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steelskies

Sawmill after my trees. should I have them cut down and sell them?

8 years ago

We have l0 acres of woods. Consists of ash, various kinds of oak, beech, ironwood, basewood. We've been here 32 years and I don't think any of it has been harvested in the past. I had a private "logging" company come through and tag the trees they would like to take down and pay me for. They wanted to take down about l40 ash trees and said they would all be dead in a year anyway. Also mentioned "oak wilt" and said those too should come down. Some of those oaks must be at least l50 years old because they are BIG! How do I know about these diseases and what to do about selling those trees. I know I can hire an arborist to go through my l0 acres, but I think that cost a lot of $$$$! I know there are a few dead trees in this l0 acres, but I don't see a lot of dead ones. I think a few deads ones would be natural anyway? Any input would be much appreciated.

Also, the logger said when they are done, my l0 acres would look more like a park. but I worry that with that much opening and sunlight, the already existing (and dreaded) garlic mustard would spread like wildfire.

Comments (58)

  • 8 years ago

    DON'T do it! You would be heartsick at the destruction. A park, indeed! He should be horsewhipped for using those tactics with a landowner.

    Please contact an agency who can offer advice. Your state's DNR has an active Forestry Assistance division...click HERE for information.


  • 8 years ago

    Emerald Ash Borer will wipe out every ash in its path. If we are lucky we will figure something out before they are all gone east of the Mississippi. My wife is finalizing her public awareness campaign this week: Be a Smart Ash looks like the winning slogan.

    As far as logging goes, I agree with above. There's a chance that there is oak wilt, but the line they would all be dead in a year anyway is baloney. From the information provided, I'd pass.

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  • 8 years ago

    It surely won't look like any park I would like to visit. There is (some) money to be made from timber (I have an old poplar plantation which has recently been redesignated regarding timber values) but this is not something you should consider without much wider research...the trees need either clear-felling or very carefully targeted felled areas (prevailing winds etc.) with all the possible problems of access. I am with a few posters on this thread - the advice you have been given is evasive and even downright mendacious and has implications regarding soil structure, flooding, wildlife - the possible repercussions are enormous.

  • 8 years ago

    contact your local extension office .... and ask if ash can be harvested and moved ... in many places.. it cant be moved very far ... and i wonder if its legal, for whatever his end product is???


    ken

  • 8 years ago

    If the stand is old growth I would treasure it less than 1% of eastern old growth remains...you have something special

  • 8 years ago

    make sure you research or ask for references from the logging company. The more clean up they do the less money in your pocket. If they leave the tops of the trees, usually that means the more money for you, but if its going to look like a park, that is a lot more hours they have to work and billing you the whole time. They are not making money from the mills for the clean up.

  • 8 years ago

    Be prepared to be out there with them every day they log to avoid "mistakes".

    They likely could take the ash, but leave the oaks alone. Do you know what kind of oaks you have?

    Do no logging between April and July to protect the oaks from equipment damage during prime oak wilt susceptibility.

    Contact the Forestry Assistance division like rhizo suggested before any decision is made.

    tj

  • 8 years ago

    "the already existing (and dreaded) garlic mustard would spread like wildfire." Yes, it would, in addition to all the other cautions others have suggested. From experience working with good loggers, your lot won't look like a park. We manage some of our farm for timber, and even if the logging is done during winter when the ground is frozen, it won't look like a park at the end, and there will be many, many sprouting invasives that will need managing over the next several seasons.

    I'm suspicious that these guys might be akin to the ones that stop by my house and offer to pave my driveway while they just happen to be doing other paving in the neighborhood . . .

  • PRO
    8 years ago

    HMMM didn't know oak wilt was a big problem yet on the eastern side of the country. In my opionion with all the latest storms in the past years the lumber market is way down. I would hold your ground for awhile enjoy your trees and before oak wilt I would think you would see emerald ash borer first. If you have a healthy stand ENJOY

  • 8 years ago

    Yes, oak wilt is in Wisconsin. Hit the link.

