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new forum member - introduction

Started by GlennCz, July 24, 2005, 12:19:22 PM

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Thanks everyone for answering my questions, I don't want to be a nuisance, but I have tons more.  Let me explain my situation, it might help you in giving me advice. 

In 1997 I was purchased land that had standing timber on edge of the Poconos(1700ft) near Scranton, Pa.  I have always been an avid outdoorsman with many, varied interests that have kept me me "in the woods" all of the seasons throughout my life.  So I immediately found that their was public assistance in the way of State Foresters available to consult a private landowner like me.  I became acquainted with the State Forester and was invovled in woodcock habitat restoration plan, small pilot deer fencing areas and wildlife shrub/tree planting in the scrub/wetlands area of my property.  Also I contacted a private degreed forester and together we created a Forest Stewardship Mangement Plan which was approved by the state.  The timber on my property is northern hardwoods with fairly equal mixtures of black cherry, hard and soft maple, ash and beech.  Their is some hemlock throughout and stands of it in the lowlands.  But because this property was clearcuted about 90 years ago in many areas their are cherries that grew quite healthy right along and amid the hemlocks.  There has been absolutely no timbering on this property for the past 90 years.  There were no roads whatsoever in the timber, so I researched that and while doing so informally had a few loggers on the property to look at the situation(1998).  I learned just a very little about timbering but decided that I wasn't ready to go ahead with a large scale project since I just bought the land and I didn't want to bother with the mess of a small project with small $$$ returns.  So with myself and some hired hands I put cleared trees(trying to stay away from "timber") and put in about 3 to 4 miles of cleared roadway which were then destumped and smoothed by a frontloader.  These roads are good and hard and have served me well with acess to my property and four wheeling fun for my family and they will serve as great access and landmarks to separate my property into "areas" while I timber.  In fact I created a map of my property.

In 2000 my wife and I built a house on the land and we moved in with our three children.  I've been preoccupied with other interests and didn't even think of timbering unless about one month ago when someone pointed out the value of one of my trees while working at my property.  That comment, has led me on a  wild, fun chase to learn about the timbering and the silviculture aspects of it.  I usually am a quick study and I've already amassed a good library of internet research on timber harvesting/silviculture and also the academic silviculture books and some practical logging books.  It is time to do some logging, but foremost in my mind is the responsibility that I have to the future of the land while I am the caretaker.  Also I fully realize that if this land is managed in the right way, I will maximize it for the "long run".   No worry, no diamater cuts going on over here, the exact opposite wll be taking place. 

I've had foresters from two mills visit, plus I have a consulting forester(I am familiar with the "pros" of going that route for selling timber) coming this week, plus lots of other opinions.  Right now I am quite satisfied with what is going on with the small area and very selective harvest that I am doing with a logger and we are working on a share basis.  So that is a start.  I know I"m "swimming with the sharks" but so far I'm stillin one piece!!!<g>.   - Thanks, wish me well.  Glenn - newly made timber baron.


It sure was nice to read your post on your ongoing timber management  project, to often one hears the horror stories associated with harvesting timber off private land. Its nice to know that your kids and grandkids will benefit from your efforts.
If it can't be nailed or glued then screw it

Ron Wenrich

I'm glad you are getting professional advice.  Just be certain that highgrading isn't being done.  Loggers and consultants can both be guilty of doing this.

If you have healthy cherry growing in with healthy hemlock, which ones are you going to want to cut?  This is a simple Forestry 101 question.   ;)
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.


>If you have healthy cherry growing in with healthy hemlock, which ones are you going to want to cut? 

I don't think I really want to cut ANY hemlock, because it isn't worth anything, make a huge mess when cut and often times is found over a wet area where it really belongs.  So I think my only choice there is to cut the hemlock, in deep pines, most of the cherries are stunted anyway, so it really doesn't matter what I do with them, they or any other tree isn't coming in among the hemlocks. 

One of the reasons I have been able to "proceed" is because the logger I am working with is willing to teach me alot and work with me and cut only what I want.  I am starting to cut with only a very "light" selective, not even thinning, cut in mind. I am just warming up to logging, studying the forest, cruising, measuring volumes and logs, looking at the mill price chart and determing price per tree, price per log, reading the forest service grade system.  In our initial time through we are taking out trees which are obviously in poor shape or obviously blocking other trees, taking out a cherries that are doubles or crowded.  I counted, mapped, and measured ALL of my cherries to give me an inventory of what I am working with and where they might be found.  I have a forester coming to look at my property for tax puposes and hopefully he'll agree to work on a per hour basis in consulting me.  I am going to see what I can get for my veneer on with a sale on shares with logger, if that works out like I hope it does, then I am going to proceed cutting on a share basis and staying away fro1m the bidding process. 


oops in that message up above i typed "cut the hemlock" i meant "cut the cherries" in the pines.  I doubt the small ones are going to grow much because they have been stunted by the competetion all of their lives, so it is a matter, do I just want to take the tree or not, nothing wil come back in it's place, it won't really be missed visually, and it probably won't grow too much it I leave it their. 

