In the article I wrote in the last newsletter, I discussed how a forester knows which trees to mark in a forest’s hardwood stand. One of my main points was that we manage a hardwood stand similar to that of a backyard garden. We mark trees for harvest that are the weed trees, allowing the good quality, healthiest and best formed trees, which forester’s call crop trees (or the vegetables in this example), to grow at their fastest rates over the life of the tree. Growing trees at their fastest rates is an important part of forestry and economics. The above actions are what most people call thinning a woodlot.
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I have been assisting landowners with the management of their woodlots for over 25 years. As foresters at Kretz Lumber Co. Inc., we spend most of our time within northern hardwood stands marking timber for harvest and setting up timber sales for the landowners we serve. We do this while producing timber products that are used in our industry as well as sawlogs for our hardwood sawmill located in Antigo, WI. We also harvest other timber types but for the context of this article, I am going to keep the focus on northern hardwood thinnings.
In my initial meeting with woodland owners I have been asked many times, “How do you know which trees to mark for harvest within a thinning of a woodlot?” I answer this by first asking them, what are your objectives and goals for your woodlot? Is it good forest management, wildlife viewing, hunting wildlife, income, recreation, or something else? By knowing the landowner’s goals, I am able to gel these goals within the setup of the timber sale and what trees to mark or not mark.
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It has been an interesting winter given we haven’t had the below zero cold temperatures we are generally accustomed to seeing by this time of the year. (Sounds like that may be changing later this week though.) With the weather we’ve had, we don’t have enough frost to do a lot of our winter logging just yet. Lack of snow has been great because it has made it easy to get through the woods, but now we need some cold to push the frost down into the ground.
Get to know our new Forester, Blake Persha!
I love the outdoors and have always been interested in anything related to it, so forestry seemed like a natural fit. Plus, my Dad has been in the industry my entire life so I was introduced to forestry at a young age. As a child, it had always been a job I was interested in having when I got older.
I started in mid-December and I have to say I really enjoy meeting and working with landowners. I also love getting to explore the forests around here. No two woodlots are the same and it’s always interesting to talk with landowners and learn about the history of their land.
A lot of people ask me about what what I would do to manage a property best for deer hunting. The answer really varies based on the property, but a few common strategies I generally recommend are: 1) encourage oak regeneration; 2) create bedding habitat and travel corridors; and 3) ensure good food sources are available. Being a hunter myself, I understand the passion a lot of these landowners have. Ultimately, the individual should create a land management plan of some sort and then work with a forester to implement the plan to best meet the landowner’s goals.
If you have forestry related questions you'd like to ask Blake personally, you can reach him by phone at 1-800-352-1438 or contact him using this form.
The gun deer season is here and it's time to get out in the woods and bag the biggest buck! Enter the 2020 Kretz Lumber Company’s Big Buck Contest and you could win more than just bragging rights. Every entrant has a chance to win!
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Winners will be announced on our Facebook page the week of November 30th.
Good luck and have a safe hunt!
As we anticipate the snow to start flying, we begin to prepare our winter logging grounds, getting them prepped and ready by opening roads and log landings. Winter is a very important time of the year for logging as we try to ensure we acquire enough logs to carry the mill through spring break up. During the springtime roads get posted with lower haul limits and very little logging takes place so we need to plan accordingly.
Winter logging in low wet areas is dependent on the amount of cold weather we get before the snow. Loggers use equipment to drive frost into the ground so their forwarders and log trucks have stable roads to run on throughout the winter. If they can’t get the frost in the ground, they risk the likelihood of rutting the roads and accumulating standing water in the ruts, which will prevent the roads from becoming solid. A technique loggers will use on skid trails in the woods is to lay brush and tree tops down in front of the machines creating what is called a slash mat. This technique helps keep the equipment up and reduces the risk of rutting.
Typically more logging occurs in the winter time than any other time of the year. This is due to more available people because they have other jobs the rest of the year (construction workers, landscapers etc.). Also in the winter you have the opportunity to harvest in all timber and soil types, which gives access to many more acres of timber.
Another summer has come and gone. Each year it seems to go by a little quicker. Now fall is here and it is time to enjoy our annual blessing of fall colors. I picked a great day to mark timber today, as the colors are in full swing. This particular property I was marking has been intensively managed over the years and is producing beautiful timber. The landowner has taken great care of his roads and landing areas, I did not observe a single invasive species throughout the property. The soil type is silt loam with a well-drained subsoil. The property has undulating contours, which has provided excellent drainage for the timber.
Some of the things we take into consideration as we are choosing which trees to retain for future growth and which to harvest within this particular property are:
As I was marking, each gust of wind showered me with golden leaves. Even the dark shadows under the hardwood canopy seemed to have an amber hue. It truly is a great time of year to be out in the woods. Seeing all of the colors brings back a memory made at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where I studied forestry. I remember during my freshman year a professor asking our lecture hall, “Why do leaves change color in the fall?” to which the lecture hall returned a series of blank stares. The answer to this question is that the chlorophyll within the leaves (shades of green) is breaking down. Days are becoming shorter, signaling to the tree that winter is on its way. The other three pigments within leaves are carotenoids (shades of orange), anthocyanins (shades of red), and xanthophylls (shades of yellow). Carotenoids are within the leaves for the entire growing season but are covered up by chlorophyll, while anthocyanins and xanthophylls are produced in the fall as a last ditch effort for the tree to garner any nutrients left in the leaves. Trees start coloring from the top down, being that the top of the tree is furthest from the root system from which nutrients (xylem) are being delivered. Hopefully you find this as interesting as I do, and are not saying, “Chlorophyll? More like bore-ophyll!”
When my day of marking was through, I was lucky enough to enjoy some apple brownies, one of my favorite fall recipes that my wife makes with apples from our yard. Perhaps you will enjoy them as much as we do. Give her recipe a try. Apple brownies are best enjoyed with a cup of coffee and a clear, crisp view of fall foliage. The foresters at Kretz Lumber wish you and your family a happy fall and a successful hunting season! Be sure to spend plenty of time in your forest.
Mix apples, sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, walnuts and chocolate chips. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Spread in a greased 9x13” pan. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Freezes very well.