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Author Topic: how do you thin your forests  (Read 1315 times)

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Offline DDW_OR

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how do you thin your forests
« on: April 12, 2017, 01:28:31 am »
I have 166 acres of hilly wooded that i need to thin.
need to remove everything under 4 inches.
I am thinking of adding a flail mower to my Bobcat 331 excavator.

can anyone suggest a better option?
or am i on the right tract?
TimberKing 2000 & Talon Sharpener, Mahindra 5520 4x4, Max22 4x4, Bobcat Excavator 331, E80, Multitek 1610EZ
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Offline nativewolf

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2017, 08:02:08 am »
This is what a forest mulcher is meant to do.  You can buy a used one for an excavator, rent a small machine, buy one for a small skid steer.

Factors that impact buying decision would be:

How much rock in your soil?

How much slope?

How were you planning to control regrowth?

Why remove everything below 4"- is this a fire fuel wood reduction program?  If so I know that the forest service hire forest mulching crews for that work.

The advantage of mulching is that you can get below the root collar and that stops a lot of regrowth.  Nature abhors a vacuum so something is going to grow if there is water/sun/soil. 

I'm a fan of FAE mulching heads and am in the market for one myself.  All the big expert pro mulching outfits pretty much just use that unless they are in LA or FL where there is basically no rock.  In those areas there are other options.  I can say that mulching 160 acres with a little excavator would be a full time all year long project and I think I would look at almost any other option.  Either a larger excavator or a skid steer or a small dedicated machine (fastest- and decent resale).   

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2017, 10:45:22 am »
1 = How much rock in your soil?

2 = How much slope?

3 = How were you planning to control regrowth?

4 = Why remove everything below 4"- is this a fire fuel wood reduction program? 
4a = If so I know that the forest service hire forest mulching crews for that work.

5 = Nature abhors a vacuum so something is going to grow if there is water/sun/soil. 

I'm a fan of FAE mulching heads and am in the market for one myself.  All the big expert pro mulching outfits pretty much just use that unless they are in LA or FL where there is basically no rock.  In those areas there are other options. 
6 = I can say that mulching 160 acres with a little excavator would be a full time all year long project and I think I would look at almost any other option. 
7 = Either a larger excavator or a skid steer or a small dedicated machine (fastest- and decent resale).

answers
1 = rock and clay
2 = flat to steep. the very steep we plan to leave alone
3 = the whole 166 will be fenced, then cattle and goats.
4 = yes
4a = does the forest service do that for private land?
5 = yes. i am hoping the goats and maybe the cattle will keep the new growth in check.
6 = we have time. the first use will be clearing the fence line for the 14,000 feet of fence.
7 = we do have a bobcat E80 that will have a stroke harvester head.

the "first plan" is 331 clears path, then i chainsaw cut the larger trees, then try the mulcher head to de-limb.

the "second plan" is 331 clears path, then E80 cut and de-limb the larger trees, then the mulcher head to mulch the limbs.

the "third plan" is to pile the limbs in an open area then burn

yes we do have a DR chipper and a Vermeer Wood Chipper BC600XL.

my motto is "work smarter, not harder", so handling stuff as few times as possible
TimberKing 2000 & Talon Sharpener, Mahindra 5520 4x4, Max22 4x4, Bobcat Excavator 331, E80, Multitek 1610EZ
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Offline pine

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2017, 11:27:24 am »
I am a fan of Fecon mulching heads.  When I was looking I compared DENIS CIMAF, FAE and Fecon mulching heads.  In my area of the PNW the Fecon is better supported and the Fecon is superior for my application.  Fecon has three different style heads with I think 6 different tools/teeth options based on the soil and desired result.






It appears that with your plan to run cattle and goats on your "forestry land" that the timber land is of a lower importance to you than having cattle/goat land. 

You plan to remove everything below 4 " dbh.  What timber do you have and at what dbh and density do you have above 4"dbh? Thinning should be accomplished based on the existing dbh to a spacing that best supports the tree.  That is why thinning is often done in stages,  You have a PCT then a commercial thin, then a harvest.  What are your plans for leaving stems/trees per acre?   Is this just overgrown brush land or do you have established timber with an undergrowth that you want to eliminate?

When you initially said thin everything below 4" dbh I was thinking PCT and drop them to rot back into the soil.  The definitions of thinning can be rather large and it appears that you want more than just that.  Seems as if you really want pasture land for your cattle is that accurate?  Cattle are very hard on established timber land.

Online TKehl

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2017, 01:16:35 pm »
Small hardwood tree leaves are great feed for goats and cattle.  High protein. 

My TSI involves cutting a few trees and a bunch of limbs each in July and August day so my goats can eat the leaves.  Elm, hedge, and mulberry leaves have got us through a couple droughts with the cattle (small herd 30 cows).  If you hinge cut, you can get 2-3 years of regrowth before final cleanup (firewood for us).