    Map of oak wilt.

    tj

  • 8 years ago

    Having loggers decide which trees to be cut is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

    Mike

  • 8 years ago

    miketann: HAHA! I get the picture!

    Dan_staley: Pretty neat: "Be A Smart Ash"

    To All: by the way, I have plenty of BUCKTHORN already in my woods. I can imagine if they cut down a lot of my trees, this will surely take over even more. Horrible bushes that spread like wildfire. Its all over my fencelines, at edges of my woods, etc. HATE the stuff!!!!!


  • 8 years ago

    There is absolutely no way I would take the statements of a logger as gospel in any shape or form.

    I would most definitely hire an arborist before I let them come in and, oftentimes, simply slash and burn your property.

  • PRO
    8 years ago

    Thought it was Tennessee my bad

  • 8 years ago

    When I bought my 10 acres I went after the 'weed' trees and left the good ones. Loggers go at it in reverse for their benefit, not yours.

    Before any cutting commences, make sure the property lines are clearly defined. Loggers have been known to 'stray'.

    Mike

  • 8 years ago

    Decent chance Emerald Ash Borer will wipe out your ash. Oak wilt doesn't necessarily wipe out all the oaks in the area. Yes, even if he did make it "look like a park" the garlic mustard and other weeds would spring up unless you put a lot of effort into weeding.

  • 8 years ago

    The invasive stuff would worry me less than the chaos of tree stumps, churned ground and utter demoralising sight - just felling a dozen poplar to create a clearing was grief...but once the stumps were sorted, the extra light meant being able to put down native bents and fescues, vernal grass etc. and mow for weed control. Lots of naturalised bulbs in rough grass. And we had time to do this slowly and carefully - chopping, rolling, splitting, stacking, grinding, - no heavy plant dragging stuff about (no funds) but still, one tree at a time (for my own firewood) is quite enough for me to deal with.

  • 8 years ago

    By all means, contact your DNR or state division of forestry... they typically have a consulting forester who will come - often at no direct cost to you - and walk the property with you, identifying and assessing the health of your timber stand - and can help you develop a written timber stand management plan. They may also be able to provide a list of reputable loggers who have a track record of responsible timber harvest practices.

    It may be that SOME of your trees might be in decline and need to go, others not yet ready for harvest, some might benefit from limited harvest, opening the canopy, etc.

    Timber harvest is rarely accomplished without some significant impact to soil and other vegetation - it's rarely pretty - but this can be moderated if your logger follows best management practices. But...'looking like a park' when they're finished... not a chance.




  • 8 years ago

    I live in Central Texas in Oak Decline Central and there are many oaks all around us still alive and well. It hits in patches. none near me right now. Now if one goes out to Kerville and Fredricksberg, it is much worse..

  • 8 years ago

    If you want to sell your trees for their wood, look around for other buyers. I don't like the sound of that sawmill. Sound like a pack of bastards, telling you that your trees would be dead in a year. How dare they.

  • 8 years ago

    And yes, as someone above said, if you remove the protection that is currently there, some trees will suffer.

    Heck, maybe just enjoy the beautiful things. Money can't buy that.

  • 8 years ago

    Now I am really depressed and worried!!!!


    I just talked to an Arborist on the phone the other day; its a son of a friend of mine, and he perdicts all doom and gloom for my ten acre woods. I'm not kidding.


    He said my elms will all die soon because of the ash borer. He was responsible for telling our local government (village) to cut down a line of young ash trees lining one of our major streets. He also told me that to treat a 4" ash it would cost about $25 and I forgot if that was once a year or every 3 years. So I wonder why they wouldn't treat the trees instead of cut them down and then plant (with a tree spade--$$$$) new trees of a different kind.


    He did mentiion the oak wilt and that prognosis didn't sound good either. I asked him about sugar maples and he said there was no problem with those. HOWEVER, I have lost about 4 sugar maples in the last 7 or so years, with the limbs dying one at a time until the tree was dead. So I know there is SOMETING going on with my sugars. I hear its also some kind of fungus and cannot be treated. SOOOO I told him the ONLY trees I have lost in the last 5-7 years were sugar maples, not any elm or oak. (does he know what he's talking about????)


