Wednesday, 11 October 2017 13:51

A major threat to Wisconsin’s forests

Hello Kretz Forest Family and Friends:

It was my turn to come up with an article for the newsletter, so I decided to address a very big concern of mine and one that should concern all who strive to keep our forest healthy: the major threats of invasive species, especially buckthorn and garlic mustard.

These two invasive plants have caused major problems for forest landowners by displacing native understory vegetation, forming an impenetrable understory layer, destroying wildlife habitat and causing long term decline of forests by shading out other woody and herbaceous plants. 

There are two kinds of buckthorn, glossy and smooth. They both leaf out very early in spring and retain their leaves late into autumn. Leaves are dark green and do not change color before being shed in the fall. Common buckthorn fruits are green, changing to black in the fall, and eaten by birds and mammals, yet poisonous to humans. 

Common Buckthorn. Photo: UW-Extension

How did these get here and how do they spread?

Buckthorn was introduced into North America as ornamentals, planted as hedgerows and shelter belts during the 1800s. 

Buckthorn invades woodlands, savannas, prairies, abandoned fields, marshes, wetlands and roadsides, capable of growing in full sun and dense shade. They are fast growing woody perennials and if not controlled they can and will spread quickly. Forest understories can become so dense that native species of wild flowers and woody regeneration cannot compete and eventually disappear. 

(Photo by UW-Extension)

Get outside and share with us your best autumn scenery photo. Enter our contest by uploading your favorite photo to our Facebook page. We’ll compile all entries into an album and fans will then vote on their favorite. The image with the most likes at the end of the voting period will receive a $25 Mills Fleet Farm gift card!

To enter our fall Facebook photo contest:

  1. Like Kretz Lumber Company's Facebook page.

  2. Post your submission to our page by 11:59 pm CST on October 15, 2017.
    Only one photo/submission per person. All photos submitted must be your personal images and cannot be purchased or copyrighted. Image must have been taken in Wisconsin.

  3. We’ll add all submissions to a Facebook photo album on October 16. Kretz Lumber Company Facebook fans can then vote by liking their favorite image in the official album through October 22. The picture with the most likes as of 11:59 pm CST on October 22, 2017 will win one $25 Mill’s Fleet Farm gift card.

Enjoy the outdoors and good luck!

Hard work, exceptional quality, outstanding results. Our team of employee owners takes this motto to heart. We work hard every day to satisfy our customers and have become one of the leading brands in the hardwood lumber industry. We are constantly learning and striving to not only improve our pay and benefits but also enhance our service to customers, manufacturing processes, and contributions to the community.

All of our employee owners take pride in a job well done. Being employee owned, everyone cares about details that contribute to profits. This allows us to offer a bonus and incentive system that rewards our fast paced environment.

We offer a competitive base pay system. In addition to the wage structure, we have a paid health insurance program (80% of your premium). We also offer a 401K program and an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) that contributes to a retirement account in all of our employees’ names. The success and effectiveness of our work, each day, affects the amount of contribution to the ESOP retirement accounts.

Other benefits include paid dental insurance, short and long-term disability, a section 125 plan (flex spending account), and life insurance through our group health plan.

There are ancillary benefits that are measured here at Kretz Lumber as well. We have an OSHA mod rate that is year over year, less than 1. This means that we have a safety record that is better than our industry peers. Also, we have an employee turnover rate that is 3.44% compared to the national average that was 17.8% (2016). 

By: Al Koeppel, Forester, Kretz Lumber Company

Whether you take a very active land management approach, or are just starting to think about it, there are a number of strategies you can use to increase the yield of your hardwood stand. Here are four tips you should consider as you think about increasing your forest yield.

Volume and Value

When we talk about increasing yield, we need to consider volume and value. Let’s start with volume. Take any tree in a well managed forest and as you chart its growth, it will generally follow a typical bell shaped curve. We call this “mean annual increment” or MAI. Consider a red pine planted as a seedling. During those first few decades, it experiences a lot of growth. At around age 60, it starts slowing up on volume growth. The tree will continue to put growth on as it will typically live to 150+ yrs. old, but the volume growth per year will slow down.

Now, let’s look at this same red pine and take into consideration its value growth. Do you think that its value growth, or what I like to refer to as economic growth, is the same as MAI? That would be a somewhat typical assumption. The lion’s share of the time this is not the case though. As the tree grows in size and increases its merchantable volume, it also increases in grade. 

Grow high quality trees

Seems like a no brainer, but there is a lot that goes into determining the quality of a tree. Trees are sold by product classes. Wood product classes are based on two major factors: defects and diameter. Our red pine example is generally classified as pulpwood, the lowest valued wood. If no defects are visible, then the diameter of the tree will determine what product class the tree falls into. 

  • Product classes for red pine = pulp, bolts, utility poles
  • Product classes for hardwood = pulp, bolts, sawlogs, veneer logs
Tuesday, 11 July 2017 05:18

Discovering antique Nahma timber maps

By: Charley MacIntosh, Kretz Lumber Company Forester

The town of Nahma Michigan is a very historic and unique lumber town located on Big Bay DeNoc Lake Michigan in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Isaac Stephenson was the first land looker in the area traveling from Oconto. He found enough timber with great river access to start a sawmill on the Sturgeon River. Sturgeon means Nahma in Chippewa. This was 1850 era. Land was purchased from the US government for $1.25/acre. As the years went by BayDeNoc Company built the town of Nahma and purchased many thousands of acres of land. They came north from Oconto (Oconto Company) after depleting the resource there. The company, now BayDeNoc Company, cut their first board in 1881 and had a great run until 1951, where again, the resource was depleted.

