Friday, 09 March 2018 09:52

What happens when trees get too big?

Kretz Lumber Company, joined by landowner and logger Rick Peters, head out to the woods of Wisconsin's Shawano County to discuss economic and physiological challenges that can occur when growing large diameter trees.

In order to answer what makes a log a veneer grade log, let’s first define what veneer is. Most people understand what lumber is (logs that are sawn into boards which are generally 1 or 2 inches thick and 4 to 10 inches wide). Veneer on the other hand is produced when logs are put on a lathe and long continuous sheets of wood are peeled off. These sheets of wood are generally around 1/42 of an inch thick for hardwood. Plywood (which you see sold at retail lumber yards) is actually sheets of veneer glued together. Hardwood doors and furniture are generally made from veneer.

Now we will get to the question. Defects are what determine whether or not a log is graded as a veneer log. Knots is one form of defect. A knot is created when limbs prune off and the tree grows additional wood over the area. Knots can fall out of the sheets of veneer during production and they can be a visual deformity. Seams are a major defect, which cause the sheets of veneer to break and come apart. Other defects include bird peck, gum, ring shake, insect damage, color and mineral. Another criteria for veneer logs is diameter and length. Logs that are too small or logs that are too big in diameter affect grade and quality. Logs that are 12 inches in diameter or larger is a common size that is utilized in veneer mills. Logs that are over 30 inches in diameter are generally not desirable because there are limitations to the size of logs that a lathe can handle.

During the autumn months the leaves on deciduous trees turn colors and soon thereafter fall from the tree. But have you noticed that some species retain their leaves until spring? In central Wisconsin this is most common on oak and beech trees. The term for this leaf retention phenomenon is called marcescence, which basically means “hold on to stuff”. On a tree that loses it leaves such as maple, when the nights get longer and the days get shorter, the cells at the junction of the leaf and twig start to divide. This forms a layer of cells that slowly block the transport of carbohydrates from the leaf and nutrients from the twig. Ultimately killing the leaf and severing it from the twig. Ecologists have yet to figure out the exact reason that some species retain their leaves. With this lack of scientific evidence brings on some interesting theories and speculation to why this occurs.

Dry infertile sites are where we commonly find oak and beech trees. These soil conditions may play a role in why leaf retention is important to these species. Retaining leaves until spring would definitely slow the decomposition and would increase the organic material on the forest floor during the growing season for the parent tree. This could give that tree a competitive advantage on poor sites by increasing nutrition and retaining moisture on the forest floor. 

Submit your best Wisconsin winter photo!

Get outside and share with us your best Wisconsin winter 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 January 31, 2018.
    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 February 1 and then voted on by Kretz Lumber Facebook fans through February 7, 2018. The picture with the most likes as of 11:59 pm CST on February 7, 2018 will win one $25 Fleet Farm gift card.

  4. Enjoy the great outdoors and good luck!
Friday, 08 December 2017 11:49

Kretz Score for Charity

Kretz Lumber Company is tying Red Robin athletic success to charitable donations throughout the community.

For the remainder of the winter sports season, the hardwood lumber manufacturer will select a weekly local charity, and make a monetary contribution based on the play of Antigo’s varsity teams during that week’s home contest. The company will donate $5 for each:

  • Three point shot made (boys/girls basketball)
  • Each goal scored (boys/girls hockey)
  • Each individual win (wrestling)
  • Each 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place event finish (gymnastics)
  • Each 1st and 2nd place event finish (boys swimming)

“Our company is very team orientated, with many of our employees former Red Robin students and athletes,” commented company president Troy Brown. “We figured this was a unique way we could show our community pride, while supporting our local high school teams and student athletes, all the while helping some of our great local causes.”

"We chose the winter sports season because it’s the longest, and has the most teams competing," continued Brown. "We're hoping by highlighting home contest in these sports, we may encourage more fan support as well. We are planning on making this a recurring yearly commitment.”

Local charities selected by Kretz include: The Giving Tree of Langlade County, Langlade County Humane Society, Avail, Antigo Community Food Pantry, Boys and Girls Club of Langlade County, Antigo High School Athletics, WeekEnd Backpack Program (WEB), Habitat for Humanity of Langlade County, and Langlade County 4-H. A $100 minimum donation will be made to each cause.

The gun deer season is here and it's time to get out in the woods and bag the biggest buck! Enter the 2017 Kretz Lumber Company’s Big Buck Contest and you could win more than just bragging rights. Every entrant has a chance to win!

There are two ways to win:

  1. Biggest Buck: $50 Fleet Farm gift card
  2. Wild Card: $25 Fleet Farm gift card (One winner will be randomly selected from all eligible contest entries.)

To enter our contest, follow these three simple steps:

  1. Like Kretz Lumber Company's Facebook page

  2. Bag your buck and post a picture on our Facebook page by 11:59 pm CST on 11/27/17.

    All photos submitted must be bucks taken during the 2017 Wisconsin rifle season and shot in one of the following counties: Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Shawano, Menominee, Forest, Oconto, Portage, or Waupaca. No other submissions will be accepted.

  3. With your submission, include your score. To determine your score, use this formula: 1 point per inch of inside spread + 1 point per “point” number of antlers 1” and longer = Total Points

An example: 

  • Inside spread = 15 inches 
  • Eight 1-inch “points”
  • 15+8 = Total score of 23

We are using a complete honor system. Kretz Lumber Company reserves the right to disqualify any entries suspected of cheating.

We will announce the winners the week of November 27, 2017 on our Facebook page.

Good luck and have a safe hunt!

This contest is in no way sponsored or administered by Facebook.

One of the greatest threats to Wisconsin forests is spreading rapidly and some experts consider it more destructive and dangerous than oak wilt, dutch elm and emerald ash borer combined. Invasive species garlic mustard and buckthorn are decimating forests and forestry experts say many landowners and outdoor enthusiasts aren’t familiar with the plants. In order to change that, leaders are hosting a free program for anyone interested in learning how to identify and treat these forest killers. 

“This is the greatest threat to our northern Wisconsin forest since the Peshtigo fire,” stated Dennis Fincher, Kretz Lumber Company Forester. “The growth of garlic mustard and buckthorn is exploding rapidly. The horror stories are beginning, yet many landowners don’t know how to identify these plants or what to do if they find them on their property.”

To raise awareness and educate the public, leaders from Kretz Lumber Company and the Department of Natural Resources are presenting a free program to teach residents how to identify and treat garlic mustard and buckthorn. The invasive species program will be held on Thursday, November 2 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Langlade County Fairgrounds Multipurpose Building, 1635 Neva Road, Antigo. Anyone with questions can call Dennis Fincher, Kretz Lumber Company Forester, at 715-493-4041 or Travis Larson, Department of Natural Resources, at 715-623-4190.

The program is sponsored by Kretz Lumber Company, the Department of Natural Resources, Langlade County Forestry, and Verso Paper.

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). 

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