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Cedar tree removal

Daver

PMA Member
Anyone ever try this idea: in the winter when there's snow on the ground, take a weedburner, drip torch, whatever and light up cedar trees one by one. Our pasture pictured above we really don't want to burn since it's about 200 acres and grazed down pretty thin. It'd be a pain to burn basically. Some year we can get there maybe but not now.

The hopes would be the cedars would get burnt and die, the snow would keep the grass from burning over the whole pasture, the skeletons would be left to be mulched later with a forestry head or just left to break down naturally or by chainsaw over the years.

I'd assume cedars are pretty dry and burnable in January/February?

Although I have not specifically done it the way you describe...I doubt the cedars would burn real well while still living. I am not sure of that, but I also have reason to doubt it would be a winning strategy. I can say that I burned an area on my farm last year mainly to get rid of a big brush pile left over from the pond build a few years ago and at the time of the burn, things got toasted pretty well in that zone. Mainly brome grass, mixed with various volunteer trees, a lot of them cedars that are about 8' to 12' tall.

I just observed the other day that I still have lots of healthy looking cedars in that area. Some may have, and probably did get, burned up...but in the main, no. Some of those places where there are still living cedars now had grass growing up in the branches, etc., and the burning grass was quite a show...but somehow, most/all of those cedars are still there this year.

I also suspect that your "skeletons" would stand for quite a few years before rotting out. If I am picturing your situation correctly...I would rent a skid steer with a saw attachment and attack them that way. Or, if the trees are small enough, a tractor and a brush hog...be sure to wear ear plugs if you go this route. :)
 

Elvis188

Super Moderator
Anyone ever try this idea: in the winter when there's snow on the ground, take a weedburner, drip torch, whatever and light up cedar trees one by one. Our pasture pictured above we really don't want to burn since it's about 200 acres and grazed down pretty thin. It'd be a pain to burn basically. Some year we can get there maybe but not now.

The hopes would be the cedars would get burnt and die, the snow would keep the grass from burning over the whole pasture, the skeletons would be left to be mulched later with a forestry head or just left to break down naturally or by chainsaw over the years.

I'd assume cedars are pretty dry and burnable in January/February?
If you do burn that thin pasture in the next month you will be shocked at how fast it greens and thickens up. Fire is a great way to regenerate grass and wipe out some cedars at the same time.
 

Bassattackr

Active Member
Re: Winter Burn - Possible if no snow on them. Any moisture would melt quick and extinguish the fire. But common sense perhaps..

As Dave mentioned- Cedar doesn’t rot, especially if left standing. It will be there for many, many decades. I would push or fell it so at least you get some cover value for smaller game.
 

hillrunner

PMA Member
Last summer I burned about 4 acres of cedars I had cut down the year before. This was a small chunk in a thick impenetrable stand. The picture doesn't do justice to how hot this fire was. The flame easily reached over 20 feet tall, far more at times. It was impressive enough that somebody called the fire department. (Note to self, let the fire department know what I'm doing next time)
It killed maybe a couple dozen standing cedars around the edge of the fire but it stopped with that. There was plenty of heat if the live trees would simply burn like dead trees, it could have gone for a long ways. I haven't found any easy way to kill a mature cedar stand, it takes sweat equity.
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I'm not sure the soil won't prove to be damaged from the heat. The only thing that grew at all last summer was a little foxtail but mostly its still bare dirt.
 

Hawk32

Active Member
This is probably another dumb question but is there no logging value to those big cedars or possible someone with their own mill would want them.
 

Bassattackr

Active Member
We’ve tried multiple times to get a cedar logger. Not many interested.

Several mills willing to buy cedar, if you want to put in the effort delimbing them, dragging them out and stacking on a trailer. High work, low reward proposition.
 

hillrunner

PMA Member
This is probably another dumb question but is there no logging value to those big cedars or possible someone with their own mill would want them.
I'm going to mill some up this year. I already have a load of cedar logs stacked and waiting. It is a lot of work getting one of those cleaned up and brought out so I'm not sure how worth the effort it will be.
99.9 % are not big enough diameter to be worth milling. When they grow with so much competition they don't get a very big log.
 

Daver

PMA Member
We’ve tried multiple times to get a cedar logger. Not many interested.

Several mills willing to buy cedar, if you want to put in the effort delimbing them, dragging them out and stacking on a trailer. High work, low reward proposition.
Depending on where they are...I too may have an interest...but truthfully...would probably be interested in picking them at the road, not limbing and hauling them out of the timber, etc.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
We’ve tried multiple times to get a cedar logger. Not many interested.

Several mills willing to buy cedar, if you want to put in the effort delimbing them, dragging them out and stacking on a trailer. High work, low reward proposition.
Looked into this the last couple weeks..... seems to be a popular topic. Highly location dependent it seems.


....ya i'd say cedar is worth some money. (Not sure if our ERC is worth less, it looks cooler)




cedar.png
 

Bassattackr

Active Member
Too many loggers in the area have Walnut and Oak to cut, especially due to record prices. Cedar is very far down the list for them. Local sawmills will buy cedar however, but takes us trailering loads to them.

I’m in Central MO, so can’t speak for the Iowa market.
 
Started my access trail to the grove of mature cedars Saturday morning. cut and skidded a couple megas from the pond out in the CRP for starters as well. Grapple bucket for the tractor to be delivered to farm Saturday, Can't wait to get moving on this.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
It would be great to have a cedar cabin or home, anything built with your own timber is a plus!
I'm assuming it's good but I wonder if there is any difference in long term durability of our ERC vs western cedar that you see everything cedar made out of?
 
Did some research on this few weeks ago for this very reason. ERC is actually a Juniper and Western is a Thuja (as is the giant arborvitae). Neither are true "cedars" or cedrus.
Both are good for lumber, ERC is lighter and takes a long time to rot. Westerns grow to be very large and market for lumber on those in pacific NW is big indrusty.
Id imagine people stay away from ERC cause they are such a pain to limb out for timber harvest. Though there are lots of buyers in the Ozark Mountains of S mo and Arkansas
 
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