Planting trees for timber and other

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cast iron, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    My wife and I own 13 rural acres in sw Washington. These are two adjacent parcels, one 5 acres in pasture, and the second 8 acres is a patch work of heavy vegetation, small stands of trees, springs, peat bog, pasture etc.

    We are going to purchase about 500 trees to plant. Some on the 5 acres as a screen from the road. Most on the 8 acres, some for screen from the road, some scattered around etc. We might apply for a open space tax deferral on the 8 using the timber deferral available. You must have at least 5 or the 8 in "timber" to qualify for this deferral. New plants should be 10" apart. We may or may not apply for the exemption. We would like to build on the 8 within the next 8 years or so. So it may not be worth applying for the exemption.

    At any rate, the trees we are ordering are some noble fir, austrian pine, douglas fir, and western red cedar. When offered we plan to order the taller versions vs the little plugs. We are absentee owners and are hoping the taller plant will be less likely to get mowed over when we do brush hog the property periodically.

    Anybody have experience with these type of trees? I like fast growing, dense, all green all the time type trees. How should we go about planting them? I was told a pick axe... a pick axe for 500 trees??? Seems like we should brush hog down much of the overgrowth to clear spots for the trees? What about using some round-up after the brush hog to flatten out the area for planting. Waiting whatever time period necessary after spraying and before planting of course.

    Wayne
     
  2. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    In Missouri the Conservation Department has a wonderful forestry program. We can purchase most of the trees and shrubs 25 to a bundle for $7. Great deal for us and they have seminars before trees are shipped to instruct you on the methods for preparation and survival. The conservation department also has a tree planter they will rent for $15 a day for those folks who intend to plant 100's of trees like yourself.

    So...I would first check on-line with your state convservation department. If you are unable to find anything on-line...contact a local office as they can provide a wealth of information to you.

    We order about 50-60 trees every year. Mostly the 2yr old pecan and black walnut, persimmon, and oak trees. The older ones are 30-36" tall and seem to do much better. As for red cedar....we have them growing wild on our farm...we simply transplant them every spring to add to wind break and a natural screen along the gravel road. They are very hearty...they thrive in the worst types of soil!

    Good Luck...I don't envy anyone planting 500 seedlings....it's back breaking work. Last year I used a tool for planting flower bulbs. It's mounted on a steel rod and digs just the right depth hole. Have fun....and plant as early as you can :dance:
     

  3. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Wayne,

    For planting you will want a tool called a planting bar (not a pickaxe). Ten inches (10") seems a might close together. Ten feet sounds more like it. With pines/firs (conifers in general) I'd consider planting the rows a bit wider so that you can get between them with a vehicle (tractor/atv). Along the rows 10 foot spacing would probably be good. You want to make sure you can get through with your brushhog without damaging the plants.

    What I like to do is put t-posts at either end of the row and run twine above where I want to plant. Mark your planting spots with little flags on wire. If you were planting more than 500 I wouldn't recommend this approach. It works well for smaller plantings.

    Before doing anything, check with your county agent. Depending on your state you may be able to get a state forester in for free to give you advice. There may be a waiting period because of demand (In my area the foresters are backlogged about 6 months or so.

    Hope this helps.

    Mike
     
  4. kate

    kate Well-Known Member

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    wayne, i am here in sw wa. the trees that have just impressed me to no end are the leland cypress. they are using these exclusively as screens. they are amazing they grow very fast and are evergreen. i go by homes that have effective screens in two to three years. i have planted trees for years and used to work at a govt. tree nursery, trees are among my favorite things. i have already planted a hundred or so on this place. it is wise to plant trees as your screens on the property the very first thing you do. noble fir, grow slow and are not effective as fast growing screen type trees. make nice xmas trees, though.your questions require long answers.
    kate
     
  5. Phil - MO

    Phil - MO Active Member

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    The suggestion to have a State Forester give you ideas is good if you have the time to wait for him. Maybe you could stop by their office and talk to them about your area.

    I had a state forester look over my saw log timber, and while he was there I asked why I keep losing all my fruit trees. I lose over half of what I plant. It seems I need to water for the first couple of years (hard to do if you don't live on site) and he said the fescue hay was killing the fruit trees. He said clear a 3 or 4 ft. circle around the tree (put a stove pipe around tree) by spraying with roundup. I guess I'll carefully try that this spring. I didn't think to ask what strength to mix the roundup. Between the deer and the grass killing fruit trees, I am loosing ground, not to mention several hundred dollars.

