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Timber Stand Improvment

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yup, you beat me to it. I always used a hatchet on anything larger than my thumb, which was way over kill but I wanted to make sure the tree soaked it up. Trying basal bark treatments with the mix you've mentioned above is what I want to try this year. I'm curious how big of a tree a guy can do this on?
About 6". Bigger than that best to cut down ot double girdle and spray the stump or girdle.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gallon of remedy made 4 gallons of mix. Guessing I hit 1,000 trees with it. I think I'll need another 3 gallons of remedy.


Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Ironic & somber day. This is my tsi rig for the moment ..... taking out junk for firewood. Cuts and controls the junk trees coming out that I mark with a big red “X”.

My close friend was sawing today, thank God it was with another buddy. Made a bad mistake & put a big hedge tree into his leg & he had to be life flighted out. Surgery & will be ok. I’m so thankful to get that confirmation. Be careful!!! 2 people is better & make sure u don’t do things u know u shouldn’t!!!

I’ll post more on how this goes. It is safer & more profitable. Get after it folks but be careful!!!!!

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Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Species identification & a lot of education is key to tsi. If anyone wants to start at basic level.... my advice would be this.... learn the species that often need to be cut or removed... I have a list here I tell my buddies (IMO), “you can’t make a mistake if you cut: Bitternut hickory, elm, ash, locust, hackberry, ironwood & few others. Also- on shagbark, take the best pole & thin the rest when you find a 30-40’ area just overloaded with them”.

The trees on crop tree “keep safe” or not make a mistake on .... the species we want to try and learn so we can grow the best poles to maturity.... white oak, walnut, swamp oak, cherry, red oak, etc.

That’s a VERY BASIC rough start. If u can clearly identify “junk” - u r pretty safe cutting.

If you have specific questions or even pictures you want to post here- go for it. Stuff like “when do I hinge vs topping trees off? Or when do I double girdle?” “What changes do I make to a plan when I’m more interested in cover & browse than timber value”. Whatever your questions- fire away.
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Rous14

Member
I’ll take you up on some of your questions you mentioned Skip. Total beginner here when it comes to tsi. Have watched some but very little. Even more of a beginner on using a chainsaw. Advice on general safety operation of saw, what kind of saw to go buy as first saw, best way to start out, etc? Have to admit that I’ve been cautious to pick up a saw even a little intimidated because I just have never used one and hear close call stories or worse from all my friends that do use them regularly.

Have an area on the farm that’s probably a few acres worth of almost all junk trees according to forester I had out (believe he said they were mostly silver maple and some sycamore. Low river bottom land) most of the trees are not very big, guessing 6-12” for majority. High density of trees so very little undergrowth so my motive is to cut them or hinge them to get thicker understory for better cover/bedding. Not really trying to release good species bc in that particular area there really isn’t any.
 

BJohnson

Well-Known Member
Another TSI beginner here. The guidance I got from my district forester was to drop trees <6" in diameter - girdle > 6" (mainly from a safety standpoint). Basic equipment list, (1) quality primary chainsaw that is relatively lightweight but not under powered (2) HELMET with face shield/hearing protection and (3) LEG CHAPS. My new saw, heImet and chaps ran about $400 but I suspect there may be cheaper options if you can find a used saw in good condition. I was also advised to keep my older cheap saw as a backup since it's not unlikely that you will get the primary saw pinched from time to time and need a backup to get the primary saw cut out.

I have hinged some of my trees to increase browse carrying capacity but if you want to release forest floor undergrowth I am not sure if hinging is the best option - may be better to drop them completely ??
 
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IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
Newbies.... I would HIGHLY recommend spending some time with someone with alot of experience with a chainsaw.

Handing a newbie a chainsaw and saying go do some TSI is the equivalent of handing a kid a gun that has never held one and saying go do some hunting/shooting.

Cutting trees is a dangerous activity if you don't know what you are doing. Many of folk have died and or been seriously injured. I know I've had a few close calls and i've cut down thousands and thousands of trees.
 

