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Author Topic: Logging Our Property Questions  (Read 1982 times)

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Offline Krackle_959

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Logging Our Property Questions
« on: August 25, 2020, 01:51:05 PM »
Well, this is my first post on the forum, I have been lurking for sometime now learning a lot in the last 2 years. I think this is the correct place to ask for advice, but if not, please move it to where it belongs.

My wife and I bought a 150 acre wooded farm in coastal Maine a couple of years ago. We know that it hasn't been truly cut since the 60's, from the records we were given. Firewood has been gathered every year in various portions of the woods, the former owners son explained that he cut up blow downs and standing dead trees for firewood. We know the woods need some attention, some of the large hemlocks are starting to snap 20'-30' up and are pushing 30"-40" diameter. Some of the big red oaks are  getting heart rot as well, same diameter range. A mix of large poplar, and maple, and some field pines as well. Our property is 40% hardwoods, 40% softwoods, and 20% mixed, according to a family friend who is a retired paper company forester.

We are ready to go forward with having the property selectively cut after numerous discussions about it. The wife doesn't want to loose the owls that we have, nor the deer. She gets the fact that there is nothing to replace the large trees we have, and the canopy is full so no little trees are growing to replace the existing ones.

Where do we start? One logging company has been out here last winter as I tried to sell him some 46" dia red oak logs from a couple trees that were shadowing out the old apple orchard. He would like to cut the place, but he is too small, a 4 man crew and small sawmill in town.

This is one area that I don't know too much about do we hire a forester and have them manage it, or use a local logger who have their own foresters?

I have looked at the professional loggers website, and there are not too many near us, do I just start calling companies?

We have a good idea of what we want, and what we don't. We don't want the slash left in the woods, its all high ground and dry. We want is selectively cut and thinned to let some future trees mature into something worth it the next time it is cut. We are thinking we have 40-50 years here on this property, so we want to do what is right for the woods. Thanks in advance.

Offline mudfarmer

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2020, 02:02:53 PM »
Welcome!

There are a bunch of folks from Maine on here and a lot of people more qualified than me to discuss the details. Just want to caution you about having the slash removed from the woods. The Northeast and really the whole world has been depleting topsoil and nutrients through various means for a long time and one of the things we work on here on our property is building that back up. It took years to figure that out.

Good luck and have fun

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2020, 02:31:37 PM »
Welcome, congrats on the homestead.

I second that removing the slash is denying a future generation of humus to the soil composition.  When you cut this old canopy there is going to be a huge demand for nutrient uptake from the frenzy of regeneration that will occur.  

And also, youre asking a logger to become a landscaper.  That will cut down on your prospects and your timber income.


Theres a 4 man crew doing a 500-600 acre clearcut up the road at a late friend's house.  I dont see why 4 men cant do 150 acre.  BargeMonkey could probably do that alone in a month :)

Do you have any interest in being hands on in this project or just want it turn key taken care of?   If yes, what equipment and experience do you have?  If no, consider hiring in a mulcher after the harvest to jazz things up. 
Revelation 3:20

Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2020, 02:46:58 PM »
A logger using his own forester would cause me to do an in depth history/references for the logger.
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Offline Krackle_959

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2020, 03:08:32 PM »
Welcome, congrats on the homestead.

I second that removing the slash is denying a future generation of humus to the soil composition.  When you cut this old canopy there is going to be a huge demand for nutrient uptake from the frenzy of regeneration that will occur.  

And also, youre asking a logger to become a landscaper.  That will cut down on your prospects and your timber income.


Theres a 4 man crew doing a 500-600 acre clearcut up the road at a late friend's house.  I dont see why 4 men cant do 150 acre.  BargeMonkey could probably do that alone in a month :)

