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Author Topic: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?  (Read 1539 times)

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Offline kiamori

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Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« on: September 19, 2019, 12:00:22 AM »
I have a ton of Quaking Aspen on the property and the problem with them is they grow to about 30-35" diameter then fall over and a lot of times they take out something valueable like one of the sugar or black maples.. We have about 1' of good top soil then 1-2' of clay and then rock so they just have poor root foundations and are generally about 80-100' tall.

I've been taking them down and just leaving them dry and they don't saw all that smooth, sort of a feathered surface.

What if anything can you use these Aspen for?



Offline barbender

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2019, 12:10:17 AM »
Our aspen in MN has several markets. The largest market is for pulp for paper and cardboard, and chips for osb. Clear sawtimber ends up at pallet mills, and grade sawmills. It makes beautiful, bright colored paneling, I don't know what other uses the grade lumber goes for. Some guys prefer it for trailer decking- dozer grousers can bite into it a bit in the  winter, instead of sliding off. If your Aspen is getting to 30" diameter it's likely falling over from being past it's prime.
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Offline kiamori

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2019, 06:04:39 AM »
I was hoping to do something a bit more profitable then sending it over to blandin paper mill to pulp it, I'm about an hour from them. They actually used to own all my land about 50 some odd years ago.

All of the stuff coming down all still looks healthy its just uprooting in the wind storms. I know they say that the Aspen in northern minnesota only gets to 65' and 20" radius but this stuff for some reason is well beyond that.

I'll snap some photos later today.



Offline nativewolf

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2019, 06:35:14 AM »
Sounds like an interesting site or maybe an interesting twist on the genes.  Look forward to seeing the pics and sorry I don't have Aspen related input.  Frankly I had no idea it was getting that large.  If it is still sound then you need to get some sawtimber mill names from barbender and other MN folks.  Gary should have some contacts as well.  
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Offline RobS

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2019, 08:01:45 PM »
I've used it to build a shed.  The siding didn't last very long in the elements.  The 2x4s on the inside worked ok, but would never use them for anything more structural than a chicken coup.

At the sawmill we always made any/all aspen into 3x4 blocking for stacking lumber piles.  Never had a commercial market for it.
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Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2019, 08:50:05 PM »
Iíve never seen an aspen that big.  Are you sure they are aspen that are 35Ē diameter.
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Offline barbender

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2019, 12:51:12 AM »
I have to ask how you are measuring the diameter on your Aspen- I've seen a few very large aspen, they're very rare and usually hollow and conky at that stage. Northern MN can grow some really large aspen, especially Bigtooth Aspen. However, in all my time in the woods I don't think I've ever seen one that would be 30" diameter past the root flare. I had one on my place that was 31" on the butt, top diameter on that 8' log was 28" I think. That was an exceptional specimen. I also had bigtooth that probably ran about 90' tall.
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Offline schmism

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2019, 12:53:06 AM »
I thought another name for Aspen was Popular which is commonly used for trim due to its grain structure.  it machines well, paints well.

Never heard of it being used as structural as solid sawn.
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Offline Haleiwa

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2019, 06:20:16 AM »
Quaking Aspen is sometimes called poplar or popple, but the desirable species for cabinetry framing and painted trim is tulip poplar,  an entirely different species. Here in New York,  the biggest challenge in dropping Aspen is guessing which side is most rotten.   That's usually the direction it will fall.  It was commonly planted around buildings and roads,  and  now it needs to come down. 
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Offline barbender

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2019, 08:56:13 AM »
Yes, the Poplar you commonly see at lumber stores is Tulip Poplar aka Yellow Poplar. It is used for a lit of paint grade trim and millwork.
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Offline Stephen1

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2019, 09:06:17 AM »
We have a lot of Poplar here, life is not long, we get up to 20" then they die and fall over. We sometimes will ring it so it dies slowly, but allows the maples to grow. 
Around here they will start at the edge of the old farmers fields and will be the start of forest regrowing.
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2019, 02:16:39 PM »
I mill aspen/poplar/pople
Makes nice interior trim on the clear stuff.
Stain and paint works great
Drawer boxes
Shed floor 
Framing lumber if kept dry 
Wall sheeting if covered
The poplar in building supplies and box stores is tulip poplar
I use northern stuff for the list above
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Offline btulloh

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2019, 02:41:51 PM »
Can we get some pictures from the OP?  It seems highly unlikely that these are aspen or especially quaking aspen. That would be a good thing as they may produce better lumber.