Daver

PMA Member
I’ll take you up on some of your questions you mentioned Skip. Total beginner here when it comes to tsi. Have watched some but very little. Even more of a beginner on using a chainsaw. Advice on general safety operation of saw, what kind of saw to go buy as first saw, best way to start out, etc? Have to admit that I’ve been cautious to pick up a saw even a little intimidated because I just have never used one and hear close call stories or worse from all my friends that do use them regularly.

Have an area on the farm that’s probably a few acres worth of almost all junk trees according to forester I had out (believe he said they were mostly silver maple and some sycamore. Low river bottom land) most of the trees are not very big, guessing 6-12” for majority. High density of trees so very little undergrowth so my motive is to cut them or hinge them to get thicker understory for better cover/bedding. Not really trying to release good species bc in that particular area there really isn’t any.

Not Skip, but I have been where you are now. :) As BJohnson already indicated...start with safety gear, chaps are a MUST and also hearing and eye protection. I too have a helmet that has muffs built in and a face screen to use too. Leather gloves also.

Two saws are just about a minimum, because you will pinch your main saw sooner or later. OR...two blades and chains and worst case if you are pinched, you can remove the saw motor assembly and attach it to a second blade and cut your first one out. I would recommend that you spend for a quality saw, Stihl, Husky, etc.

I have hinged, dropped and double girdled...it just kind of depends on the area and what I am trying to accomplish. I no longer double girdle though within 50'-60' of any trail, field edge or road...because somehow when the tree does fall later there seems to be a 95% likelihood that it will fall into your field or lane, blocking it, and requiring you to get the saw out again to clean it up. :)

As far as saw safety and cutting techniques...YouTube is your friend. There are many high quality videos that you can watch to greatly help you learn techniques and also safe practices. I am not listing them all here, but if you search on YouTube you will find many good options. Otherwise...volunteer to help someone with experience and have them teach you too.
 

Tmayer13

PMA Member
As others have mentioned, gaining experience is the key. Offer to help someone. Watch them cut, ask questions, have them watch you and give pointers

I run two saws. MS170 and MS271. Both great saws and both have their place and knowing and understanding that place is very important.

I have cut down a ton of trees over the years as well and last winter I was doing some TSI. I was hinging a tree, pulled the saw from the cut, slipped on some mud, and couldn't get get my fingers from the trigger, the saw came down got my leg....LUCKILY I was able to get the trigger released in time and came out with a couple scratches and some pants that ended up in the trash...I was lucky....

things happen in the timber you cant prepare for, you have to always be aware, have someone else around...ALWAYS have an escape route when felling a tree.

My advice on saw, depending how big of trees your looking at, get a Stihl MS251 with 18" bar. It will go through plenty of the trees your going to be cutting and light enough if your doing a lot of girdling. Also get a chain sharpener, save you tons of time and money on chains. And gear get chaps, glovses, helmets with face shield and hearing protection.
Start with some of the smaller trees and work your way up as you get more comfortable, I agree with watching youtube videos just be sure to watch some from credible sources.

ALWAYS respect the saw and tree, this is a very dangerous job!!!! as others have mentioned people die every year from cutting trees...

But it sure is fun and rewarding!!!
 

Rous14

Member
Appreciate all the replies and info.
Will definitely be buying all of the safety gear no questions asked. And I’m not really planning on felling any trees w facecuts back cuts etc, I’m really just looking (and only comfortable with) hinging a bunch of the junk trees in the area I referenced. I mentioned 6-12” dia trees in original post but more I think about it majority of them are probably 4-8” so nothing very big or intimidating. Not cutting them up for firewood, just hinge, push over and move to next one.
Was with a friend this past weekend who did quite a bit and watching/helping him it seemed like relatively safe and easy work (again because of the small trees and no additional cutting other than to get them to hinge over) but I don’t want to make it sound like I’m not respectful of the dangers bc as I mentioned I’m fearful of it in general being I have very little experience.
He had a small light top handle saw. I used a little bit after learning from him. Would you guys recommend that type of saw for the light duty work I’m only going to use it for??
 