    I tried about 200 of the Missouri bare root trees from the conservation dept. In my rocky ground I gave up trying to dig holes and used a sub soiler behind the tractor and heeling in. Didn't work too good. Between the dry weather and the cows eating them I think I got about a half dozen trees. You have to be a Missouri landowner to get these trees.

    Good luck.
     
  6. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I would love to have Austrian Pine grow here. I'm in zone 2, N. Ontario.
    I planted nearly 3,000 tree transplants that wer 2 to 3 years old. The source from the forestry for this area included Red Pine and White Spruce. On soggy ground the Red Pine grow slower than on drained and exposed on the north or west side. The white spruce grows well with less exacting conditions. After 12 years the trees average about 15' in height.
    I planted Austrain Pine and they failed to thrive. Also near the house where it's sheltered the norway spruce grow, but not out in the open.
    The nursery stock I bought to plant included French variety of scotch pine. It thrives, but not as fast growing as white spruce. It's about the same with growth as red pine. Jack Pine grows the fastest, but it' not the most attractive tree in the bunch.
    Start, if you can, with 2 year transplants in early spring. You can get slow release fertilizer tab into a hole nearby where you insert the transplant or seedling on the planting site, to help it along will last about the first 2 years and let the tree go on it's own after that.
    You might also consider cedars that would grow in your area. Nice smelling and have spreading green foilage, but they'll attact deer. White pine is also nice if it will grow in your area. I would try Norway Spruce where you are. It's a beautiful weeping branch variety that would be a gorgeous compliment to your Austrian Pine.
    Good Luck.
     
  7. Critter183

    Critter183 Well-Known Member

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    Makign deals with government is liking making a deal with the devil. Be very wary. You may save some money, but you may also invite unwelcomed regulation of your land.

    I'm inclined to plant only trees that will provide some kind of fruit or wood for heat. I do believe that someday not too far off, we will all need to live off of our land.
     
  8. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    Eh, 500 is nothing, I've probably planted 2000 myself. A couple years ago, dad bought 5000 trees to plant. :no: The first 50 were kind of fun, hey I like growing stuff, but after a while it just kind of became a new form of torture.

    As far as what to use to dig the hole. A pick axe will not work unless you wish you kill yourself. Your supposed to use a dibble, but we could never find one. What we used that worked quite well was an iron bar. It was a long heavy somewhat sharpened iron bar. Someone (insert male here) throws it strait down into the ground once or twice until it goes deep enough, then pull it around to form a hole shaped like an upside-down cone. Then the planter has a regular (sturdy!) dowel. They place the tree at the proper level with one hand, and use the other hand with the dowel to squish the side of the hole over on the roots to plant the tree. Then you usually give the ground there a little stomp to help settle it. The most important part is to make sure the tap root points down.

    No need for pesticides, bushhog, yes.

    After asking dad what to call the tool we used to dig the hole (he didn't really know either, everyone just calls it an iron bar) he says we need to get 5000 more trees this spring. Someone help me.
     
  9. Critter183

    Critter183 Well-Known Member

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    I call mine my "impliment of destruction" since I have used it for many different things including prying, as a lever to move heavy logs, planting a mail box and a flag pole. Very useful tool indeed, and I'm sure great for planting bulk saplings.
     
  10. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    The state of WA probably has more interest in forestry than any other. They even have a state Forestry Dept. One can also get low-cost trees from them. They even can advise on how to plant. I don't know any more about that, but a phone call to Olympia would be helpful.

    They use a tool that looks like a small pulaski, and make a sort of three step plant and move on. Trees in the left hand, tool in the right, whap, whap, whap, move on. Find an old logger type and he can probably tell you lots. If you are in SW WA, that is the heart of forestry. Weyerhauser between Seattle and Tacoma would also have advice.
     
  11. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    If that's the same tree planting tool I have it's a real back and timesaver.
    The business end is a solid wedge shape with a foothold on the side. You push with one foot, wiggle it to form a wedge shaped 'hole' and pop in the transplant. Move the tool about 6" parallel to the hole made with the transplant in it, and push up against the roots and plop in the slow release fertilizer tab in that second hole and stomp to cover as you move to the next spot, and so on.
    Easily, you can plant 1000 trees in the course of a morning if you get up early, and then the heat and blackflies won't get ya as bad. The next few hundred you can do the next morning until your done. The transplants are stored cool and wet so as you can take some time to get the job done over a few days. :D
     
