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Author Topic: Sugar maple invasion  (Read 2905 times)

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Offline Klunker

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Sugar maple invasion
« on: May 25, 2016, 09:40:47 pm »
about 3-4 years ago we had a ridiculous production of seed from the sugar maples in the area. County wide at a minimum. Now there are significant areas that dominated by maple seedlings. Seems nothing eats them. They are everywhere. I have hand picked them out of several small garden areas. One was a small area about 6ft in dia. under a walnut tree. I'll bet there were at least 50-100 maples/sq ft. I had a 5 gallon bucket packed tight with nothing but maple seedlings that were about 6" tall. My main concern is in the woods. There are areas that are pretty much nothing but maple seedlings. I'm concerned that regeneration of oaks, which already is terrible due to deer eating any and all seedlings, and other more desirable to me trees will greatly suffer. Also will this negatively affect other plants, flowers and under brush?
Right now my plan is to cut only living maples for firewood, I leave all dead and or dying trees. And when I find the rare more desirable tree seedlings I'll fence them off from deer if need be and hand pick all maple seedlings within maybe 4 ft of the seedling and cut any maple saplings nearby.
Any thoughts on this invasion of maples? will something eventually take a liking to them and put them in check? or am I doomed to have to maple syrup on my wheaties?

Offline DelawhereJoe

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2016, 09:56:02 pm »
The red maples and silver maples do that every year hear, you get around a few reds and a wind blows it will look like its snowing. Also the sweet gums are prolific breaders here too, every year I'll get some little gum tree trying to grow in a few square inches of dirt in my barn.
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Offline Klunker

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2016, 10:00:57 pm »
This was a extreme production. I've never seen it before. The seeds were everywhere.

Offline Carson-saws

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2016, 10:08:11 pm »
It's the Sugar Maple that tends to offer up some good "birds eye" and lotsa curl isn't it?
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Offline bill m

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2016, 07:53:58 am »
Maybe the reason the maple is doing good and the oak is not is because of soil chemistry. I generally do not see oak and maple doing well together.
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2016, 08:48:47 am »
I wish I had that problem here.
Havent had a good seed production year in several yrs now.
Deer love them here especially inn the northern part of NY.
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Offline Clark

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2016, 10:02:55 pm »
That's an interesting situation where, as Pete notes, most would welcome the invasion by sugar maple. You're also in an interesting part of the state that has had some extreme changes over the last 100 years.

I'm a bit familiar with SE WI, my in-laws live down there. It's interesting in part because it was the historic interface of forest and prairie and whenever that happens you have interesting dynamics working against each other that can be very difficult to pin down after 100-150 years of farming. The prairie would have been dominated and influenced by fires that swept over them every 1-4 years. The forested areas could be heavily or not at all influenced by fire. The north side of ridges, kettles in the moraine and the east side of lakes were typical areas that had year round moisture to keep fires at bay. The ridge tops, south facing slopes and flat ground would have had more fire.

The influence of fire directly influences what species would have grown there. On the drier sites we would expect oak and hickory; the moist sites ash, maple, cherry and walnut. After 50 years of putting out any and all fires which was preceded by a slightly more lax fire policy which was preceded by fires burning every forest that was cut it is easy to see how things aren't what they once used to be.

Generally the fire-intolerant species (maple, ash, cherry, walnut) have spread to those sites where they historically never grew. Oak woodlands are being are being replaced by maple (if they haven't been replaced with corn). The kicker on top of it all, as you noted, is that deer are a major problem in regenerating oak. If you want oak back you could burn and that would take care of the maple. Fencing small areas (up to 5 yards across will keep deer out with even a small fence) would show you what wants to regenerate there.

I don't think the maple will be a problem, especially if you fence and get some oak growing. If you have too many saplings down the road you can start hacking some maple and letting the oak grow. I'd look at the maple as a back-up plan if you can't get oak to regenerate.