Tmayer13

PMA Member
Appreciate all the replies and info.
Will definitely be buying all of the safety gear no questions asked. And I’m not really planning on felling any trees w facecuts back cuts etc, I’m really just looking (and only comfortable with) hinging a bunch of the junk trees in the area I referenced. I mentioned 6-12” dia trees in original post but more I think about it majority of them are probably 4-8” so nothing very big or intimidating. Not cutting them up for firewood, just hinge, push over and move to next one.
Was with a friend this past weekend who did quite a bit and watching/helping him it seemed like relatively safe and easy work (again because of the small trees and no additional cutting other than to get them to hinge over) but I don’t want to make it sound like I’m not respectful of the dangers bc as I mentioned I’m fearful of it in general being I have very little experience.
He had a small light top handle saw. I used a little bit after learning from him. Would you guys recommend that type of saw for the light duty work I’m only going to use it for??
sounds like a MS170 is what your looking for
 

Daver

PMA Member
Something that I have posted before here, but am reminded of...I learned from a bona fide forester a few years back the following ditty:

Do not prune in April, May or June.

This is reduce the chance of disease spreading via open bark, etc. Oak wilt in particular. I have followed his advice.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Great info above! If u have someone with experience who could bring out marking paint & maybe a saw - would also help.
Right on with above!!!!! 6” about right. Small if u r new to this Get 2 saws at least. Lots of sharp chains (change the second they get dull). Chaps. Helmet with eye protection & ear protection.... WEAR EAR PLUGS UNDER THEM AS WELL!!!! Extra chain saw tools.

hinging is best for lil pockets of bedding. Don’t over do it. A few here, a few there. I might hinge 5-6 over an acre. Nice for deer to bed against & makes visual barriers. I top & girdle most by far....
1) more sunlight in, like BJohnson mentioned
2) stumps throw up shoots that have INSANE levels of nutrition. That giant root system puts all nutrients packed into shoots vs the whole tree. High in protein, phosphorus, calcium, etc.
3) will simply allow for more diversity & easier travel. Increases in browse at exponential rates vs a closed canopy.
But yes, hinge here and there - just don’t go overboard. Can hinge shagbark & hackberry the best. Elm & other soft woods will hinge. Red & black oak, ash,m, locust, shingle oak, etc. (brittle trees) do NOT hinge. They explode & crack. So don’t do those.

*oh, double girdle .... get beyond bark, into cambium layer. So- say u get past bark- just get maybe another inch in past that .... full circle around & has to touch in a ring. 2 of those - waste level is fine. 2 of them around 4-5” apart.

all above is premo stuff. Spot on. Post up some pics or chime back with any questions or progress.

*I personally run 261-m saws with 16” & rapid cut chain. For a newbie- not needed. & they are expensive. I would recommend them if a guy did a lot of cutting. But not to start.
see if I can attach video of one tsi job from while ago.....
actually killed my buck this year coming out of this....
http://www.midwestwhitetail.com/videos/skips-video-blog-3-7-18/
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
To this day, still one of my favorite timber articles.... "The wooded IRA". Good read for newbies or even the seasoned timber folks...

file:///C:/Users/jleaj/Downloads/hardwoods_ira.pdf

General Iowa timber info.... ISU has loads of great info as well...

LAST QUICK 2 CENTS, FOR THE NEWBIES..... TSI is the single, #1 or 1st thing I'd do to a new farm... Would want expert helping & get it done as fast as possible or start some as fast as possible. I love native grasses, plots or anything habitat but TSI is #1 game changer IMO. After you couple it with big buck strategy: killer stand locations, entrance/exit, understanding pressure & how hunt the farm, blinds, etc..... All this combined with TSI (+ food) is the ultimate starter path towards creating a top potential farm/land

& while we at it!!! ..... INVASIVES! Here’s a little started vid ;).

 

hesseu

Member
What's the average size area's y'all are doing? I am assuming you are doing it in pockets when I ask this question.
 
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