After following this and other threads, Iím convinced that referring to a poplar tree is practically a useless term. Tulip poplar (aka yellow poplar), as has already been stated, is not a poplar at all. The lumber from tulip poplar is different than lumber from aspen, cottonwood, ďpoppleĒ.  

It would be good to clarify what tree is being discussed.

(Just my humble opinion.)  

Offline barbender

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2019, 07:44:52 PM »
It's aspen, the OP stated that. I'm waiting to see how he is measuring them, I suspect he might be measuring the circumference rather than diameter. I am in the same area of northern MN as him, we don't have any tulip poplar up here. I don't think the banana belt in SE MN has any either, but we do have a lot of hardwoods in that corner of the state that we don't grow up north. More typical of what you would see in Illinois, for instance. At any rate, I've never seen a stand of aspen of the size he is describing in 8 years of full time production logging all over the northern half of the state. We did have one aspen sale last year that I wasn't on, cut by one of our contract cutters. He bunched the wood in front of his two processors, and they had one day where the processors cut well over 400 cords together. This is not every day stuff I'm talking about here! The guys in the processors told me a lot of the stems they couldn't grab the butt log, I think a Ponsse H7 head will open up 25"-26"- and they were solid. This is the kind of aspen you rarely hear of, even in an outfit that has an output of 100,000 cords or more annually. 
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Offline kiamori

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2019, 04:53:41 AM »
So here is one that's 28", the perspective is off since I was holding the camera, flashlight(suns not up yet) and a tape measure so this one appears bigger than it actually is.

This one fell in a recent storm on some of our maple lines and across a trail we're using for bow season so I had to deal with it first. I haven't had time to get some good photos but I'll try to get some better ones this weekend from some of the really big Aspen's on the far end of the property.


 

 

 

 

 
We do have both Quaking and Bigtooth Aspen, this was a Quaking Aspen.

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2019, 07:14:25 AM »
Well good on you @Kiamori.  Seems that with that size you should be able to get them off to a sawmill of some sort.  RE genetics, do both quacking and bigtooth aspen seed well?  Do your neighbors have similar sized aspen in their woodlots?  My question being...what is going to be the replacement crop?  Is it worth propagating a new Aspen forest?  Will it naturally do that or is any silvicultural manipulation required.  
 
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Offline nativewolf

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2019, 07:30:31 AM »
I also note that this post is in the sawmill section should it be in the logging section?  @Ron Scott might not see this and he's probably a wealth of insight into all aspects of Aspen management and markets.
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Offline barbender

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2019, 08:16:55 AM »
Nice! Well, the easiest place to sell them would be Savanna Pallet, in McGregor. They often want their aspen in 9' length. Hawkins Sawmill down in Isle pays top dollar, but the logs will have to be fresh, without any staining.

Nativewolf, both species of aspen will grow from seed, but more commonly come up from roots. The only tricky part with aspen management up here is getting it to NOT grow😁 Any clearcut or burned area will quickly sprout aspen. About the only way to prevent it is spraying, or not clear cutting- leaving enough shade that it won't sprout. Aspen needs full sun, if the sun is hitting the ground an aspen is going to grow there.
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Offline kiamori

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2019, 09:43:42 AM »
Well good on you @Kiamori.  Seems that with that size you should be able to get them off to a sawmill of some sort.  RE genetics, do both quacking and bigtooth aspen seed well?  Do your neighbors have similar sized aspen in their woodlots?  My question being...what is going to be the replacement crop?  Is it worth propagating a new Aspen forest?  Will it naturally do that or is any silvicultural manipulation required.  
 