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Offline Klunker

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2016, 09:42:09 pm »
Thanks Clark, great comments.
My woods are kinda interesting. One portion is decent sized trees that are well over 150 yrs old. This area was selectively cut approx 5 yrs ago removing a vast majority of white and red oaks. The stumps are 2-3ft across. The large sugar maples were left. Oh sure, there is a cherry here or there, one or two Beeches, a couple of hickories, a couple of sad looking ash and maybe one or two oaks left that were left because I doubt they were worth much. Crooked trunks. If I had to guess I'd say the total mass of trees here is probably 80% Maple. In the more open areas left by the cutting there is alot of under brush popping up. I found in one of these areas about a dozen small white oaks, seedlings. Most are re-sprouting from being chewed off last fall/winter. I'm going to put tree protectors around them and keep an eye on them.

The other section of the woods is relatively new. It supposedly was "clear cut" back in the 50's. It does have a few larger trees. Maple and red oak, lots of mature Aspen and tons of smaller hickories, both shagbark and bitternut, cherries and ash. There are some smaller white oak in there.

What I find interesting is there are no small sapling white oaks any where in either the woods. Also no Basswood anywhere.

I don't manage my woods for lumber, I manage for wildlife. So I keep old dead trees, especially den trees. I like to encourage a diversity of species. But I really like to keep the oaks. I feel they are one of the better wildlife attracting trees. I also encourage various forbs, especially spring wildflowers.

So I have areas that are as I mentioned pretty much nothing but maple seedlings. The deer do not touch them. They seem to have a leg up on everything else in the place. This is especially true in areas that are very shaded.

So my plan is to encourage more oaks and beech. I have found a couple of sapling beeches that I'm going to do some release cutting around them. Protect the seedling oaks I find. Because I have no Basswood I'm going to see if I can start a couple from seed or transplants from another woods I own. Any cutting I do will be first and foremost of Sugar Maples. Especially the smaller ones (saplings to maybe 12" dbh) that are competing with more desirable trees. Also I decided I would cut maybe a dozen large aspen that are in a group to encourage more smaller openings on the ground for forbs and underbrush. I'll use the aspen for lumber and the maple for firewood. I'll also get some planting of forbs. I don't have any bloodroot or wild leeks or a couple other spring flowers so again I'll transplant/seed some in there.

On a side note there is a 3 acre field that we are building a house in that once the house is done I plan on seeding with native grasses and forbs. Think prairie plants. There is also an another small field that I planted some burr oaks in this spring along with last falls and this springs transplanting of about 2 dozen different types of forbs.

Any thoughts on my plans?


Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2016, 12:29:23 pm »
You seem to have a northern hardwoods ecosystem of predominately hard (sugar) maple which is a valued sawlog species in the Lake States. There is nothing wrong with managing it selectively for the hard maple and the included species favoring the wildlife mast trees of oak, American beech, black cherry etc.
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Offline grassfed

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2016, 12:50:50 pm »
Sugar maple is a great tree. As long as you are not talking about invasive species you should encourage vigor. Nature knows what should be growing and it sounds like you are lucky! Don't waste time and energy trying to push against nature you will just end up encouraging low vigor low grade trees in the long run.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2016, 05:10:45 pm »
Can't beat nature, she decides what grows best and where.  :)

Although I don't agree that doing something different that wasn't placed there by nature produces low grade. But you have to actively manage in the direction you want to follow. That does not mean introducing a species that is outside of its range or soil type. For instance, planting a sugar maple in a cedar swamp isn't going to work, nor is planting a black spruce in the Florida everglades. ;)

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline Rural

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2016, 07:10:40 am »
We had the same thing here in 2008 according to my notes with the ground is some areas near a large maple completely covered with a carpet of seedlings and it happened again this spring. It all seems to sort itself out over time with the stronger seedlings taking over and the weaker ones dying off over time. I have tried to attached a pic of how it looked that spring. (its in my 'album' but cant figure out how to insert it to post!)

