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Conifer Plantations Module #7 Restoring Your Plantation 7-1.

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Presentation on theme: "Conifer Plantations Module #7 Restoring Your Plantation 7-1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Conifer Plantations Module #7 Restoring Your Plantation 7-1

2 Disasters Disasters can take many forms Flood Drought Fire
Violent storms Tornadoes Lightning Ice storms Can’t plan for disasters. They happen and very little, if any, preparedness can be taken. Floods are usually of short duration and plantations should be able to withstand the temporary condition. If they are flooded because of a rise in the water table (beaver dams) mortality will occur unless the water is removed reasonably quickly. Violent storms with high winds or twisters will usually reek havoc on plantations as with any other trees. However plantations that have not been tended and are seriously overcrowded will tend to have spindly stems and may be more susceptible to windthrow under more normal wind conditions. Maintaining a good spacing throughout the life of the plantation will minimize this as the trees will be stronger. No amount of planning or tending would have lessened the impact of Ice Storm 98 in Eastern Ontario! The only recourse is to review the disaster and seek advice on restoration or salvage! 7-2

3 Restoring Your Plantation
Minimizing the effects of ice damage in your young conifer stands This presentation will deal with the restoration of your young plantations. In these plantations there is no chance to salvage wood commercially. There is a need to assess the plantation and determine a course of action. 7-3

4 Restoration Ice storm ‘98 — one of the greatest Canadian natural disasters Impact on some plantations was devastating Particularly 15 cm and greater in red pine Most plantations had some damage % Looking at conifers — focus on red pine, white pine, and jack pine with a brief look at white spruce, and larch Many red pine plantations ready for the first thinning were completely destroyed with every stem either bent right over or broken off. Only options are to salvage if feasible, reduce fire threat and consider the possibility of establishing another crop. In most of these cases there is no advance regeneration. Many plantations had damage to the leaders. Trees were not destroyed but their future is uncertain. Need to look at these plantations and re-assess their goals and crop plans in light of the damage and determine the action plans needed to meet the goals. 6-4

5 Restoration Before doing a lot of physical work, need to review:
extent of damage other problems why is the plantation there First reaction is to get out there and clean up only to soon realize that the anticipated job is just overwhelming! Just cleaning out walking trails and other means of access stretched most landowners to their limits. Need to look at the task in relation to the plantation as a whole. Even though 50% of the trees may have lost their leader, many of these may be removed in the first thinning. What other events have had an impact on the trees? Why is the plantation there with that species - what are the site conditions that impact the trees? 7-5

6 Assessment Records Need to know Why a plantation? What is growing?
What is wrong and how much? What work done? The dynamics Create a simple form that helps you to document the base information and helps you analyze what is happening. Some say land changes ownership about every 5-7 years so you could be the 2nd, 3rd or even 4th owner! You may not have even thought why you want those trees or your goals could be completely different from the original owner. There is a copy of this suggested format on the back of the summary you will receive on this workshop. Do you know what has been planted? Do you know how many of the original trees survived? Do you know how healthy the plantation is? Do you know if the trees have a good form? The whole environment of the area changes as the trees mature. This is called the biodiversity of the area. Do you know what is happening that may be important to you? There may be a hawk’s nest you want to preserve. There may be stubs that a pileated woodpecker is using as a lunch counter. There may be nesting trees or there may be a trail that you treasure and wouldn’t want to change anything around it. Write down your observations that will help you to rewrite the goal for the plantation. 7-6

7 Assessment Records Have to decide on: Your Goals Potential products
An Action plan to address concerns Once you have enough information you can write your expectations for the plantation. Your expectations may be consistent with the existing goal, may be a modification of this goal or may be an entirely new direction that reflects current thinking and damage. Reviewing the damage and other factors you can aim toward a realistic set of products from the various thinnings. This will help you to decide how much pruning and what trees to prune or correctively clip. What is important here is there is a timetable for the action plan. This will spur you to do the work at the right time and to seek the appropriate advice. It will also direct you to review what is happening on a regular basis. 7-7

