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Timber Stand Improvment

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member

Appreciation of big white oak upland timber. I only go in 1-2 times a year & it’s kinda like being on a mountain peak for me- just pure appreciation & enjoyment of this awesome forest that is fairly rare in Iowa. Wish every drop of upland could look like this. Literally THOUSANDS of 25-35”+ white oaks- it’s amazing. Working to have my junkier stuff be like this some day. This stand does need work though too.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
Starting him early. Little slow on specie identification but he'll get there. ;)


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Daver

PMA Member
Skip, You ever do burns in your timber? I'm on the fence if I need to or not, private land specialist says I should to create more cover. I worry about the autumn olive taking over

Not Skip :). But I have run fire through parts of my timber more than once, with good success and results. I have NOT though tried it in areas where I have done a lot of hinge cutting, as I don't want to burn up all of the horizontal residue from the hinging activity. If you wait for the right conditions, fire is easily managed in a timber setting...but here are a couple of key "to-do's" in advance...

I walk through the area to be burned and use a leaf blower to create a little, even just 6"-12" will do it, bare earth barrier around certain trees. A timber fire will normally burn low to the ground and relatively cool as compared to a grass fed fire. It will not be as prone to "jumping" a fire break and/or catching everything in its' path on fire as will a grass fueled fire. So it is fairly easily controlled by just a small "earth" barrier/fire break.

I will look for larger, dead trees and blow the leaves away from the base so as not to catch those on fire. A large, dead tree that does catch, and a lot of them are hollow, will burn for a long time, even days, as the hollow zone will function as a "chimney". Even though I may be OK with a certain dead tree burning...I do not feel comfortable with a fire that could burn LONG after I have left the scene. Plus, I like to leave the ol' dead hollows for dens, etc, for other wildlife to use.

Where I have created brush piles in the timber for rabbits, turkey nesting, etc, I will also use the leaf blower and make a barrier/fire break around them.

I have used a leaf blower, and also a riding lawn mower at times, to create a bare earth barrier where I want the fire to originate in the timber. Two passes, about 90" width, of barrier on the upwind side is God's plenty for a low, slow burning fire. That relatively narrow band could also be sufficient on the downwind side, but I normally play it safe and double that width OR I will let the wind carry the fire to a place that I have already burned, etc, so no real fire break is needed. I have also used a disk or tiller to create a bare earth barrier on the extreme edge of the timber, to let it burn all the way through the timber and then terminate at the field edge.

I also burn according to the wind direction and will always begin with a downwind backing fire and let it creep into the wind for a bit...then go to the upwind section and light it up and let it go downwind to meet the previously lit backfire.

A backpack leaf blower is awesome in these cases, a backpack sprayer is also a good tool to have handy if you have more than one person doing this. Right or wrong, I have burned many times by myself without incident. The key is the prep.

Watch those hollow trees, that is where the problems can come in though. Don't let those get on fire and it is otherwise pretty easy.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
Timing is huge on timber fires
Dormant season vs growing season. Grant woods has several good videos on timber burns with lots of explanation. Check out his website


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EatSleepHunt

Active Member
Starting him early. Little slow on specie identification but he'll get there. ;)


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Here's my little one last year, 3 years old. Him and his brothers came to visit me in the timber. I'm showing the other two what I'm doing Turn Around and this is the picture I get he's ready to go.
2 ft of snow is finally gone. ( All in 2 days!)
Ready to go catch up on some TSI


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This is an area I had the marketable pallet lumber cut out of last winter. It was consumed with hickory. A buddy and I grabbed the saws and wacked out about an acre and a half last night. Freed up the oaks and even a few walnuts that were along the little ditch. I have a lot more to do but a good start. I have run really short on time this year.
 

LoessHillsArcher

Well-Known Member
Checked some old TSI timber today and some that I did last spring.

I like hinging big trees like this a bit higher to create some awesome timber edge screening but letting light into the timber



We TSId this timber probably 12 yrs ago and I redid it last year. Huge improvement going back in for the second time. Wiped out most the junk trees that sprouted up after the first round of sawing years ago





This timber we TSId probably 7yrs ago and it’s looking good yet but I’m going to go through here again this spring and clean some stuff up. Some big trees we double girdled have died and fallen and blocked some travel paths




Biggest reason for success was we released some huge bur oaks. Girdling those “junk” oaks lets in some much light and room for growth for those monster oaks.



Now we need to release some of these young oaks!




So much thicker than it used to be but those trees are now 7yrs old and outside the browse line for deer, time to saw again!



This is what all our timbers look like before we start work on them... big crowded oaks and hackberries and other junk taking up the mid story... deer live there but it’s just a bedroom for them, not much for food or real thick cover




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arm

Leg
Not Skip :). But I have run fire through parts of my timber more than once, with good success and results. I have NOT though tried it in areas where I have done a lot of hinge cutting, as I don't want to burn up all of the horizontal residue from the hinging activity. If you wait for the right conditions, fire is easily managed in a timber setting...but here are a couple of key "to-do's" in advance...

