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Big J

Advice on woodland planting

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10 hours ago, spuddog0507 said:

i think best thing to do is find simular sites in the area with same ground conditions  that are planted all ready and ask the land owner when they where planted and ascess the trees for size and quality and that should give the answer, and a perfect example of that is 2 farmers near to me planted about 6000 nordman fir (for christmas trees) one farm will be cutting some 4-6ft trees for next christmas the other farm will be 2-3 years of that and its just down to ground conditions,

A little further up the valley, but facing west and south is a similar banking with pine and spruce on it. Many of the spruce are suppressed and the pine is growing more quickly. I don't have any douglas fir nearby to compare to though.

 

10 hours ago, drinksloe said:

Duunno if relevant but when u head north up the A9 in scotland from the soaking wet SW where sitka does well on the drier soils/drier climate they seem to have some great straight stands of larch and even scots pine.

Doubtful if planting larch is a very good idea (althou if it cold survive PR until harvested might be worth a fortune) i ws on a small estatethe other day and a lot of 10-15 yr old larch were outgrowing the SS planted  at same time (althou larch now needing felled cause of PR)

 

There is no chance of planting larch as most of it in the area has been cleared due to PR. Likewise though, I've seen plenty of stands where the hybrid larch towers over the spruce.

 

1 hour ago, slack ma girdle said:

Get yourself a copy of this Jonathan, it is really really good1550300166386

 

I'm not able to open that Murray - do you have a link to a webpage perhaps? 

1 hour ago, Rough Hewn said:

Out on a limb here....
What about mixed planting?
Hardwoods and softwoods.
Plant a wide variety of species.
Selective thinning of pioneer trees after 20-25 years.
A beautiful woodland, rich in biodiversity, would produce a broad variety of products.
And would be great to walk through as it matures,
What would be better to leave for future generations?
Not just ****ing monoculture ecological desert.
Think beyond the £££
emoji106.png

 

The woodland would be bordering 130 acres of mixed broadleaf woodland owned by the National Trust, so they aren't too concerned about biodiversity. Having just worked the neighbouring woodland, with all of the issues with the terrain, I've recommended planting something that can be mechanically harvested. Good cutters are very hard to find and produce an expensive tonne on a site like that. Thinking 40 years ahead, I can only envisage that harvesting will be more and more mechanised and planting accordingly is prudent. 

 

Fundamentally, it's an investment with a required financial outcome so you have to plant pragmatically to optimise that. A stand of well managed douglas fir will still be better ecologically than a grazed field, and serves the purpose of being a carbon store.

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28 minutes ago, Rough Hewn said:

Plant walnut then.
emoji12.pngemoji106.png

Extremely valuable black walnut? 😁

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The woodland would be bordering 130 acres of mixed broadleaf woodland owned by the National Trust, so they aren't too concerned about biodiversity. Having just worked the neighbouring woodland, with all of the issues with the terrain, I've recommended planting something that can be mechanically harvested. Good cutters are very hard to find and produce an expensive tonne on a site like that. Thinking 40 years ahead, I can only envisage that harvesting will be more and more mechanised and planting accordingly is prudent. 
 
Fundamentally, it's an investment with a required financial outcome so you have to plant pragmatically to optimise that. A stand of well managed douglas fir will still be better ecologically than a grazed field, and serves the purpose of being a carbon store.
Try again20190216_070115.jpg
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An Ode to Spruce (Hugh Mackay 1965)

 

I can't accept the plant demands

The pines I must reduce

We'll have a walk along the moor

And look for ground for spruce

 

We saw the rocks we saw the stones

For pines its only use

It's better than it looks he said

I think we'll try some spruce

 

We saw the different kind of heath

On podsols tight and loose

He kicked them with his foot and said

It's good enough for spruce

 

What's underneath the unploughed land

It's harder to deduce

We thought Contorta would be safe

He said we'll risk some spruce

 

On better ground we pondered much

Our thoughts far from obtuse

We thought of larch and silver firs

He said we'll stick to spruce

 

On poorer ground we thought of pine

He said that's no excuse

If in doubt Contorta out

You're safer with the spruce

 

Beneath some birch or grassy slope

We thought we'd introduce

Some Grandis fir to make a change

He said what's wrong with spruce

 

We left the hill and headed home 

Our totals to produce

All others came to 1%

Leaving 99 for spruce

 

Or, if you would prefer a more scientific way of deciding what to plant 

https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/tools-to-support-forest-management-decisions/

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My thoughts would be that clay might be a bit heavy for Douglas?  Tend to think of Dougals growing in lighter soils.  Norway spruce?  Would Corsican pine grow?  Not totally sure of the CP, rarely see it round our way.  What about short rotation broadleaf?  Poplar?  Southern beech (Nothofagus)?  Eucalyptus?  All pretty much well out of my sphere of knowledge soils wise, but mostly pretty harvestable with a machine and you're pretty far into the tropical south down there.