    I know I cannot afford to treat 140 of my ash that are in my woods, thats for sure. I have at least 3 ash in my yard, and they all look very healthy. I did read that the ash borer is in Wisconsin. I am in southeastern wisconsin.


    What to do?

  • 8 years ago

    Stop wringing your hands. Your ash trees may be the only trees in immediate danger and if they look ok, then there is time. I've seen a couple of maples drop dead around here as well (and not just poorly planted city trees) but nothing epidemic. Unless you really need the money, I'd do nothing with loggers right now. As I said above, the ash is all I'd log now if there was a need to log something.

    Did you ever find out what kind of oaks you have?

    tj

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Take a good deep breath, possibly two. Now, many abov e have given sound advice. These guys-the loggers- are the wrong party from which to receive info about the heath of your woods. EAB-emerald ash borer-is certainly active in your area. That comment alone may have merit, although as somebody above correctly stated, it is this very rush to eliminate all ash that could result in the inadvertent removal of the very individuals having some type of resistance to this insect. Secondly-and again, this has already been said-loggers by definition go after the high-value stuff, leaving your buckthorn and scrub trees behind. And you are correct that the buckthorn will happily fill in the gaps created by this tree removal operation. As to oak wilt, it moves slowly from a bullseye-an ever-expanding circle, but only within red oak group trees. White oak group trees are infected by this fungus but usually recover, so this fellow's comments were way overbroad. If there isn't an active pocket of oak wilt directly adjacent to your stand, it's not going to infect your trees, so long as a few simple precautions, easily found on the web, are followed.

    But where things go off the rails is when in seeking better advice, somebody started listing a litany of issues, which in fact can affect a wide range of tree species. That has erroneously left you with the thought that all your trees are doomed. That's just not how it works. Nature is far more resilient than that. If you can, get yet another opinion, from a conscientious timber cruiser, one who understands the varying goals of small woodland owners. One who understands that you want to improve the stand, not merely scalp it off for a few measley bucks.

    +oM

  • 8 years ago

    Thanks all. I have just talked to someone who worked as a forester for a big city for many years, now retired, and he will come out within the next few weeks to take a look at my tree stand. Also, the DNR representative is coming out too in a few weeks. However,both did sound pessimistic about the ash borer, although they said it might take l0-12 years for them to die, unless i treat them, which would not make sense since there are over l40 trees in this 10 acres. I'll let this forum know what these 2 individuals say about my situation. I can't stand the thought of buckthorn, garlic mustard, and teasel (now starting to invade areas) taking over my l0 acres of woods.


    No one seems to know about the wilt disease in sugar maples, but I['m pretty sure that's what it is. Fusarium wilt I think it is. I've lost 4 trees in the last few years around my yard, plus one is about half dead now, and I see 2 others that have limbs dying, which is what happened to the past trees that are now dead. Sugars are my very favorite tree. My family for generations made maple syrup, so I have a great fondness for them, plus their fall color is amazing.

  • 8 years ago

    I think its verticillium wilt in the maples. not fusarium

  • 8 years ago

    Agree-probably verticillium, if that's the actual problem. A photo or two, plenty of closeups of bark, foliage, base of trunk, etc. might really help us get closer on this situation with the maples. Show us the ones you think are sick. As far as ash, there was never any doubt the prognosis was not favorable there. A relative owns several acres in SE Wisconsin and while he is treating some trees, he doesn't think it reasonable-nor do I-to treat the several hundred ash present there. Another relative nearer to here has three trees only, is a hosta grower, and needs to keep his shade around if he can. So we'll treat them, probably with emamectin benzoate. That appears to offer a good three-year duration of protection. Doing a bunch of trees, I think you would want to try and scale the process up somehow, using extra containers of product all ready to go in a bucket or something, as much redundancy as possible. But like I said, we mostly felt as you do, that trying to treat all, or at least, all healthy ash trees, would be prohibitively expensive.