I do have a decent size sawmill on the property that can do 84" wide x 20' long so I don't need to haul it away, I just don't really know what to do with the stuff(its sort of piling up).
All of the land in the area once belonged to blandin paper company so perhaps they had a hand in the larger tree genetics? I'm not really sure..
Most of my property is quite hilly, full of mixed tree's and is just hard to log commercially so I think it was mostly skipped over. I have some oak and white pine on the property that is massive. I use an old SW48 with a log arch to get stuff out of the woods.
I mostly only take down stuff that is in poor health or blocking the maple trees, we have about 1200 maples that can be tapped on the property. We've also planted about 100 fruit trees and some nut trees as well
The only tricky part with aspen management up here is getting it to NOT grow Any clearcut or burned area will quickly sprout aspen.

We learned this the hard way when we cleared some aspen for fruit trees, the stuff comes back like weeds. Twice a year we're out clearing the aspen shoots.

Seems the only way to get rid of the Aspen is to let other trees block out the sun above them.

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2019, 10:10:59 AM »
 I know nothing about the locations and distance either but sounds like @kiamori has a great spot!  I'm personally jealous of the 1200 maples.  It does seem like maybe it is time to take the Aspen down before it loses value, often better planed than mother nature but I am sure you have that figured out.  So, you have the names of two mills.  Have you ever talked to a mill about buying logs?  You obviously are comfortable around the trees and have equipment to handle them.  How many acres do you have in total?  Are you looking to take down 100 aspen like this or 1000? 10-12 (assuming 300-500bdft per tree) trees like that will fill a small tractor trailer if it were oak.  I know it is light so maybe quite a few more. 

Anyway you have your 2 names and that is a great start, seems like a fun project and a good sustainable one as well.  Just be safe, I don't see you in chaps, it is a simple low cost way to dramatically reduce your risk.  

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Offline barbender

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2019, 12:09:19 PM »
Kiamori, what town are you near?
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Offline kiamori

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2019, 07:53:48 PM »
Have you ever talked to a mill about buying logs?
  Are you looking to take down 100 aspen like this or 1000?
Just be safe, I don't see you in chaps, it is a simple low cost way to dramatically reduce your risk.  
Have not talked to a mill, not really a good way to get the full logs off the property, we do have an old logging road that runs along the back side of the property but it hasn't been maintained in 50 years i think. The main private road is about 1.5 miles of curvey, hilly gravel.

Likely about 150ish of these larger aspen scattered across the property.

The person in the photo is my wife, she was out helping me clear the trails. I do have chaps :) although i dont always wear them. Depends on which saw I'm using. Ive been using this dewalt 60v because it cuts about as fast as the gas saw i have and its a lot better, no fumes, instant on off, just toss batteries on the charger at the end of the day. Battery tech has come a long way.
Kiamori, what town are you near?
I'm about an hour north of Grand Rapids.


Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2019, 04:09:47 PM »
What Barbender said concerning aspen management. If young are in an aspen ecosystem of Quaking or Big Tooth Aspen and it has reached 60 + years of age, it should be harvested while it is commercially viable for sawlogs and pulpwood.

Leaving it longer that that to "old age" will often cause it to develop "white rot" and then not be very marketable. Aspen is usually short lived and usually has good local pulpwood and sawlog markets for that reason, but it needs to be harvested while it is still sound and viable.

Clearcutting is usually the preferred sylvicultural method of harvesting aspen for rapid regeneration. It is an intolerant species and needs sunlight to regenerate which is usually soon and heavy on a good site.

An aspen site can be converted to another species such as red pine by heavy herbicide use and extensive soil manipulations, but it is usually not recommended where aspen is the dominant species.

Aspen is managed for its wildlife benefits along with it sawtimber and pulpwood values. It's always good to seek out the services of a local professional forester to evaluate your specific site.
~Ron

Offline barbender

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2019, 05:44:29 PM »
So near Effie, perhaps? That's where we cut the one stand of really exceptional aspen. The Highway 1 corridor from Togo over past Northome has some of the finest aspen anywhere.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2019, 05:59:34 PM »
Yes, beautiful country.  PatD and I took the route across that portion of MN from Ely through Effie to Lake Itasca several years ago.  move_it
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Offline kiamori

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2019, 06:40:04 PM »
What Barbender said concerning aspen management. If young are in an aspen ecosystem of Quaking or Big Tooth Aspen and it has reached 60 + years of age, it should be harvested while it is commercially viable for sawlogs and pulpwood.

