I have about an acre of land here in Michigan and it has several large
trees in the heavily wooded back part of the property. I would like to
thin it out by cutting the large trees - maple, oak, hickory, cherry -
but feel guilty about cutting something that has been growing for
50-80 years. On the other hand, the smaller tress will grow when the
larger one are removed and it seems like it would be better to harvest
these trees in their prime instead of cutting them when they are
almost dead. I would probably sell the trees if possible and just take
a few boards from each tree. Of course the wife thinks its a crime to
cut a tree down so I have that to deal with. I would like to cut them.
Anyone else had these thought?
Why do you want to cut down the big trees; for the wood?
Our local cooperative extension runs a course on wood lot management. You
might want to look into something like that, though a acre is not much of a
Contact a local forestry agent to survey the property. They will
provide you with a realistic approach to maintaining and preserving your
timber for now and the future. Sometimes it is best to thin out some of
the timber in order to better maintain the long term stability of any
On 11 Jun 2004 09:21:13 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org (Rich Durkee) wrote:
Don't listen to a word anyone says who hasn't visited the site.
There's an awful lot involved here, mainly about how to manage the
site. Do what's best for the site and what's going to remain growing
there long-term, not just felling a couple of trees for timber.
You don't get boards out of a tree. Trees make logs, logs make
flitches, and after a few years you can think about splitting the dry,
stacked flitch up and taking a few boards out. Before you get to this
stage, you've had to deal with a few different people, two sorts of
sawing, quite possibly a couple of big trucks and a couple of years in
a storage yard / shed.
I'd suggest talking to the Small Woods Association, Wood-mizer or
similar and finding a list of local foresters, lumberjacks, sawyers
and timber yards.
The practicality and value of this depends on what you're dealing
with, how big it is and how accessible. Except for walnuts, it's not
worth bringing a bandsaw mill on-site for just a couple of trees.
Access so that a log truck with a crane can pick them up directly
makes it a lot more viable, as you can take the logs to the saw, not
Hobby bandmills are abundant in most rural areas of the US.
First the extension forester, then the yellow pages or schmooze to find a
good saw to remove marked trees. Which are recommended will depend on
_your_ management objective for the site, as well as its suitability to the
desired species. They can answer those questions.
When is an easy answer - winter, when the sap's down, the branches and
interlock easily visible, and the frozen ground makes for less damage from
Time from tree to furniture is about two years in MI if you stack outdoors
for a year, though 4/4 lumber has seen < 6% after eight months in my
basement. If you've got the space and an indulgent spouse, reserve part of
the basement for the first to be used.
http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/TMU/publications.htm are the real experts
(Rich Durkee) wrote:
It still takes time to set them up though. Until you're sawing
something like the third or fourth tree, you've paid more for the
sawyers time in driving over and erecting the mill than you have for
them doing useful sawing. Of course you can do this, but it can
double the cost of a singleton compared to a whole stand.
I sometimes use an LT-15, which is the smallest Wood-mizer. Another
local guy has a 25, with all sorts of hydraulic handling gadgets.
Although the 15 is definitely slower to saw on, because you're lumping
the log around by hand and turning it with a cant hook, the economics
are generally better. It has fewer parts, is much cheaper to buy, and
the set-up time is less.
I've also worked on some sites where it has taken a day of digger or
shovel work to build a flat sawyard space up first, before even
bringing the bandsaw on site.
email@example.com (Rich Durkee) wrote in message
In terms of value, there have been a number of studies that indicate
mature trees on a residential parcel increase the perceived value of
that parcel by as much as 25%. Is the wood that you can potentially
recover really worth even a 10% increase in value of your property -
especially after deducting harvesting and milling costs?
These are residential trees. To a sawmill, trees grown near houses are
very likely to contain metal. If the mill finds any metal there will
be a significant deduction in price depending on where the metal is
and how much is there. Most metal is found in the first 6' of the butt
log - guess where the most valuable lumber is.
Then you have 50-80 year old maple, oak, hickory, and cherry. Any of
these trees could easily live for another 200-300 years - so you would
not be cutting them in their prime but at a fairly young age. They may
be close to economic maturity from a forest management perspective,
but this is a residential lot. I think they will gain more value as
large specimen trees for real estate value.
How do trees grow? Tree height growth is largely a function of site
quality. Trees of a given age grow taller on better quality sites.
There is very little that you can do to improve site quality
significantly. After 50' or so height becomes largely irrelevant in
visual impact as seen from the ground.
Tree diameter on the other hand is largely of function of tree density
- how many trees grow on a given acre. If you remove some of the
smaller trees, the larger trees will have more resources and will grow
in diameter much faster. From a visual impact point of view, larger
diameter trees are much more attractive to most people.
So the take home message - seriously consider saving the big ones and
thinning the little ones. Developing the "heavily wooded" part of the
property as a woodland garden is likely to have a bigger impact on the
value of your property, and possibly your own enjoyment of it, than
the few boards you would net from a harvest. That of course is without
ever having seen the site or the trees in question. I do have over 20
years experience as a professional forester.
If you had many acres that were not residential, I would likely make
a very different recommendation.
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