My wife and I purchased the old company hotel (Nahma Inn) in 2008. Two years later we bought the old general store mostly for storage, although there was quite a bit of old inventory from back in the days that sparked my interest. Excited to discover all the old items, I came across a box of what seemed to be paper that was going to get discarded. After further review I saw some color and writing. These were all the old company timber maps. Being a forester I was totally excited to see these. They are very accurate and depicted. There are a little over 200, each having their own section. Most were cruised 1895-1896. Each map and cruise was signed and dated by Webster Marble. Webster was a sought after forester and land looker back in the day. Webster put together a survival kit for foresters, trappers and anyone else that would spend countless days and nights out in the woods. The survival kit that Webster had put together took off like wildfire, in fact so much, he started a company to make these kits. This company is called Marble Arms, which is now based in Delta County. Their business makes highly collectable hatchets, knives and gun sights and are known globally. 

Thursday, 06 July 2017 14:44

Wisconsin Summer Facebook Photo Contest

Submit your best Wisconsin summer photo!

Get outside and share with us your best summer scenery photo. Enter our contest by uploading your favorite photo to our Facebook page. We’ll compile all entries into an album and fans will then vote on their favorite. The image with the most likes at the end of the voting period will receive a $25 Mills Fleet Farm gift card!

To enter our summer Facebook photo contest:

  1. Like Kretz Lumber Company's Facebook page.

  2. Post your submission to our page by 11:59 pm CST on August 6, 2017.
    Only one photo/submission per person. Any photo submitted must be your personal image and cannot be purchased or copyrighted. Image must have been taken in Wisconsin.

  3. All submissions will be added to a Facebook photo album on August 7. Kretz Lumber Facebook fans can then vote by liking their favorite image through August 18. The picture with the most likes as of 11:59 pm CST on August 18 will win one $25 Fleet Farm gift card.

  4. Enjoy the great outdoors and good luck!

Submit your best Wisconsin spring photo!

Get outside and share with us your best spring scenery photo. Enter our contest by uploading your favorite photo to our Facebook page. We’ll compile all entries into an album and fans will then vote on their favorite. The image with the most likes at the end of the voting period will receive a $25 Mills Fleet Farm gift card!

To enter our contest:

  1. Like Kretz Lumber Company's Facebook page.

  2. Post your submission to our page by 11:59 pm CST on May 7, 2017.
    Only one photo submission per person. All photos submitted must be your personal images and cannot be purchased or copyrighted. Image must have been taken in Wisconsin.

  3. All submissions will be added to a Facebook photo album May 8, 2017 and then voted on by Kretz Lumber Facebook fans through May 19, 2017. The picture with the most likes as of 11:59 pm CST on May 19 will win one $25 Fleet Farm gift card. We will announce the winner Saturday, May 20.

  4. Enjoy the great outdoors and good luck!

Earth Day Seedling Giveaway at Kretz Lumber

Let’s celebrate Earth Day on April 22 by planting trees all over central Wisconsin!

In the spirit of Earth Day and our commitment to being good stewards of the land, we’d like to give you a free seedling to plant on your property. We’ll be handing out the seedlings to anyone who stops at our main office in Antigo on April 19 or 20.

To claim your free seedling, stop by our Antigo location on either of the following dates:

We’ll have the seedlings ready and waiting in our reception area. Help yourself!

Please note: Given the nature of the live seedlings, we will not be able to ship them. Giveaway only available to individuals who are able to pickup in person on April 19-20, 2017 from our Antigo, Wisconsin office. One seedling per person, limited to the first 50 people. Kretz Lumber Company reserves the right to change or cancel this giveaway at any time.

LoggersIn order to do our jobs well, we rely on a lot of different professionals while working in the woods. From loggers, haulers, excavators and more, we pride ourselves on working with some of the best in the business. Not only do great partners make our jobs a little easier, but they also help us meet our customer’s goals, which is our main priority when working in your woods. 

In this Q&A, we get to know Rickert’s Excavating Company, based out of Birnamwood, WI. They provide logging and excavating services to individuals throughout Central and Northeastern Wisconsin. We’ve worked with them for over four years and are grateful to have such experienced loggers in the woods with us. 

Thursday, 13 April 2017 10:44

Utilizing cut backs to improve log value

Improving log value

It’s no secret that tree cutting strategies play a big role in the log’s ultimate value. But unless you spend your days in the woods around loggers, you may not know some of the strategies we use to cut trees to their highest value. Here are a few examples:

This first image shows blocks that were cut from the end of the tree. By cutting these blocks, this particular log lost volume, however, its grade was improved. With that grade jump, the overall value of the log increased. Should the log have been cut shorter to begin with? It may have been miss cut because of the flair or bulge on the bottom left side of the butted piece. But by removing those blocks, even though volume was decreased, the grade improved, and consequently, its value.  

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