 

 

Ah, got it!

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2016, 03:50:16 pm »
We get that carpet under mature sugar maple all the time. But unless the stand is opened up with some light they don't do anything but stagnate.

A carpet of sugar maple under this brute.




Firewood cutting promoted all those beach, post sized trees around with grey bark.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2016, 06:46:25 pm »
I don't know how it is in Canada but here in the giant corn field of the midwest maples are very prolific .They have sprouts in eave spouts ,buckets,flower beds and just about any place they land .Fact I have a nice crop in the bed of a dump truck .Some eventually will grow to maturity,most don't. I seriously doubt those in the dump truck will.

Offline Rural

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2016, 09:08:47 pm »
Seems to be a bit dependent upon the year, some years germination is prolific some years not so much. For those focused upon growth for commercial harvest the removal of less valuable species and competing growth is no doubt a viable management routine. Others like myself for whom commercial harvest is secondary to managing for natural regrowth and wildlife refuge may prefer a less aggressive management regime. The removal of dead, cankered or damaged trees for fuel wood that lets the light in will always encourage new growth of a variety of species (trees , shrubs and undergrowth ) in the area revealed , I let nature decide which is going to thrive and which will do less well. BUT I have none growing in a dump truck.....   ;D

Offline j_d

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2016, 02:18:41 am »
It sounds like you have the makings of a sugar bush.  I am losing my ash but encouraging maple.  We have tapped on a small scale but it was very rewarding and left me wishing for more maples to tap.  Just a thought.  - josh
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Offline Rural

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2016, 08:04:44 am »
Yes, my bush is also mostly Maple and Ash, although the EAB has been identified not to far away I have yet to see any signs of dieback due to them at this point. There certainly is the potential to tap the Maples.... I wonder how much this little one near one of our trails would produce?

 

 

Offline Klunker

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2016, 01:36:56 pm »
Yes, my bush is also mostly Maple and Ash, although the EAB has been identified not to far away I have yet to see any signs of dieback due to them at this point. There certainly is the potential to tap the Maples.... I wonder how much this little one near one of our trails would produce?

 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

That is a beauty!!, good forestry management would dictate cutting I would think. Myself, I'd leave it.
I don't know about you but I like big old wolf trees. And that one looks like an excellent climber for the kids.

Offline Rural

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2016, 03:16:40 pm »
Klunker, I see that like myself you “don't manage my woods for lumber, I manage for wildlife. So I keep old dead trees, especially den trees. I like to encourage a diversity of species.” I view old trees like that Maple as “mast” and “nurse” trees for the wild life and future generations of the species and would never even dream of cutting it or similar oldies. We have several more Maples, a beech, some basswood, the odd Cherry and at least one big old healthy Butternut of close to (but not as big around)  the same size.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Sugar maple invasion
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2016, 03:44:47 pm »
I don't mind cutting trees, in fact the whole lot was cut 23 years ago. It has regenerated and I planted areas to. I've now thinned every acre and soon going back through and thinning again, and again....etc. No scarcity of wildlife including birds. I even have some deer until winter when they migrate out. Deer were never that thick in my area, we have moose by the herds though. I always see grouse and hawks. Never see owls, since the old stuff is gone including the stubs. I do have one big old yellow birch with a nice veneer log on the but, almost 30" through by now @ dbh. Not a dead limb on it. I'm waiting another 7 years to do a volume estimate since the last thinning was done in 2013, so that will be 10 and older since the first thinning. I've got every tree species known in New Brunswick on the lot except bur oak, red pine or jack pine. Got butternut I started from nuts off local trees. I keep the brush away from those. Rabbits never touch them but moose can tear them up if they are in the mood. Moose will destroy pine. I planted 3500 white pine, they rip up any they find with their antlers and besides that the currants host their rust disease that kills pine.  :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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