.
So income from milk, from the sale of green power, and the sale of dried manure.
Gerald
W-M LT40HDD34 w/6' ext & SLR, JD 420, JD 950w/loader and Woods backhoe, V3507 Fransguard winch, Cordwood Saw, 18' flat bed trailer, and other toys.

Offline Tarm

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2019, 08:02:53 PM »
Fellows,

What think ye all about the disturbing tendency I have seen all across the western Great Lakes northern hardwood forest (And I suspect elsewhere across the northern US).....that of managing only for Acer saccharum?  Hey, sugar maple-this state's state tree- is a great species.  But I happen to like beech, yellow birch, hemlock, northern red oak, the occasional upland white-cedar, the occasional mature white pine......along with sugar maple!  Very boring to just be looking at "sugar bushes" all the time.  My understanding of just one region-the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan-is that there was vastly more yellow birch and these other associated species in the original stands, and that a combination of uncontrolled fires and poor management decisions has led to this outcome.

Then too, in the area of my woods/plantation, which is central Oconto County, WI, quite near the tiny village of Suring.....one can see exactly the same thing.  Stands consisting of perhaps 95% sugar maple.  And that might be low!  Boring.....

tom
Sugar Maple is a shade tolerant species that can reproduce under dense shade. In Wisconsin and other Great Lake States the original forests had a dense understory of sugar maple seedlings. When the land was logged off over 100 years ago those young seedling grew up to be the sugar maple dominated stands of today. Your forest is the result of human activities. White pine, yellow birch and red oak can all be planted. Cut some small to medium size openings and add some new tree species to your woods. A caution, I suggest that you take a look at your current ground cover. Any sugar maple seedling visible? My woods has almost none. Be careful what you ask for.

Offline wisconsitom

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2019, 08:28:20 AM »
Tarm, Tarm,...Tarm,

You are consistently mis-reading my posts.  I am and was talking region-wide, and for discussion purposes only.  Not one bit of this is me asking you for advice on my land.  I was and am seeking discussion about a region-wide trend and not one which i just started noticing yesterday!

Just the other weekend, going up to my land, saw another N. hardwood stand with the (very few) widely-scattered eastern hemlocks all laying on the  ground I know of a large parcel in our state's NE where the "consulting forester" successfully convinced the new, 3rd-generation landowners to "get rid of all the goofy hemlocks", which has happened.  Large, old trees, all gone for little to no reason, by a family that absolutely does not depend on income from that stand.

And this is going on everywhere I look.  It is categorically worse than in past decades.  This is what I'm talking about.

tom

Offline Tarm

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2019, 10:38:15 AM »
Okay. For discussion purposes only, Wisconsin has a lot of sugar maple dominated forests because of the regeneration characteristic of sugar maple and the region-wise history of past cutting practices. The owners of these stands, if they choose, can diversify their species mix by creating growing space and planting new species.

As an owner of forest land I believe I have the right to manage my land in the manner I choose as long as I stay within the law. Hemlock is a slow growing species with a low commercial value. The owner of the property you mention has made the decision to grow something else. You seem angry that someone has chosen to manage their forest in a way different than you would. Such is the price of freedom.

Offline wisconsitom

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2019, 10:53:44 AM »
I disagree with the statement that hemlock is inherently slow-growing.  Sure, a suppressed tree, biding its time under a heavy canopy, is the very model of patience, "willing" to only grow one-half inch if that's what it takes.  Then months, years, or decades later, something happens over above, light streams down, and that "slow-growing" hemlock tree starts to race for the sun.  This, BTW, is a primary reason why such species eventually take over the earth in such regions...their very willingness to bide their time until conditions improve.  Not inherently slow-growing, but very conservative in their energy use.

Likewise, hemlock growing along woodland edges are absolutely not slow-growing plants.  Nor do most hemlock really come up in shade.

Angry?  No, but annoyed-only at people who skim a post, think they've got the gist, and blurt out stuff that is not related to initial post.

tom

Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2019, 06:22:56 PM »
Hemlock inclusions are often found in northern hardwood ecosystems in the Lake States. We usually retain small areas of the included hemlock for wildlife thermal cover.
~Ron

Offline Cub

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2019, 06:50:16 PM »
The tendency to see lots of sugar maple stands in the lake states is due to many many years of managing forests for maples. As was posted earlier many people ran sugar shacks and tapped them for early income to buy sees and fertilizer. I know this 1st hand because the farm I worked for for many years tapped for that exact reason. Beech birch aspen pine all the others have no value when it comes to syrup. So most places were cleared of that to make room for maples to grow and new maples to regen. Having said all that I am now selectively cutting maple for that guy. Lots of tree that are 40+ on the stump. Instructions were to clear all beech any good basswood and ash. He marked the maples he wanted out. Most of them are way past maturity and dont give much sap. His words were I want maples to have room to grow. Cutting maples for logs is a 1 time check. Tapping is an every year income. Although they run around 6000 taps on about 120 acres. I worked in 20 acres of it. Just my observations. 