Ron Scott



I'll take a stab at Ron W's question.   If GlennCz did have healthy Cherry alongside healthy hemlocks, he should cut the hemlocks first and release those cherry so they can put on some weight, right?

Now in reality GlennCz has stunted/shaded cherry among healthy hemlock, assuming the site is good for cherry, should he still cut the hemlock and hope the existing cherry seeds the area and then cut the stunted cherry when there is a good crop of cherry saplings?



Ian, the lowland areas I"m talking about are the perfect spot for hemlocks to grow.  The fact that the cherry is there now is I think an anomoly, either cut cherry and harvest or let it alone.  Personally, I am not really against cutting beech and thinning trees and making a big mess, but I really don't like a hemlock mess, and I think it would be the wrong thing to do anyway.  Now other "upland" dry areas, hemlocks are not dense and in some spots compete with cherry or maples, but they add color to the forest in winter, and bring some diversity in, they are fine. 

Ron Scott

I agree on leaving the hemlock. It sounds like a hemlock site and it provides wildlife thermal and escape cover and future old growth. We are working such a site now, but leaving most of the hemlock. Only removing what's necessary for making haul roads and skid routes and using care with retaining most of it in the stand.  We continue to loose a lot of hemlock in our forest landscapes here so do not harvest very much of it.

Ron Wenrich

How long do you think you have before the wooly adelgid gets into the hemlock?  Its in your area now.
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.


Ron, not really sure about the wooly a. right here, I really don't see too much damage from it yet in our local forests, and i haven't seen it on my land, although I haven't looked much, and I have had a few people here and no one saw it when they casually looked for it.

So this timber newbie took his first load of logs out today.  My logger and I took them to a small 5 person sawmill and I couldn't ask more in how the owner handled me.  He knew I wanted to what was going on with the logs, and first, in the blazing hot son, he took about an hour to explain some general defects in our pile, and of course why he was going to give us less $$$ than we wished,<g>, then he took us inside for a half hour, went into detail how he looks at each log to get the most/best boards, went through pile of lumbar to show diferences between grades of lumbar and how timber quality affected the milling process.  Then finally, he went through each of our logs, shouting our defects and grades and volume if he asked.  (and to you "stewards" out there, he noted that we were doing the right thing and going through and getting the crap cherry out first, rather than showing up green with a big pile of fat logs). 

Only bad thing was that he tells us that cherry has gone down in price even during the past month.  I have these other mill price sheets that show higher prices, but he says cherry is down and hard maple is up?? 

So this thing has happened pretty fast, but I think it is going well.  I have myself a logger that I can work with, we are working on shares, of course I saw exactly how much he made with the mill slips today and I think his pay is fair for the work done.  Personally, I hope to do better in the long run with my logger on shares than I would in the bid process from either a mill or forester sale.  And the reason is that we are going to sell the veneer and get $5/1,000 (or more) for some of this stuff.  I don't think any bidder is going to come close to $5/1,000 on those veneer logs, and are going to give me much less.  And from what I have seen in my short time in the timber business I can see why.  We cut a few trees down that cut down there were defects seen which would throw it right out of veneer and down below $2 or less.  So, I'll take my chances with my logger and hope we'll do better by getting the real veneer value of our logs.  But I don't really want to sell alot of veneer, just enough to spice up the sale, with the junky thinning I'm doing.  Because I can see some of these small trees we are thinning aren't worth much and hardly worth it for logger to drag out.  I also like working with one guy, having him under the gun, I have total control over him, will be working with him and watching him everyday.  So although I think this way might not be for everyone, I think it is going to work for me.  Thursday, I have a forester coming over who is going to look at the timber values in my 7 year old stewardship plan to see if they are right so i can claim theh best "basis" for my timber.  I am hoping that he'd be willing to go out and mark some timber with me on an hourly pay basis, just so I make sure I'm doing the right thing with my logger.

Thanks for the help, a few tips I have gotten here have helped me understand this interesting business (along with silviculture aspects) more. 

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