  • 8 years ago

    I remember a story about a turkey farmer, the guy had 1000 birds with not the greatest health. A friend of his offered to fix his flock. So he invited his friend over. The friend told him not to come in the barn because he wouldn't want to see what's going to happen. 6-8 hours later the friend came out and invited the farmer to help clean up. There were 3 birds left. Needless to say the farmer was quite upset. Some time goes by and the farmer realized no matter the loss or time taken to recover his flock is now significantly better than it ever was because of all of the weak traits being removed.


    my point is what's said before is true, some trees will have better response to disease and to just kill them all without knowing which is the carrier of the strong genes isn't good for the species.


    If you like your woods and don't want to trash it then don't, if nature takes your trees then oh well. At least the woods will have time to replace them one by one. That's a whole lot better than cutting out a hundred or more trees, having hundreds more ran over, and ending up with a woods that will just depress you.


  • 8 years ago

    Update:

    Here's the information I got from a DNR forester, who walked the l0 acres of woods with me the other week. She didn't see any signs of ash borer, but said that the ash borer is definitely in this area and I will probably lose all my ash trees within l0 years!!!! Very sad!!!! She suggested I contact a professional forester to go over the trees and decide which to cull. She of course said I have plenty of time. There is a treatment for this, but obviously I can't treat 140 trees! I still have to talk to another professional arborist (free informational visit) who will be coming soon.

    I sure enjoyed my walk in the woods and it was a perfect day for it. Saw plenty of turkey droppings, was in awe of some of my huge oak trees, and loved looking at the pretty gray beech tree bark and their yellowish/brown leaves which are still on the limbs.

  • 8 years ago

    Steelskies, I would leave your trees up, they are very close to really getting these bugs under control. 10 years is a long time, hold out as long as you can because the government is actively trying to wipe this problem out with an economical solution and they are very close according to bulletins that I've researched. Enjoy your woods, no need to rush

  • 8 years ago

    ...........and in the meantime, I hope you will investigate what species might be suitable for the site conditions-as replacements for the ash when they do go. For example, in the woods owned by a relative that I referenced above, we are already planting seedlings of swamp white oak, tamarack, paper birch, and some others where there's enough sunlight to allow for decent growth. Your choices may vary-I don't know where you are or have forgotten-but the point is, you and that DNR forester could rather quickly and easily come up with a plan for what happens next.

    And please-this is for all woodlot owners-don't despair if this or that tree type is threatened by some insect, disease, etc. In truth, all woodlands are in constant flux. We tend to see them as static places-"they're always the same" because our lives are too short to get the fuller truth that all is constant change. And trees do not grow slowly. Wait a minute, let me repeat that: Trees do not grow slowly! There, I feel better now, but it's an important concept to get into folks' heads-trees, especially in their youths-are programmed to grow quickly. Give a tree what it needs in terms of sunlight, moisture, and soil, and it will pop out of the ground with a vigor that has to be seen to be believed.

  • 8 years ago

    And in the meantime, start a little seedling nursery - there is no better use of a little nursery bed and some deep pots. For some bizarre reason, I forgot trees were a plant like any other...and only attempted sowing seeds as an amusing diversion...but it is completely addictive (and, more importantly) cheap.


  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Some of the farmers around here w/mountain woodlots have had loggers do "selective cutting" on their woodlots (using some kind of crazy-looking machine on tracks) and the result is somewhat amazing -- the "damage" done looks minimal w/plenty of smaller seed-trees left that are released to grow & also reseed the area. Recovery is quick. So it can be done. Other lots get clear-cut too, but even those areas recover quickly by stump sprouting of the trees that can do that -- oaks, hickories, tuliptrees, basswoods, red/sugar maples, blackgums, beech, cucumbertrees, ashes (but they're dying now), etc stump-sprout well (but native conifers here don't stump-sprout, except pitch-pine). Almost all the forests around me, which are healthy today, were previously clear-cut, ranging from 70-90 yrs ago to only 0-20 yrs ago.