  12. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    Have you done much planting in Western Washington? Do you really mean 10 inches or 10 feet? I don't have experience in planting a total forest, but I move alot of trees. I could plant a stick in the ground here and it would grow! I would go with the bare root versions myself, wait till the rains come in fall, open up a slot in the soil and stick in the tree, end of story. PLEASE don't plant them in straight rows if you want them for anything other than Christmas trees... Just my opinion but those forests with trees all in straight rows give me the creeps. :haha: I was told to fertilize twice a year to start for Christmas trees. Noble firs grow slow but they are pretty. Cedars have shallow roots. Doug firs are your fast growing work horse type of trees. I have a few pines around here about 12 years old - they don't grow as fast as the firs and they planted them in those dang straight rows so I am not too impressed. I have an acre that was logged about a dozen years ago and it seems to be growing it's own crop of trees just fine. Matter of fact, I need to do some thinning so if you are interested drop me a note.

     
  13. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We're having 9000 (yep, NINE THOUSAND) trees planted on a 33 acre plot. We signed up with the Soil Conservation Office for a program to reclaim wetlands. We're planting hardwoods. We had to prep the area by either mowing, burning, or using chemicals. We chose to mow.
     
  14. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the replies folks. The spacing is 10' not 10" as you have pointed out. When I priced the tress in lots of 100 from a commercial supplier they were much (sometimes 50%) less expensive then the conservation people. My mil has a florist shop on her place (next to our acreage) and I will have the trees shipped to her so she can place them in her big commercial refrigerators. At least until we can get down there to plant them.

    The noble firs are for Christmas trees. We currently cut our Christmas trees off this acreage, so we would like to plant some more for the future.

    Sounds like I need to get one of these tree planting tools you speak of. I was kind of hoping that you would say there was a powered version.:) I have a pretty bad back so I hope I can space the planting out over several weekends without too much problems. I was also thinking I could get some knee pads and shuffle along on my knees instead of constantly stooping over.

    Kate,
    I'm trying to check out the leland cypress but am not finding it on either the conservation list or the commercial place. I just did a google search on it and it looks like a really nice tree. I have definitely seen these around here. I find it odd that it is not on the lists.[shrug]

    Wayne
     
  15. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Wayne,

    There are tow behind (tractor) planters but I think for 500 seedlings that would be overkill. You could always check with your local SWCD (Soil and Water Conservation District) to see if they have any equipment you can rent.

    If the bending down is a problem, rent yourself a younker (youngster) from a neighbor or friend for the morning/day to help out. The $50-$75 would be well worth it and they get some extra pocket money. Feed them a good breakfst/lunch and everyone is happy.

    Mike
     
  16. kate

    kate Well-Known Member

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    wayne, i will do some checking around here to some of the owners who have planted these to find out where they got them. kate
     
  17. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We've planted 10 Leland Cypress trees so far...got them from Lowe's. The great thing about the Leland is you can take branches from one tree and they will grow. So one tree could result in 50+ trees and they grow fast. They make terrific Christmas trees too.
     
  18. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    This reminds me of what you can do once you establish trees you want to harvest for xmas trees. When ready, cut the tree above the first bottom branch. Leaving that branch with the small stump should grow upwards and into a 'new' tree if fewer years than if you havested the tree and replanted. It worked for me once also in saving a white pine that was damaged so I cut it down to that first low branch about 10 years ago. It's now a tree in nice shap that is about 10 ft. tall. (white pine would grow much slower than this from a seedlign stage).
     
  19. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My parents taught us that. We always cut a cedar for Christmas and left a limb to grow a new tree.

    Any limbs that are trimmed off a Leland Cypress can be stuck into the ground to grow another tree.
     
  20. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    Good idea, I should have thought of that as it was right in front of my face. I could pay my 15 year old son and his 16 year old cousin (lives down there) to plant all these in one day. I'll just walk around and spray paint on the ground where I want the trees planted.;)

    Trying to decide which of the listed trees would be best for screening from the road/neighbors house.
    Doug fir
    Austrian pine
    noble fir
    Leland cypress (if I can find some for sale somewhere)

    On the 5 acres we have a bunch of doug fir planted as screens from the road. They work "ok" except that they are tall and skinny and the lower parts of the tree (8' and lower) are beginning to be devoid of branches. This of course severely diminishes the effectiveness of the screen as now the only thing making a screen is the body of the tree. This may be a case of not thinning out properly during growth though.

    Would like an evergreen for the screens that had wide, thick growth at/near the base of the tree.

    Wayne