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Author Topic: Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar  (Read 860 times)

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Offline DMcCoy

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Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar
« on: February 13, 2017, 11:44:34 am »
I have a wet area I logged 15 or more yrs ago.  I think I am on #4 of trying to get a crop of WRC established.  Elk are the biggest issue with beaver a distant 2nd.  I can deal with the beaver easy enough with wire cages, but the elk!  >:(

I have tried using a max tapener to tie the main leader tightly to a treated bamboo stake.
This has had low success as they snap the stake and eat the tree.

I have tried various tree protection sleeves and get a tangled mess after all the exterior branches are eaten.

This week I looked and the (1) tree I had over 8 feet they ate the tip off.  The rest looks like someone took a machete to all the branches.  The rest are chewed and under 4'.

I'm thinking of growing some containers with 1 tree each of Red Alder and WRC combined.  Thinking I might be able to tie the WRC to the alder and once the WRC gets say 10' then cut the alder.  It's either that or I just plant douglas fir and red alder and say the heck with it.
Elk fencing is out of the question for expense reasons.

Comments?

Offline ppine

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Re: Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2017, 11:59:05 am »
We started to lose WRC in the PNW once the old growth stands got liquidated.  Once we went to second growth Doug fir the rotation ages now barely allow any regeneration by cedar.  Cedar is shade tolerant. It can't be successfully planted after clear cuts.

Red alder is a pioneer species that comes in readily after clear cuts. Why would you plant it?  Is it in demand now for furniture? For a 100 years it was mostly used as fire wood.  One of the great marketing successes in wood tech in recent years. Rich people now like red alder which was trash wood for a long time.
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Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2017, 03:35:01 pm »
Since I have tried to establish WRC the ground isn't disturbed like right after logging is the reason I plant Red Alder.  By all definitions I live in a temperate rain forest receiving @86" of rainfall a year and we grow brush!  So larger whips of Red Alder get them above most of the brush.  Seems silly for a 'weed' tree I know.
I really like the areas where I have been able to establish WRC, some are now 20'tall.
This area was WRC when I logged and I think it is the best choice but the *DanG elk!
I'm really quite tired of the work involved with nothing established. 

Offline DelawhereJoe

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Re: Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2017, 06:54:16 pm »
So is this land you own or what..?
WD-40, DUCT TAPE, 024, 026, 362c-m, 041, homelite xl, JD 2510

Offline BradMarks

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Re: Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2017, 07:33:05 pm »
Elk - very nice animals until they make havoc with your trees.  Have you tried any of the repellents available?  There are some that work, just need to reapply at intervals.  And yes, different types of tubes have differnet results.  But the thing to remember is you are trying to grow the tree tall, out of their range of eating. So losing lateral branches ("whacked off like a machete") should not be a concern, except it doesn't look nice.  Is Alder not a browse species of elk? or is it low on the list when other food is available?.  And if your area you logged was in WRC and Alder, it may not be conducive to DF species. I'm thinkling root rot in DF.  My two cents.

Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2017, 08:46:31 pm »

Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2017, 08:57:29 pm »
Elk - very nice animals until they make havoc with your trees.  Have you tried any of the repellents available?  There are some that work, just need to reapply at intervals.  And yes, different types of tubes have differnet results.  But the thing to remember is you are trying to grow the tree tall, out of their range of eating. So losing lateral branches ("whacked off like a machete") should not be a concern, except it doesn't look nice.  Is Alder not a browse species of elk? or is it low on the list when other food is available?.  And if your area you logged was in WRC and Alder, it may not be conducive to DF species. I'm thinkling root rot in DF.  My two cents.

I live in an area that is 95%+ industrial Douglas Fir tree plantations, I'm sorry but I think it is ugly. I suspect the WRC is just a welcome change of diet.  I'm not sure why they elk leave the alder alone, maybe because of the cedar.  Obviously I would really like to have WRC.  I thought my 8' tall tree was safe.
We have laminated root rot, deadly to DF, but not in this small area. The area has flowing water over the soil or a water table 6" down during winter.  I think the cedar would be the best fit.
I will look into the repellents.
Thanks,

Offline Clark

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Re: Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2017, 09:50:48 pm »
It doesn't seem that alder is palatable to many species no matter which variety or where it is grown. We have tons of alder in lowlands and it is never browsed.

I did read once that they were trying planting sitka spruce right next to WRC with the idea that the sitka would deter the sensitive noses of herbivores and once the WRC got above the browse line cut the sitka. Similar to your alder approach but with more bite.

