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Author Topic: What to do with tops of fell timber?  (Read 2215 times)

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Offline LittleJohn

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What to do with tops of fell timber?
« on: February 07, 2014, 11:20:46 AM »
I am curious as to what other do when small scale logging, out in a plot or woods .  I worked with the old man and a Great-uncle, who have differing opinions and was looking for some guidance.

Old Man - prefers to take small limbs and tops and make piles, he says it helps with small game and wildlife
Great-Uncle - just drops the tree, limbs and pulls out usable logs and firewood; tops stay were they fall

LET the debate begin  ;D

Offline DR_Buck

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Re: What to do with tops of fell timber?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2014, 11:41:56 AM »
I sold timber from a woodlot some years ago and the loggers left the tops where they laid.   For the next 3 or 4 years I sold firewood.  "You cut it - You load it"  $25 a picup truck load.   I had quite a few takers.  One pair of good ole boys took 25 or 30 picup loads out .  Got my woods completely cleaned up and made some cash as well.  ;D
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Offline LittleJohn

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Re: What to do with tops of fell timber?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2014, 12:28:29 PM »
DR, were all of you tops in a landing or out in the woods; cause selling firewood be nice, but both the old man and uncle have OWB, so they take as much wood as they can to feed the BEASTS!!

Typically they do not haul out tree length logs, they trim and buck in the woods, so we only haul out 8' to 20' sticks.  That remeinds me I shoudl start stretchign now I think the old mans firewood pile is getting low and that means, a couple of hard days in the woods to restock the pile (several dead standing trees - bark is falling off, shoudl be nice and dry)

Offline beenthere

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Re: What to do with tops of fell timber?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2014, 01:03:20 PM »
If you want the exercise, pile the tops for the animals or to feed a fire.
If not, then just knock them down (what I do).
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Offline CTYank

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Re: What to do with tops of fell timber?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2014, 02:10:14 PM »
DR, were all of you tops in a landing or out in the woods; cause selling firewood be nice, but both the old man and uncle have OWB, so they take as much wood as they can to feed the BEASTS!!

Typically they do not haul out tree length logs, they trim and buck in the woods, so we only haul out 8' to 20' sticks.  That remeinds me I shoudl start stretchign now I think the old mans firewood pile is getting low and that means, a couple of hard days in the woods to restock the pile (several dead standing trees - bark is falling off, shoudl be nice and dry)

Don't count on dead standing to mean dry and ready. Maybe at the twig-tips, but I'll bet you that the lower stem, especially, is soaking wet. Your best hope is to get them down & bucked ASAP if you need to burn them this winter.
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Offline DR_Buck

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Re: What to do with tops of fell timber?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2014, 02:31:11 PM »
DR, were all of you tops in a landing or out in the woods; cause selling firewood be nice, but both the old man and uncle have OWB, so they take as much wood as they can to feed the BEASTS!!

They were scattered all over the place.   There logs were hauled out from where they were felled and bucked with a large skidder.
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Offline BuckeyeAaron

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Re: What to do with tops of fell timber?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2014, 03:49:23 PM »
I've always been an advocate of letting the tops stay where they landed at the time of felling and bucking (assuming we are talking about hardwoods here).  If one were to try to skid out a complete top from the lowest crotch the amount of residual stand damage would be horrifying.  If you're patient, I'd just let them lie there and let nature take its course and slowly return nutrients to the soil as they break down.  In the mean time, they would also provide wildlife habitat (even without piling them up).  If you're anxious to clean up the aesthetics of the woodlot, I would cut and salvage all useable firewood by removing in small pieces or simply buck the tops up and leave the material lie there.  Bucking it up will hasten the decomposition time and improve aesthetics as you won't have large tops sticking up all over the place.  I'm no sawyer so I wouldn't trust myself cutting up tops as there is a lot of pressure in some of those limbs depending on how they fell. 
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: What to do with tops of fell timber?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2014, 06:51:04 PM »
My land is a challenge to get around on. If I piled up my brush it would be in the way later on. With hardwood,I bring out the limbs down to a couple inches. probably takes more time than what's it is worth,but no limbs to damage my tractor. Softwood I take a lot of limbs too. When I haul a rock up into the bog,I keep going and pick up some small wood. I have a 3pt winch so I lay down a chain a pile my wood onto the chain. Whatever brush I do leave gets cut up into pieces 2-3 feet long.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: What to do with tops of fell timber?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2014, 01:34:51 PM »
Sorta depends upon what the landowner wants.
 

 
Before felling
 

 
After felling.
 

 
In this instance the landowner wanted the woodlot to become an extended portion of his yard.  Firewood was taken out and the smaller tops burned.  It can now be bushhogged a couple of times each year
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Offline 36 coupe

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Re: What to do with tops of fell timber?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2014, 06:24:17 PM »
I was taught to pile brush and take a lot of small wood for the cook stove.Hard wood brush piles rot down fast.I dont like working with brush under foot.A friend will cut up brush and make small bundles to start his stove.A cover photo from the Small Farmers Journal shows a wood shed with a lot of small wood stacked in the open front.Time working in the woods is never wasted.Rabbits love brush piles as they feed on the green bark and will leave trees alone.My wife will pick up small limbs around the yard for the cook stove.Waste not ,want not.

Offline Corley5

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Re: What to do with tops of fell timber?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2014, 08:04:07 PM »
We take the wood down to anything that will make a straight 100" stick with a 4" top.  Everything else is left to decay.  The first two years after a harvest look the worst.
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Offline mesquite buckeye

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Re: What to do with tops of fell timber?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2014, 09:43:06 PM »
Most of our woods is pretty tight, so we cross fall into an opening. That makes a pile, which we leave. Turkeys like to nest there, and cherry trees get a chance to grow where the deer can't get to them. In 5-10 years you never know it was there. ;D
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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: What to do with tops of fell timber?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2014, 10:33:24 PM »
"Urban and Community Forestry" ???
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Offline LittleJohn

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Re: What to do with tops of fell timber?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2014, 03:23:26 PM »
I log in town and on the edge of lots !?! When I mean small scale I mean 5 to 10 trees at most, typical job is 1 or 2 problem trees.  Biggest job to date was clear cutting 1 acre, on the edge of a gravel pit, before they expanded the pit (normally just push trees over and let rot)

I figured "Urban/Community Forestry" was most appropriate.


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