Leaving it longer that that to "old age" will often cause it to develop "white rot" and then not be very marketable. Aspen is usually short lived and usually has good local pulpwood and sawlog markets for that reason, but it needs to be harvested while it is still sound and viable.

Clearcutting is usually the preferred sylvicultural method of harvesting aspen for rapid regeneration. It is an intolerant species and needs sunlight to regenerate which is usually soon and heavy on a good site.

An aspen site can be converted to another species such as red pine by heavy herbicide use and extensive soil manipulations, but it is usually not recommended where aspen is the dominant species.

Aspen is managed for its wildlife benefits along with it sawtimber and pulpwood values. It's always good to seek out the services of a local professional forester to evaluate your specific site.
We have a very healthy mix of trees. In order of trees I would say its something like; Maple, Birch, Spruce, Aspen, Pine(red/white), Oak, Ash, Basswood, Willow, a very few Cedar and a few random ones that I might be missing. The old land surveys show hemlock but I haven't seen any on the property so that would be the last time it was likely cut, sometime back in the 20's I would guess.

So near Effie, perhaps? That's where we cut the one stand of really exceptional aspen. The Highway 1 corridor from Togo over past Northome has some of the finest aspen anywhere.
About a half hour s.west of Effie.

Yes, beautiful country.  PatD and I took the route across that portion of MN from Ely through Effie to Lake Itasca several years ago.  move_it
Its amazing country here, can't imagine living anywhere else. The winters are just gorgeous if you don't mind lots of snow.


Here is another photo of some of the Aspen and some smaller maples,


one of the larger white pine,
 

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2019, 07:08:02 PM »
@kiamori Sounds like you may benefit from a small harvest.  150 of those aspen, maybe the rest of them as well since even the smaller ones are likely the same age and ready (age wise) for harvest.  If a good logger with a forwarder could harvest that in winter it might be possible to dramatically reduce the amount of trails needed?  @Barbender would know better than I, sounds like he is close by.
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Offline kiamori

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2019, 07:34:24 PM »
@kiamori Sounds like you may benefit from a small harvest.  150 of those aspen, maybe the rest of them as well since even the smaller ones are likely the same age and ready (age wise) for harvest.  If a good logger with a forwarder could harvest that in winter it might be possible to dramatically reduce the amount of trails needed?  @Barbender would know better than I, sounds like he is close by.
It sure would be nice to get rid of all of the aspen but I'm also not sure I really want heavy equipment on this property since we have maple lines up everywhere and most of the property is quite hilly so it might be more trouble than its worth as well. 

For now I've just been working on taking down the ones that need direction as not to hit any of the good sugar and black maples. I had planned to get more done on the property but got too busy with my businesses this year.

Offline Clark

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2019, 11:02:50 PM »
Kiamori - Iíve cruised a lot of timber in that neck of the woods and it is easily the most underrated corner of the state. Some nice rolling hills, lakes everywhere and beautiful hardwoods. Iíve measured more basswood over 100í tall in the Wirt area than I have any other tree species anywhere else in the state.

I would guess your land was not touched by Potlatch because it was hardwoods. Ask most foresters in northern MN how to best manage hardwoods and theyíll either scratch their heads or give some wise-crack about how itís not worth growing. Of course, both responses are wrong!

You have a site that is very productive and it is likely making the transition from an aspen and birch dominated forest to one with more maple, basswood and possibly red oak. Selectively cutting aspen to allow those trees to grow better is a great course of action. Whether you utilize the aspen or leave them lay is your choice. 

If youíre full of energy you could cut them yourself and possibly skid them to a landing. Whether or not the mills would accept wood cut by the uninsured landowner is something you should find out first.