I walk through the area to be burned and use a leaf blower to create a little, even just 6"-12" will do it, bare earth barrier around certain trees. A timber fire will normally burn low to the ground and relatively cool as compared to a grass fed fire. It will not be as prone to "jumping" a fire break and/or catching everything in its' path on fire as will a grass fueled fire. So it is fairly easily controlled by just a small "earth" barrier/fire break.

I will look for larger, dead trees and blow the leaves away from the base so as not to catch those on fire. A large, dead tree that does catch, and a lot of them are hollow, will burn for a long time, even days, as the hollow zone will function as a "chimney". Even though I may be OK with a certain dead tree burning...I do not feel comfortable with a fire that could burn LONG after I have left the scene. Plus, I like to leave the ol' dead hollows for dens, etc, for other wildlife to use.

Where I have created brush piles in the timber for rabbits, turkey nesting, etc, I will also use the leaf blower and make a barrier/fire break around them.

I have used a leaf blower, and also a riding lawn mower at times, to create a bare earth barrier where I want the fire to originate in the timber. Two passes, about 90" width, of barrier on the upwind side is God's plenty for a low, slow burning fire. That relatively narrow band could also be sufficient on the downwind side, but I normally play it safe and double that width OR I will let the wind carry the fire to a place that I have already burned, etc, so no real fire break is needed. I have also used a disk or tiller to create a bare earth barrier on the extreme edge of the timber, to let it burn all the way through the timber and then terminate at the field edge.

I also burn according to the wind direction and will always begin with a downwind backing fire and let it creep into the wind for a bit...then go to the upwind section and light it up and let it go downwind to meet the previously lit backfire.

A backpack leaf blower is awesome in these cases, a backpack sprayer is also a good tool to have handy if you have more than one person doing this. Right or wrong, I have burned many times by myself without incident. The key is the prep.

Watch those hollow trees, that is where the problems can come in though. Don't let those get on fire and it is otherwise pretty easy.
Did you have any MFR before you burned and notice it eliminated or set back? I'd like to try a burn and see if it helps the rose die

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Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
I do hate MFR!! As long as deer walk through- it’s fine. I’ve seen a 10-15 patches in my life that got “too thick”. Cut em & treated. Have done herbicides in growing season too. Ya- fire sure would be nice there & would help. I sure cleared a ton of it this winter & it’s not fun.
All above- wow!!! Looks really nice.

FYI- if u live outside of Iowa or in Iowa.... if u want cost share to do tsi (or edge feathering) - need state Forster out to write your plan & apply for EQUIP funds. If you have land in Iowa - u also have option of REAP funds. REAP is easier to jump through hoops & pays lil more but limited funds & not as much time to complete.
For any beginners... get forester out ASAP to write a plan for down the road. Apply for cost share & get expertise on doing the work correctly. I probably would not bite off more than 10-40 acres if this is your first go at it. Tsi is just about done for the year- so start the wheels in motion for next winter.
 

Daver

PMA Member
Did you have any MFR before you burned and notice it eliminated or set back? I'd like to try a burn and see if it helps the rose die

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I have thankfully never had much MFR on my place, nor very many locust trees. So I haven't done too much to control it since I don't have so much of it, but fire is very effective on MFR. It definitely will help to knock it back.
 

cybball

PMA Member
Is it possible to kill MFR without cutting? Can I spray it this spring? I’ve heard Crossbow is great for MFR, but wasn’t sure if I had to cut and spray stumps.


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Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Yep. It’ll kill it. Just be careful if desireable trees around. Read the label very close. It does work just be careful.
 
Yep. It’ll kill it. Just be careful if desireable trees around. Read the label very close. It does work just be careful.
What kind of coverage do you need for MFR? Do you need to coat the whole thing?
Also, is it best to wait til it is fully bloomed or can you hit it in say, April?
 
Am I ok to flush cut and stump treat in the spring? I've read hack and squirt doesn't work well when the sap is flowing up but not sure about completed cutting off the tree at the ground and treating.
 

LoessHillsArcher

Well-Known Member
Am I ok to flush cut and stump treat in the spring? I've read hack and squirt doesn't work well when the sap is flowing up but not sure about completed cutting off the tree at the ground and treating.
I'd never try it again but I've only done it on black locust - you'd swear we fertlized them vs treating with Tordon RTU. Aug, Sept, Oct has been prime time for doing what you're talking about.
 

cybball

PMA Member
Just got back from my timber. Did some tsi in February. Double girdled a lot of trees. Elm, hackberry and bitternut hickory. Quite a few of them have buds turning into leaves. Did I not cut deep enough? Id said I was easily an inch or two deep.



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Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Very normal. It takes a year sometimes.
Generally speaking... hard to kill trees- ya, I personally go deeper. Sometimes even then I am surprised at some that recover. Give them a year. If it’s same thing next year or the wounds grow over- get more aggressive for sure.
Ur likely good but I’d check back with some time.
 

cybball

PMA Member
Thanks for the replies. Glad to know it should eventually work. Was just surprised to see the buds leafing out. Want to open up some sun and free up some oaks.
 
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