Do you have any interest in being hands on in this project or just want it turn key taken care of?   If yes, what equipment and experience do you have?  If no, consider hiring in a mulcher after the harvest to jazz things up.
 Thanks, the homestead fits us more that the previous subdivision house.
I understand the importance of why people leave slash in the woods for the nutrients. The forest floor is currently 4"-6" of leaves and small sticks and then 24" plus of black loam. 100 years ago it was all farmland. From what I have seen done a lot of operations up here are whole tree operations, and what isn't saw logs becomes biomass. The intent is to be able to walk through the woods after, or take the old jeep around without too much effort.
There are some small crews up here that I think could do well, the one that came by, the owner was the cutter by hand, and a second truck driver, he told me it was too much for him. I have seen BargeMonkey's posts and I am quite impressed with the speed and dedication he has.
I would like to be hands on with the project, but I believe most companies insurance prohibits it. The other issue is having to take time off from work, I make more sitting behind a computer building models in CAD and creating 3D designs for our companies fab shop CNC plasma table, than I would save or benefit from helping. I do have the experience with heavy equipment, I grew up on a JD 440 skidder pulling what seamed like miles of cable at 12 year old up through high school. I also have tons of excavator experience, and some dozer experience. I work for a heavy construction company so equipment isn't an issue from a 19,000 LB excavator up to 140,000 LB, dozers ranging from 16,000 LB to 76,000 LB are available for the cost of fuel and delivery. I feel pretty lucky to have that offer.

Offline Krackle_959

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2020, 03:10:07 PM »
A logger using his own forester would cause me to do an in depth history/references for the logger.
 That's what I am trying to figure out, Thank you. It seems several loggers up here have their own foresters on staff. It seemed like a conflict of interest to me at first glance.

Offline PoginyHill

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2020, 03:15:40 PM »
If you can't find a private forester, the state may offer forestry services either for no charge or a reduced fee...they used to. You may consider using Maine's tree growth tax law to reduce your property taxes. The first step, in my opinion, is a comprehensive forestry plan. It will serve as a roadmap for your management in the near and long term. I think it can be dangerous to hire a logger without the guidance of an independent forester. In any event a local state forester can provide you with options that make sense for your situation...I'm sure that consultation would be free of charge.
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Offline Maine logger88

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2020, 03:54:15 PM »
If it hasnít been touched other than firewood since the 60s itís definitely due for a harvest. You can always have the state forester come take a look and give you his opinion. 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2020, 04:27:47 PM »
Wow.. 24" of topsoil is incredible.  Im lucky to have 2 and it'll wash away like nothing when disturbed. 

Ask @snowstorm  who to call to have the tops chipped.  I cant remember the name of the biomass buyer i talked to years ago but i bet snowstorm knows. 
Revelation 3:20

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2020, 07:54:38 PM »
Been reading along today between work. Welcome to the forum, glad you dropped in. Sounds like you have a nice little piece of the earth there. I just retired in June from being a manufacturing engineer (programming, fixture design, process control,  capital expenditures, etc) so I might know a bit of  your situation. In my last 3 years or so on the job I filled my time with taking weekend classes in chainsaw use, Silviculture (sp?), and other stuff related to forest management and things I had an interest in.
 Sounds like you have a good deal of experience with the heavy equipment and access to same. I don't see where you mention any cutting experience but assume there is some. You can't spend that kind of time on a skidder without picking up some time. ;D Either way, you say you don't have time, I get that.  However you do need to understand what is going on with your property.
 My point is that knowledge is power. Take a class in Siliviculture. Understanding what goes into a good TSI cut is also helpful. Using the logger's forester would be a no go for me. You need to get your own who can listen to your plan for the land and develop a management plan, then the cut results from that. You want trees marked that you can see before any cutting takes place. The cutting needs to comply with your plan. It's all a process and a cycle and it starts with your plan. 
 You may have good loamy soil but there are other things you can do with the slash to improve your land. For instance there is promising work being done in creating protected zones to allow regeneration of clear cut areas with slash piles as a barrier. If you can sell your slash and get a worthwhile price, that is an option. But makes sure that is the right choice for your plan. There are lots of options open to you. Doing a little learning will help you quite a bit. These classes can be had at cooperative extensions all over the country for cheap. Also there are online seminars all the time (I did a lot of these at my desk at lunchtime). Google for conservationwebinars.com, they send me at least one new session a week. They are running a series on biomass right now, BTW. You can go back and watch the whole series.
 It's your land, you will be there for a while, you should know whats going on and make the choices you want to make. I wish I were that young again and had a chunk of earth like that to take care of.
 Anyway, that's my 2 cents. Best of luck to you!
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I can work with wood, but I am NOT a Woodworker, yet.