8 Points to Remember Originally planted 2,000+ trees/hectare
Final crop will be trees/hectare Identify potential crop trees — enough? Will pruning improve potential for sawlogs? What is a crop tree? This is a tree selected to grow until the final harvest. It has been selected because of location, rate of growth, species and straightness. Are there enough trees that fit this definition evenly distributed throughout the plantation. Can some trees be pruned or correctively clipped to fit this category? When making an inventory of your plantation you may want to consider even marking potential crop trees, especially if you have already thinned at least once. This will give you a real indication of whether there is a need to correctively clip other damaged trees. Remember, if your plantation has not yet been thinned the first thinning will remove up to 1/3 of the stand usually 1 row in every four and 1 tree out of every 5-9 in the adjacent rows. It is very difficult to go through a young plantation that has crown closure to inventory or to do any corrective work. It is very effective to correctively clip your plantation that has not yet had closure to ensure a single leader and a straight stem. In your thinning program you need to ensure a commercial product to make it viable, hopefully at least sawlogs. Can you prune damaged leaders to improve the chances for 1-2 sawlogs? Can you prune to encourage one leader to a height of 9 feet or a height of 17 feet to produce 1-2 sawlogs? 7-8

9 Points to Remember — 2 What were the silvicultural objectives for the plantation? What do you want? When looking at the future for the plantation don’t forget what I would call the silvicultural objectives for the plantation. Is the site fragile? Are the soils shallow? Is it sand or clay? Is site protection important? Is it a nurse crop only? Should I consider starting the stand conversion now because there is regeneration present? Should I consider replanting with an appropriate species? What other factors need to be considered? convert now Replant with conifers 7-9

10 Species and their Roles
Red pine “nurse crop” to provide a suitable micro site for the development of a hardwood understory provide an excellent range of forest products good return on investment usually not part of natural forest on site after the final harvest White pine “nurse crop” as above but will be part of future natural forest on site Just a little refresher on how and why certain species are used in plantation management. What is a nurse crop? Trees that provide the shelter, shade and moist conditions that other species need to grow. The natural hardwood forest is best established this way on old field sites. It does best with an overstory. 7-10

11 Species and their Roles
Jack pine “nurse crop” for those difficult sites able to capture shallow dry sites provide site protection may provide suitable environment for invasion of hardwoods little opportunity for forest products Jack pine is one of the few species that can survive the extremes of site conditions on the very shallow soils over limestone bedrock in Eastern Ontario. Few other species have the capacity to quickly utilize the cracks and crevices for anchoring and moisture to withstand the dry conditions. 7-11

12 Red Pine — Older Plantations
Damage can be total — domino effect Partial loss needs to be designed into thinning The Forest Recovery Assistance Program was designed to help those with commercially viable conifer plantations with site clean-up so that the owner can replant. Destruction had to be virtually total. With partial loss need to look at working the loss into the thinning program. Unfortunately plantations which had recently been thinned seemed to suffer the greatest loss because the remaining trees had not yet taken advantage of the increased growth to stabilize and strengthen the stem. Where there are pockets of total destruction the emphasis should be on removal of any merchantible material for own use and reducing the height of the slash to promote decomposition. These areas can be treated as openings for operations, wildlife and treated as such. They can be replanted with an appropriate species that will become part of the new stand if suitable regen is not already available. Start conversion process sooner 7-12

13 Red Pine — Younger Plantations
Prune for leader to make 2 sawlogs Clip all branches except one in top whorl Design thinning to remove trees with broken tops Beyond the height of 2 sawlogs it is not feasible to clip branches. In younger plantations it may be advantageous to ensure only one leader. Prune all other branches but one to ensure only one leader. Prune to just above the collar and clip broken stub to a 45 degree angle to reduce size of wound and promote healing. There may be 50% of the trees damaged so that it is impossible or not feasible to correct-clip every one. The next thinning should focus on those with broken leaders to remove them from the plantation. It may be necessary to change the goals to reflect the fact that fewer poles may be present for the final harvest than was planned. Not pruning could create “spike knots” as shown on the right. This condition is caused by more than one leader with one gradually winning but leaving an angled branch to eventually die and create a weak spot in the tree. Such a knot disqualifies a tree as a pole. If damage is severe enough it may be necessary to start the conversion process sooner than anticipated and forego the chance for high value products. 7-13