  • 8 years ago

    Yes,a clearcut is not necessarily a bad thing. Wish more folks would realize that most of the forests they see today were/are the result of massive disturbance of some kind. As for selective logging, that can be the best possible method, but it just as easily can be the worst. "High-grading-the selective removal of the largest, best-formed trees is a well-known way to ruin the genetics of a stand, taking out the very specimens that should be left as seed trees. Millions of acres of forest have been degraded via this supposedly better methodology. Bad, bad thing-high-grade logging.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Clearcuts are not necessarily a good thing, either. Depends on context. Plus, most disturbance returns carbon to the soil or releases N. Clearcuts do neither, plus they often compact the soil.


  • 8 years ago

    steelskies, glad to hear the results of your walk. Non-chewed ash is still valuable timber if the trunks are straight and tall. Hope it works out for you.

  • 8 years ago

    Clearcutting vs. Selective Cutting favor very different species. Different species like to grow in full sun with no competition then like to grow in a gap between older trees. To some extent it depends whether you prefer white pine, polar and Eastern Red Cedar or sugar maple, American Beech, hickory and holly. Personally, my feeling is tree species that thrive in newly cleared land are generally doing better right now. And truly old trees will be rare down the road, and thus valuable.

  • 8 years ago

    Exactly Ed. It all depends on what you-the manager of a given stand-want to have happen. Even oak stands are almost always managed via clearcut. Keep in mind too that there are numerous different types of clearcut-strip cuts, shelterwood, seed tree.....it goes on and on. For my part, I find the results of major disturbance-let's say forest fire-most intriguing given the even-aged stands-often of conifers-that can result. Like the woods I own-almost all of which is composed of the three species northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis), white pine (Pinus strobus) and paper birch (Betula papyrifera). That "cool, northern woods" got there because of....and only because of fire. I find that and similar outcomes amazing. If one were to stand in the clearing where our old trailer sits, forest fire would be the last thing on their mind, what with the extremely high water table, cool-loving species, the overwhelming "greenness" of the landscape there. But it was born of fire.

  • 8 years ago

    Are all Ash trees are destroyed by the ash borer? If so, are certain kinds more susceptible than other kinds? I know there are many kinds of ash. I never got an answer about that.

  • 8 years ago

    All are susceptible. I'm not aware of a strong degree of difference between species-maybe white ash were slightly less prone to attack, but nothing really sticks out, at least in my area. Other places with other Fraxinus I don't know.

  • 8 years ago

    Steel, the big ash trees are. Fraxinus family ones, not the small flowering ones, sorbus or whatever.

    Far as EAB being near under control, I dunno. Seems like our generation's chestnut blight.

  • 8 years ago

    Seems like our generation's chestnut blight.

    That's apt, but we do have hope for American chestnuts these days. Now, mountain pine beetle, spruce beetle are similar analogues as well, changing entire forests in the Intermountain West.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Hey...don't forget dutch elm disease....for us old guys! Still remember the utter change that has wrought on the landscape. To wit, at the recent Wisconsin Arborist's Association meeting-I wasn't in attendance this time, but in talking to our City Forester, a study in Milwaukee shows that the urban forest has not even come close to recovering from that loss of trees. This ties in with a sad pronouncement I have made on occasion-that the best days of urban forests are decidedly in the rear view. Sorry to have to say this, but if you're much younger than say, I am, you really probably have no idea how beautiful city streetscapes used to be when all the elms were standing. Hard to even imagine with today's cut-up and fragmented streetscapes, but they used to be towering green corridors, like green tunnels, going in every direction. That's gone..............long gone. Nothing even comes close to the utility of the american elm as a street tree.

    ps.....Yes, please, let's once and for all realize that the genus Sorbus-common name mountain ash, is not an ash species. It's in the rose family, like most fruit trees, etc. No relationsship to Fraxinus-the ash.

  • 8 years ago

    I think a lot of the reason the urban forest has declined is increasing hysteria about tree roots damaging sidewalks. Yes, it is a risk...but I think a lot of folks overestimate it and overestimate the spacing they need between a large tree and pavement or a structure. In a city, this means there is simply no space for large trees.

    Looking at old trees, I've seen a number of huge trees a couple feet from an old house, that apparently never bothered the house.