Best of luck, you're going down a road that the timber companies will never invest in. You might try contacting the ODF, they have done work in this arena.

Clark
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Offline RPF2509

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Re: Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2017, 03:13:40 pm »
WRC is a preferred elk browse and if elk are regular visitors it will be a challenge establishing it.  A wet site is an ideal location for WRC as DF does not like wet feet.  Ridged tubes/ mesh can work but as you experienced the elk can beat them up.  Good vegetation control helps get the WRC taller faster and in the end out growing the elk is the best solution.  WRA is a valuable tree now, more so than DF, if you have enough area to make a few truck loads.  It also helps the root rot die out as it is not a host.  Any tree species is more valuable than brush so if you have to settle for WRA, take advantage of that. W. Hemlock might be an alternative too but currently does not pay as well as DF cedar or alder.

Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2017, 04:35:29 pm »
WRC is a preferred elk browse and if elk are regular visitors it will be a challenge establishing it.  A wet site is an ideal location for WRC as DF does not like wet feet.  Ridged tubes/ mesh can work but as you experienced the elk can beat them up.  Good vegetation control helps get the WRC taller faster and in the end out growing the elk is the best solution.  WRA is a valuable tree now, more so than DF, if you have enough area to make a few truck loads.  It also helps the root rot die out as it is not a host.  Any tree species is more valuable than brush so if you have to settle for WRA, take advantage of that. W. Hemlock might be an alternative too but currently does not pay as well as DF cedar or alder.

OK, now that helps a lot.  WRA it is.  I can make truck loads in that area and I already have about an acre of WRA now that I thin right next to it.  I can grow cedars elsewhere and successfully.  Time to give it up. Thanks!


Offline BaldBob

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Re: Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2017, 11:45:26 pm »
An ingenious method that I have seen work to protect WRC plantings from elk, is to plant a Sitka Spruce in the same planting hole as the WRC.  In order for this to work - The land must be near enough to the coast that the Spruce will survive and grow, but far enough inland that the Spruce Tip Moth keeps the spruce from getting much over 6-8' tall but keeps it bushy.  Once the height growth stops on the Spruce, the WRC overtakes it and eventually shades it out. In the mean time the elk avoid the combo because they don't like getting their noses pricked by the very sharp spruce needles. I observed this to work very well on  what used to be the Boise Cascade Big Creek Tree Farm near Clatskanie.

Offline pine

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Re: Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2017, 03:23:24 am »
I do feel your pain as I have had some of the same issues.

The Sitka spruce idea does work quite well. 
I have planted around 10000 WRC in the last several years and have for many reason had to use the plastic tubes (not mesh tubes).  I have found if I do not get them installed on the same day I plant, that the Elk have a "crack party" with the WRC cedar seedlings over night before I get back to them the next day.
Deer browse the seedlings, elk grab them rip them out of the ground and toss in them in the air for fun, them eat them.  It is on camera.
With the tubes the tops get browsed for the first year or so then there is so much pent-up root energy that they shoot up so fast that the elk can't stay with them.  Yes, the side branches get eaten but the tops get out of reach.  I just checked today on some I put in back in 2011 and they are over 20 feet tall and going strong.

The brush as you stated is horrible on the west side of the hill and is hard to keep down.

Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2017, 10:43:38 am »
I have found if I do not get them installed on the same day I plant, that the Elk have a "crack party" with the WRC cedar seedlings over night before I get back to them the next day.
Deer browse the seedlings, elk grab them rip them out of the ground and toss in them in the air for fun, them eat them.  It is on camera.

 'crack' seems to be the appropriate analogy. After planting project #1 or #2, I was coming home, rounded the corner and standing in the road looking right at me was a cow elk with one of my cedar trees sideways in her mouth roots and all.  I'm pretty sure she was laughing as she ran off.

4 plantings is probably 3 times too many, they may come to expect it.  I'm think I'm going to go with Alder and get this done and off my list.  I can find places for cedars that they don't bother.

To everyone - a big thank you for all your shared insights.

Offline ppine

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Re: Elk and Beaver vs. Western Red Cedar
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2017, 12:46:03 pm »
I just visited my brother's property in sw Oregon above Medford.  He gets around 22 inches of precip a year with a dry summer. He has successfully planted ppine and WRC with a high survival rate. The cedar gets watered a couple of times over the summer for the first two years.  They have lots of deer but no elk and little predation.
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