Offline Southside

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2020, 10:30:26 PM »
So most good logging outfits will have a forester on staff.  Many times their job is to acquire timber to cut - at the best deal for the company.  They also work to help with compliance, boundary marking, etc.  They are not working for you, but they are not evil monsters either.  You can, and from the sounds of it should, hire a consulting forester who is representing you as the seller.  They will represent your financial interest and help with your management goals.  It is also someone who will give you a straight up answer as to the realistic expectations about what it is you want to do and if you will be able to find someone to do it, the couple red oaks example you stated comes to mind.  

There are a lot of ways to deal with slash.  A CTL operation that runs the tops into the trails and then beats them into pulp will leave you with a clean looking harvest that does not take away all of the nutrient value and helps to reduce erosion post harvest for example.  

Two feet of loamy top soil in coastal Maine is indeed rare, so you want to pay attention to the soil type, slope, etc to manage for erosion.  Seeding and winter harvest may be better options.  I am from The County and can tell you there is nothing like running on frozen ground to prevent issues.  

Good luck with your endeavor.  
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Offline barbender

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2020, 11:59:52 PM »
Welcome, Krackle!

It sounds like you scored a nice piece of the earth, and want to do right by it. I work for a CTL logging outfit, and there are many benefits to this method. However, CTL harvests in hardwood are not a good option, if you are after that "park" look at the end. It is better for the soil, erosion issues, compaction, I could go on and on. But hardwood slash is ugly, there's no getting around that. If the forwarder has to pick up and pile the slash, that comes out of what you would be getting for stumpage. Full tree/biomass guys are pulling it out anyways. If the appearance and having the slash gone is the most important factor for you, I would point you in that direction. Good luck👍
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Offline Krackle_959

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2020, 06:42:59 AM »
If you can't find a private forester, the state may offer forestry services either for no charge or a reduced fee...they used to. You may consider using Maine's tree growth tax law to reduce your property taxes. The first step, in my opinion, is a comprehensive forestry plan. It will serve as a roadmap for your management in the near and long term. I think it can be dangerous to hire a logger without the guidance of an independent forester. In any event a local state forester can provide you with options that make sense for your situation...I'm sure that consultation would be free of charge.
Thanks PoginyHill, we plan on using the tree growth tax law for a reduction in taxes, the only reason we haven't done it yet is an ongoing discussion about reestablishing some farm fields that are now woods. I am currently searching for a independent forester from the advice I have received on this forum.

Offline snowstorm

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2020, 06:43:34 AM »
if you really have 36" hemlock it almost has to be shaky black heart so pretty much useless. to big for pulp. bio mass if the chipper is big enough .  i am no whole tree chipping fan and never have been. i run ctl gear old stuff yes it can be done.

Offline Krackle_959

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2020, 07:13:58 AM »
Been reading along today between work. Welcome to the forum, glad you dropped in. Sounds like you have a nice little piece of the earth there. I just retired in June from being a manufacturing engineer (programming, fixture design, process control,  capital expenditures, etc) so I might know a bit of  your situation. In my last 3 years or so on the job I filled my time with taking weekend classes in chainsaw use, Silviculture (sp?), and other stuff related to forest management and things I had an interest in.
 Sounds like you have a good deal of experience with the heavy equipment and access to same. I don't see where you mention any cutting experience but assume there is some. You can't spend that kind of time on a skidder without picking up some time. ;D Either way, you say you don't have time, I get that.  However you do need to understand what is going on with your property.
 My point is that knowledge is power. Take a class in Siliviculture.
Thanks Old Greenhorn! We feel very lucky to have the property, the farmhouse is 202 yrs old and we are the 5th owners, the first two were grandparents to grandson. The place came with full documentation of the history of the property which is quite interesting in itself.
Congrats on the retirement, I am 25-30 years away from retiring, but at some point may switch to a lower stress, less time career to afford myself more time around the homestead.
I have been doing a ton of reading on forests, and some on silviculture as well. I will have to look up the classes as my wife and I both like to learn more constantly. I did grow up helping my old man in the woods, I learned a lot from him, right or wrong. He has been maintaining his 250 acres for 45 years every winter.
I do have a good amount of cutting experience for a home owner who grew up on a farm, been cutting firewood since I was a teenager. I currently run a 372XP with a 24" bar, and a 550XP MII with an 18" bar. We have been cutting back the edges of the lawn over the last two winters to open it back up a bit, roughly 8-10 cords a winter.