14 White Pine Variable damage in plantations up to 15 metres
Compounded by heavy weevil damage Enough crop trees? Is pruning an option? Patience Many of the younger white pine plantations were seriously affected by ice damage. Most plantations are severely damaged by weevil with in excess of 50% of trees with multiple leaders. Some plantations have 80-90% trees affected by ice and weevil. Question - are there enough potential crop trees or are there enough trees which could be restored through clipping/pruning? 7-14

15 Jack Pine Nurse crop for hardwood invasion
On older sites hardwoods usually present Damage on jack pine will actually release hardwoods Clean trails and reduce fire hazard without injuring hardwoods Many jack pine plantations were seriously affected through broken tops and bent trees. It is important to clear access and any trails. Consider carefully any potential action before proceeding as there is probably a strong advance regeneration well established. Any chance for a marketable crop may be jeopardized but the understory may experience strong growth with the thinning of the crown closure. 7-15

16 Tamarack/Larch clip In many cases top 1-2 metres broken off tress metres high Original planting survival sometimes low May need clipping Broken stub could be trimmed to allow tree to “heal” sooner Many larch lost a portion of their crown with little other damage. The odd tree was severely bent with little hope of recovery.Remove these trees. In some areas the damage appeared more obvious because there is a low survival rate from the original planting and 50+% of the remaining trees had leader damage. The branches are not in whorls and are found more or less continuously along the main stem. In most cases there is a branch close to the broken stub which will probably take over as the leader. In many cases the “stub” may be several inches long thus preventing the tree from healing over and straightening out for a long period. If it is reasonable to do so, clip the stub to just above the branch to take over as leader with the clipped surface at 45 degrees to the vertical. See diagram under pruning techniques. 7-16

17 White Spruce Little to no damage
Where leaders broken, clip all but one lateral to ensure only one leader Consider early thinning White spruce seemed to survive the storm very well. Only a few cases of leader damage or bent trees which would result in very little impact over the entire stand. Survival is probably a more important issue with many plantations below an acceptable stocking level for forestry purposes. 7-17

18 Why Prune Broken Tops? Tree has one leader Clean stub — healing
Increase log length Pruning is carried out to increase the potential for marketable products as the tree matures. By ensuring the tree has one leader, at least for 5 metres, enhances the potential for sawlogs. By encouraging a tree to reach its natural height increases the potential for poles and material for log houses. A tree attempts to “compartmentalize” a wound area to restrict the opportunity for infection. Pruning the stub to a 45 degree angle minimizes the surface area to compartmentalize and encourages water to run off rather than being absorbed. 7-18

19 How to Prune Pruning cuts should be made just outside the branch collar Large branches should be removed by 3 step method Cuts in leader should be at 45 degrees or along a branch bark ridge There are many brochures available as pruning guides. They all caution against pruning too close to the branch collar and causing more damage than what was there in the beginning. Large branches can be a problem if not taken down using the 3-step method. Leaders are always cut to a 45 degree angle to maximize the water shedding and minimize the healing surface. 7-20

20 When to Prune Prune live branches in dormant season
Late winter or early spring before leaf formation Maximizes growth and wound closure Remove diseased or dead branches any time The presenter needs to highlight those points that are important to the audience. 7-21

21 Pruning Equipment Use proper tools Clean and sharpen
Comes with extension poles for pruning to 17 feet Using the proper tools will not only make the task easier but will also do a better job. Make sure your equipment is cleaned regularly to avoid the chance of infecting trees with diseases from other trees. Sharp equipment makes the job easier, faster, safer. Sharp equipment makes smoother cuts, easier for the tree to compartmentalize. In pruning to increase potential for sawlogs you will need a pole saw with clipping ability. Most pole saws can be purchased with extensions that allow you to prune up to 17 feet in a tree. This will allow for 2- 8 foot sawlogs. 7-22

22 In Summary Assess the whole health of trees and plantation
Review goals Develop action plan Review annually Do any corrective work in dormant season Concentrate Work on crop trees Cut slash close to ground Use proper tools 7-23

23 Conifer Plantation Management Workshops
Have been funded by: Ministry of Natural Resources and Eastern Ontario Model Forest through The Stewardship Program Prepared by Bill Hardy, Hardy Consulting Layout and design by the LandOwner Resource Centre 7-24

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