It's the darndest thing when firing up a chainsaw makes the herd come running after about a week.  Great party trick.   :D :D :D  Not so great trying to clear a blow down off a fence though.   >:( :)

I'll say that brush mulcher looks dandy for doing fencerows quick.  If we weren't almost done with our fences...  Done all of ours with chainsaw, handwork, and skid steer grapple.
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2017, 09:02:23 pm »
my timber land has about 35 acres of continuous pasture that is starting to be taken over by white cedar.

my background is 17 years of electronic credit card repair, not forest/ranch

TSI, what is that?
dbh, i think this relates to the amount of lumber in a tree?
PCT,  ?



I am a fan of Fecon mulching heads. ..... In my area of the PNW the Fecon is better supported and the Fecon is superior for my application.  ....
(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
....... is this just overgrown brush land or do you have established timber with an undergrowth that you want to eliminate?.....Seems as if you really want pasture land for your cattle is that accurate?  Cattle are very hard on established timber land.

the timber is for me. the cattle and goats are for side income
the photo of the skidsteer is very similar to areas of my land
TimberKing 2000 & Talon Sharpener, Mahindra 5520 4x4, Max22 4x4, Bobcat Excavator 331, E80, Multitek 1610EZ
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2017, 09:12:34 pm »
TSI,Timber Stand Improvement.
Some of these can be found in the Forum Dictionary.
Go to the Menu bar,Starts with Home,Help,Search,click onto Extras,a drop down should appear,click onto Forestry Forum Dictionary,then find the letter you want. Click onto the word on the left and that will give the whole definition.
Use it to find out what dbh means. ;)
Really should check out some other stuff there too. That menu bar has alot to offer.
PCT,Pacific Crest Trail. Never heard of it. Interesting.
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Online TKehl

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2017, 09:21:29 pm »
TSI = timber stand improvement.
PCT  = Pre commercial thinning.  IE, got to pay to have it done. 

I have no idea if goats would eat white cedar.  They nible a bit on red cedar and rub on the bark in the winter.  Rarely do they kill it, but if cut low, it rarely comes back either.  They are better at knocking back the sticker bushes like blackberry and multiflora rose if you have them out your way.

If you've got a bunch of 4" white cedar, you may want to look at a saw or shear for your skid steer coupled with a grapple to stack and burn.  Slower, but cheaper than a mulch head and less equipment wear and tear.  That's what we've done.
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline pine

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2017, 11:10:58 pm »
TSI, what is that?
dbh, i think this relates to the amount of lumber in a tree?
PCT,  ?


TSI = timber stand improvement.
PCT  = Pre commercial thinning.  IE, got to pay to have it done. 
dbh = diameter breast height

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2017, 12:00:03 am »
thank you all for the advice, i need it.

blackberry is the local weed. makes really good HONEY. 18 frames = 27 quarts.  8)
Goats love to eat the new shoots, so once the adult vine is knocked down they will keep after the shoots till the vine is dead. this will only be done in areas that i do not want blackberries.

would love to test drive a mulcher head, will travel 100 miles one way.

the plan for the cedar that is 4 to 9 inch will be de-limbed, de-barked, and treated. then used as fence posts
TimberKing 2000 & Talon Sharpener, Mahindra 5520 4x4, Max22 4x4, Bobcat Excavator 331, E80, Multitek 1610EZ
"let the machines do the work"

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2017, 01:44:47 am »
Well Fecon is out of the running.

this is the reply i got
Unfortunately your machine is too small to operate a Fecon Mulcher. The minimum size machine is 5 metric tons.
TimberKing 2000 & Talon Sharpener, Mahindra 5520 4x4, Max22 4x4, Bobcat Excavator 331, E80, Multitek 1610EZ
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Offline BaldBob

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2017, 02:30:13 am »
I strongly recommend that before you do anything to your forest, you try to get the state extension forester or the ODF assistance forester to provide some guidance. As you have yourself noted, forestry knowledge is not your strong point and you could easily foul up desired future options by doing the wrong thing.  By the way it is highly unlikely that you have actual stands of White Cedar.  It is not native to Oregon and is generally only found there planted as an ornamental or as a hedge.  In the unlikely event that you do have much White Cedar, goats will indeed keep it down or even kill it. One of the problems of trying to grow White Cedar  where it is wanted as an ornamental or hedge, is that it is almost impossible to keep deer from just butchering it if they have access to it.

Offline pine

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2017, 02:36:24 am »
Well Fecon is out of the running.

this is the reply i got
Unfortunately your machine is too small to operate a Fecon Mulcher. The minimum size machine is 5 metric tons.

Not familiar with your machines but googled the E80 and it came back with
Operating Weight -  18689 lb (8477 kg)
Arm Breakout Force - 7659 lb-f (34068 N)
Auxiliary Flow, Primary -31.7 gpm (120.0 L/min)

The low hydraulic flow is what would worry me.

 How do they measure mini excavators in weight?

Offline pine

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2017, 02:39:27 am »

would love to test drive a mulcher head, will travel 100 miles one way.


I am well outside your 100 mile radius. 
I agree with BaldBob.  if you have not talked with your local extension forester give them a call.

Offline teakwood

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2017, 09:59:35 am »
Excavator are always measured in weight, tons!   

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: how do you thin your forests
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2017, 04:48:15 pm »
TimberKing 2000 & Talon Sharpener, Mahindra 5520 4x4, Max22 4x4, Bobcat Excavator 331, E80, Multitek 1610EZ
"let the machines do the work"