Offline Cub

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2019, 06:57:25 PM »
Yes many people dont tap their sugar bushes anymore. But in my area there are guys that tap peoples trees. Gather the sap and pay the land owner a certain cents per gallon of sap. Landowners turn and use that to pay taxes or a fancy new car or whatever. I do agree there should be management of these stands. But for a landowner they dont get money for the beech or basswood that grows in the place of the maple that was cut. Its mostly a money thing. And people like to see the pretty fall colors of the maples. 

Offline wisconsitom

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2019, 08:28:29 AM »
And some people, people like me for instance, really like the contrast between trees like sugar maple, and its usual conjoiners in the true northern hardwood/mixed-wood forest of the NE US and SE Canada.  I prefer the scene when there are varying shades and colors, as far as fall color goes.

I'm also always amazed at the enormous mass of humanity that never even notices the trees and woods around them until sometime right around Oct. 15!lol

tom

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2019, 11:02:53 PM »
 
ms440 with a 28 inch bar. Took a lot of these guys out of that 20 acres. Many many more just like it and bigger on this guys chunk of land 

Offline Cub

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2019, 11:04:34 PM »
I agree with your statement about having a good mix of tree species in a forest. 
Also with your 2nd statement!! Lol 

Offline Klunker

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2019, 12:25:24 PM »
Mesification, The change of forests from their natural state to a more dominate Maple forest cause by mans changes in the environment.

The suppression of fire is the biggest reason we have more Maples less Oaks.

I have several areas in my woods that are dominated by large Maples.
This was disturbed by a sevre wind storm last summer.
I'm going to introduce some "new" native species next spring by planting White Pine and Walnut.
Also am going to plant more White Oak as there is no regeneration of White Oaks due to too much shade and too many deer.
Am also going to plant Beech to add more diversity to the lot.
There are maybe 1/2 dozen beech in the area and I'd like to have more in the mix.

I would like to add Basswood but was unable to find them as seedlings in the local county tree programs. I have maybe 1 or 2 basswood in the whole place.

Hackberry is another one I might add next year.

Offline wisconsitom

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2019, 12:37:01 PM »
Klunker, the scenario you outline, that of fire suppression leading to a change in the woods away from oaks and towards sugar maple...is a southern Wisconsin issue, not one that relates to my NE WI area.  But I agree with that which you say, just not for my area.  I applaud your management choices and wish you much success.  I have a son who tends a floodplain forest in that area.


In the NE WI area I speak of, these woods wold be oak-poor anyway.  Just not a real "oak-ey" area.  It was the northern hardwoods/mixed woods type of woods, with sugar maple, yellow birch, hemlock, basswood, white pine, N. red oak, etc....in the mix.  Now, all too often, just one tree type-sugar maple.  Blah...

tom

Offline randy d

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2019, 01:44:34 PM »
with oak wilt its sounds like oak may not be around long our sugar maple suffer from frost cracking and some root rot. That is why I like to see a good stand of aspen deer like it grouse need it as a primary food source and it grows fast. There are very few oak in this area and we tap are sugar maples to make syrup. 

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2019, 01:55:52 PM »
Randy,

  Gotta be honest...whenever I drive up 51 or 39, I get all a-tingle when those big green hills around Wausau show up in the view.  Great part of state, and heavily wooded.  I love my more easterly area...but you're in a real good zone!

Aspen is a workhorse in tree-world.  Whether for its own merits, or as the nurse stand for a range of later succession types, it is the preeminent choice for many sites.  When I lived in the U.P. I would often see mature aspen stands in decline...but with fir and pine coming up underneath.  Not a bad arrangement.

Where balsam poplar-really a type of aspen, it comes up all over the place from root suckers-really shines is in colonizing wet areas, places too wet for even trembling aspen, let alone bigtooth, which is pretty much strictly an upland species.  On my land, balsam poplar invades the oldfield, down at its wet end, and numerous white-cedar then seed into that area, grow slowly, and are in good shape to take over when the shorter-lived poplar begins to decline.  The white-cedar-of course-is only good for centuries!

tom

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Re: Over-management for sugar maple
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2019, 03:45:39 PM »
Paying the bills is the most useful trait for a piece of land even better if it is yearly cash flow. So a predominately maple forest is the best on these hills and generally encouraged.   


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