  • 8 years ago

    For sure that's a part of it, Ed. Odd to think that in some very real ways, the "best" urban forests were those planted completely by amateurs and homeowners. I can already hear the stampede rushing this way to decry the tendency for these folks in that era to plant largely monocultures. Please....I get that! What I'm saying is, if it's just straight-up impressive stands of streetside trees, it's in the past where one must look, certainly not the present. None of which is to diminish in any way the value of those working in the field today. Heck, that's me! But I am saying that if one were to take a completely objective view, the way streets in cities all over the US looked in say.....1960...would far, far surpass how they look today. And that's in no small part due to the perfection that was (is?) the American elm. They had the perfect growth form for this purpose, they had the ideal adaptability to poor growing conditions, and they had the height, which is so lacking in many of today's offerings. It's gotten to the point where many folks, even many municipal foresters, don't understand the basic premises of street trees. They are: to shade the street, to arch over the street, to form a continuous canopy, not a series of lollipops on sticks, to lessen the perception of the wideness of modern streets, to provide a sense of security to pedestrians by forming a blockade between them and the cars whizzing by just feet away.....the elms did this with aplomb.

    No way am I saying let's give up, all is lost. My entire work life has been built on the opposite premise-that there is much good to be done. But it sure is sad to ponder the reality, that the best days are long gone.

  • 8 years ago

    Tom, there are still some beautifully treed neighborhoods in cities, but they're now usually oaks & other durable trees (including Norway spruces). But new neighborhoods never, ever plant these types of durable trees. All they seem to plant are short-lived crap.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Don't get me wrong-I myself have long participated in reforesting of our city following the elm event. Of course there's still some great streets and neighborhoods-even whole communities. What I am saying though is that in the aggregate, summing the whole kit and kaboodle up, we have a lesser resource today than we did yesteryear. For one example, even in my city the forester or others like to tout the fact that each year, we plant more trees than we remove. Yes, of course we do, I say, but the new trees are almost all going into new streets, new subdivisions that didn't even exist back whenever the comparative year was. If one was to somehow mount a camera over a city, perfectly stationary, and take time-lapse photos of the older parts of town, they're in a shambles so far as tree cover compared to where they were years ago, before all the elms died, before all the big old silver maples started falling apart, etc.

    I'm sure it seems overly bleak how I worded that post, but I'm certain there's a kernel of truth to it, even as I and you folks and a bunch of others go on with our daily lives, much of which involves trees and other greenery. I'm not pointing my finger at anyone or anything...just telling it like it is, as I see it.

    And one other facet: The power companies, long having spent considerable dollars on line clearance, so we can all plug in our toasters, has finally prevailed on urban forestry managers all across the nation to plant little mini-trees under power lines. Now from that one single perspective, I get it. But from every other perspective, it's been a disaster for the look, feel, and design elements of our city streets. Does anyone really get anything from a street lined with 'Ivory Silk' tree lilacs, themselves spaced far and wide? They will never coalesce, they will never create a canopy, they will never do any of the key things I listed above that street trees can and should be doing. This as much as anything has diminished the value of our urban forests.

    I once put this idea down as one for further discussion at the arborist's meetings. Well-and this has happened a lot-they took me up on it and this subject was one of the main ones at the following year's conference. I didn't get to go to that one but from what I heard, there was much scowling and wailing and gnashing of teeth at this talk and the idea behind it. It was actively rejected by the majority of city foresters and others in attendance. That's how far things have fallen-we can't even talk about it!

  • 8 years ago

    I'm curious as to what kind of "bigger" trees (not the "mini-trees") the cities are planting in place of the ash, or when they lost their elms.

  • 8 years ago

    Steel, this depends entirely on what part of the country (world) you're talking. Here for one example, various oaks, various hybrid elms, lindens, Freeman maples, Kentucky coffee trees, and some others still make up the "full-size" list. Each area is going to have its own list.

  • 8 years ago

    Tilia, Swedish Whitebeam and London planes are standing in for our doomed ash and horsechestnut - many are reaching maturity after the Dutch Elm crisis in the 70s.


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