 

The thinking down the road forty years is a difficult game to play, in 1979 few people would have imagined the technology available to us today.  I'd imagine in your part of the world that there is probably a big shortfall in softwood timber in the future so might be a good idea to plant some, but the flip side of that is that there might not be a ready market for it.

 

Experience would suggest that whatever you plant will sell if it's good stuff.  Keep it clean and straight, which is to say plant at the right density, keep the vermin out and weed and prune if necessary.  Even the best of timber species are just firewood if they've got a lot of poor form and rot in them.

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7 minutes ago, Spruce Pirate said:

My thoughts would be that clay might be a bit heavy for Douglas?  Tend to think of Dougals growing in lighter soils.  Norway spruce?  Would Corsican pine grow?  Not totally sure of the CP, rarely see it round our way.  What about short rotation broadleaf?  Poplar?  Southern beech (Nothofagus)?  Eucalyptus?  All pretty much well out of my sphere of knowledge soils wise, but mostly pretty harvestable with a machine and you're pretty far into the tropical south down there.

 

The thinking down the road forty years is a difficult game to play, in 1979 few people would have imagined the technology available to us today.  I'd imagine in your part of the world that there is probably a big shortfall in softwood timber in the future so might be a good idea to plant some, but the flip side of that is that there might not be a ready market for it.

 

Experience would suggest that whatever you plant will sell if it's good stuff.  Keep it clean and straight, which is to say plant at the right density, keep the vermin out and weed and prune if necessary.  Even the best of timber species are just firewood if they've got a lot of poor form and rot in them.

Good to hear your thoughts on this. 

 

My feeling is that due to the fairly steep terrain, it needs to be clean and straight enough for mechanical harvesting. We did discuss eucalyptus as the growth rates are extraordinary, but I'm unsure whether it would grow with sufficient good form. Additionally, the best that it will ever be is firewood and after 40 years, I'd hope that in a softwood plantation to have a significant proportion of millable timber, with the additional revenue that that brings.

 

My best advice to the landowners was to seek the advice of a professional forestry consultant as I don't know very much about planting.

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Big J said:

Good to hear your thoughts on this. 

 

My feeling is that due to the fairly steep terrain, it needs to be clean and straight enough for mechanical harvesting. We did discuss eucalyptus as the growth rates are extraordinary, but I'm unsure whether it would grow with sufficient good form. Additionally, the best that it will ever be is firewood and after 40 years, I'd hope that in a softwood plantation to have a significant proportion of millable timber, with the additional revenue that that brings.

 

My best advice to the landowners was to seek the advice of a professional forestry consultant as I don't know very much about planting.

 

 

I've seen some extremely clean harvestable Nothofagus round here, round about 100' after just over 30 years, not sure about millable timber from it though.  I'd guess it's a bit too fast to be strong?  From memory it was quite a good free draining soil too so maybe not ideal for you.

 

Don't discount Norway, the edgers might be pappy but it can produce some good timber too on the inside.  Stress grading similar to spruce (proper spruce that is - Sitka) so the sawmills like it.

 

Getting a proper consultant who knows the area is always going to be best as they'll know the local Woodland Officers and also what grants may be available.

 

As far as knowing about planting, it's pretty easy - green bit up, brown bit down.  Can't go wrong!

Edited by Spruce Pirate
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On 15/02/2019 at 19:50, Big J said:

I was having a nice chat with some friends this morning about woodland planting. They've just over 9 hectares that they'd like to plant on their farm, spread across three compartments.

 

The ground conditions and aspect are all pretty similar. Reasonably free draining clay on north east facing slopes, with an average incline of 1 in 4. It's land that's too steep to manage for haylage and grazing doesn't bring much income.

 

What they are keen to do is to provide a legacy for their children, so a fairly short rotation would be required. 40 years or so. We chatted about the possibilities of hardwood, but agreed that almost all options would take too long to become profitable. I suggested considering softwood plantation.

 

Now not knowing a huge amount about planting, I'm keen to pick your collective brains on it. I don't think that sitka would do well on the slope as it's too dry, but my very modest knowledge on the subject suggests that douglas might be a reasonable option. Planted on a 40 year rotation, with reasonably regular thinning should result in a good windfall when eventually harvested. I'd suggested softwoods simply because the market is strong, the uses diverse and it can be mechanically harvested, which is important on a steep slope. 

 

As ever, I'm grateful for any advice.

 

 

have a look on ESC (Ecological Site Classification), if you input location, soil moisture and a few other factors, it gives the suitability of various hard and softwood species. Its also possible to model how they would fare with climate change predictions. 

 

http://www.forestdss.org.uk/geoforestdss/ 

 

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