Offline Krackle_959

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2020, 07:22:38 AM »
if you really have 36" hemlock it almost has to be shaky black heart so pretty much useless. to big for pulp. bio mass if the chipper is big enough .  i am no whole tree chipping fan and never have been. i run ctl gear old stuff yes it can be done.
I will try and get out back in the next couple days and take some pictures of them, my understanding is it will have shake, the ones that have snapped of 20'-30' up haven't had heart rot where it broke. They are large trees, some of the pine that isn't field pine is that large or larger. If they are too big for a chipper, and not worth anything, do they get dropped and left for habitat?

Offline Haleiwa

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2020, 08:41:28 AM »
No rule that you have to do it all at once.  If the small outfit wants to cut a small area at a time, you can get a chipper and handle the slash behind him.  Best of all, yoy can adjust your plan as you see it in action.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2020, 09:05:07 AM »
Timber Resources | Woodlands | Logging | Tennessee Timber Consultants, LLC

Theres a 100 page landowner guidebook in free pdf format down bottom of this page that i think any homesteader will enjoy.  


Working my own woods is the most enjoyable thing i have ever done.
Revelation 3:20

Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2020, 01:48:52 PM »
An impartial job of marking is best done by someone who has a technical knowledge of forestry as it applies to the local conditions(environmental, financial, as well practical and customary) and has no financial interest in the proceeds of the sale.

Money ends up driving way too much of what is cut, how it is cut, and what is left. Buyers and contractors have no monopoly on greed. I have been through many a consultant managed sale that was nothing more than a glorified high grade.

Every tract and every owner will having competing interests. Too many in this business don't take enough time to listen. The result is the landowner is less than satisfied with the result. There is no such thing as one "correct" way to mark a timber stand and the only absolute is that you cannot get the highest price, best job, leave it looking like a park with fantastic hunting and aesthetic appeal while maximizing the future growth and health of the forest. That is where the trade-offs begin. You are the one who lives with the outcome, so it is of critical importance that both whoever is marking and whoever physically is cutting the timber understands your objectives and priorities and is willing to balance ideals with reality. 

There is nothing wrong with leaving a veneer white oak just because you like the look of it standing there or want to shoot  a squirrel out of it with your grandson. By the same token there is not a thing wrong with cutting that tree in order to finance your grandsons college tuition. 

The "forestry proscription" for a mature forest may very well be a clear-cut. The same is true for a forest that has been poorly managed. Most won't consider that for the "home place" and I don't blame them. So you start the compromise between uses, aesthetics, practicality, economics, growth, and re-growth.

The more you know and can communicate and possibly even control what you want as an outcome the closer you will get to that end. Lump sum is generally the safest way to ensure you get paid but you also loose all control the day you sign. A father/son with a small mill may not have access to international markets but if they pay as cut on percentage you can set the contract up to modify what's going on at any time. Most likely that route will mean less money but also a much better chance your not in shell shock after the contract crew that cuts for the exporter shows up and blows through the whole woods before you even know what hit you.


Offline Maine logger88

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Re: Logging Our Property Questions
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2020, 02:15:12 PM »
if you really have 36" hemlock it almost has to be shaky black heart so pretty much useless. to big for pulp. bio mass if the chipper is big enough .  i am no whole tree chipping fan and never have been. i run ctl gear old stuff yes it can be done.
I will try and get out back in the next couple days and take some pictures of them, my understanding is it will have shake, the ones that have snapped of 20'-30' up haven't had heart rot where it broke. They are large trees, some of the pine that isn't field pine is that large or larger. If they are too big for a chipper, and not worth anything, do they get dropped and left for habitat?
My chipper is bigger than most and it wonít really do 36 inch trees. I mean they will fit in the hole but itís awful hard on knife holders and knives. Generally when I have landowners with a bunch of large nasty trees I have a chat with them about what they want done with them. Occasionally i will split a few with a chainsaw to make them fit but thatís not feasible in volume. A few just to get rid of them to help someone out is fine otherwise they get left standing or cut and left depending on the landowners wishes
79 TJ 225 81 JD 540B Husky and Jonsered saws


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