Clark
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #29 on: September 23, 2019, 06:23:08 AM »
Here in Maine,on my land,I could cut all I want with no insurance. But this was back 20 years ago too. I do have to contact the state to get an Intent to log number. Need that for the paper mills and sawmills. A very simple form needs to be filled out each year.
If you have trees that big,it takes a good size something to get them out.
I had a lot of big eastern white pine,36 inches was no big deal. Don't haul out too many 16 footers that size that are 16 feet long with a 40hp tractor. Those had to be cut 10 feet long. Need to get specs form a sawmill. Than too those big ones need some room to fall. We use to cut a "road" for those big pines to fall into. That would open up the forest when we cut a big pine. Took a while to clean up a place for the trees to fall into.
And than you have to stick with logging. Meaning you can't cut one tree than jump in the car and go visit friends and do fun things with the wife. That is really why I stopped logging on my land. I work,40 hours a week,than cut wood. The wife could not understand the part about the mills wants fresh logs and pulp too. Can't have the logs sitting around for a month while we are going places.
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Offline nativewolf

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2019, 06:37:21 AM »
So you are tapping with low pressure vac lines?  That would slow up some logging  :D.  Well you're in a great spot and I appreciate you sharing some of pictures of your forest, looks wonderful.  How many acres?

@Clark that is the same response foresters give around Northern VA, they tell people to replant in pine (which has almost a 0 NPV if you map out trends).  

@kiamori Have you seen the maple syrup section here, I like to read it but more for "I wish I had maples" than something I can actually do (we only have a few scattered sugar maples, red maple is more common).  Nice group, lots of pics.  
Liking Walnut

Offline kiamori

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2019, 07:09:22 AM »
Kiamori - Iíve cruised a lot of timber in that neck of the woods and it is easily the most underrated corner of the state. Some nice rolling hills, lakes everywhere and beautiful hardwoods. Iíve measured more basswood over 100í tall in the Wirt area than I have any other tree species anywhere else in the state.

I would guess your land was not touched by Potlatch because it was hardwoods. Ask most foresters in northern MN how to best manage hardwoods and theyíll either scratch their heads or give some wise-crack about how itís not worth growing. Of course, both responses are wrong!

You have a site that is very productive and it is likely making the transition from an aspen and birch dominated forest to one with more maple, basswood and possibly red oak. Selectively cutting aspen to allow those trees to grow better is a great course of action. Whether you utilize the aspen or leave them lay is your choice.

If youíre full of energy you could cut them yourself and possibly skid them to a landing. Whether or not the mills would accept wood cut by the uninsured landowner is something you should find out first.

Clark
We've been replacing the aspen with fruit trees and black walnut mostly. My SW48 plow works decent as a tree fetcher, it has no problems pulling 20' x 40" out of the woods.. Nice and compact tracked vehicle with lots of power, I just have to be careful around the hills.
So you are tapping with low pressure vac lines?  That would slow up some logging  :D.  Well you're in a great spot and I appreciate you sharing some of pictures of your forest, looks wonderful.  How many acres?
We have enough decent on most of the runs to do full gravity feed via 3/16 but next year we may add some vacuum to get some of the currently untapped trees. This year we did 375 taps and we'll likely add another 100 or so in 2020.

Offline ethanbrush

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2019, 08:58:45 AM »
I have big tooth aspen here and when one blows over, as they do often, I cant resist cutting it.  Hate to see it go to waste.  I have 1500 board feet already, cutting it into 1" boards, not sure what I will do with it.  I might paint it white and do some of the walls of the house with it instead of drywall.  The clear stuff is real nice, although seems like i get very little of that. Hopefully it wont be a waste of time. They dont get very big here, 18" is a pretty big, although I have a handful of 24's. its a miracle those haven't blown over yet.
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Offline 47sawdust

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Re: Lots of ~30-35" x 80-100' Quaking Aspen, what to do with it?
« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2019, 06:39:06 AM »
A fellow in Brooks Maine makes ladders for apple orchards from big tooth aspen,probably good crate wood as well.
What is this SW48 you mention?
Beautiful property and welcome to the forum.
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