Forestry Mulching Cedars

Discussion in 'Deer Management, Habitat & Conservation' started by Jamos09, Jan 20, 2018.

  1. Jamos09

    Jamos09 Member

    50
    Oct 12, 2016
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    We own around 220 acres near Truman Lake that we only use for turkey/mushroom/deer hunting. The property is all forest, but for a power line right-of-way, and hasn't been logged in 40-plus years. We have a couple of large mature cedar thickets. The thickets have nothing growing on the ground under the trees due to the closed canopy.

    This winter we hired an outfit to "forestry mulch" about 8 acres of the cedar thickets. They left hardwoods and some cedars that were greater than 10 inches in diameter. Our hope is to improve the habitat by adding new edge habitat, produce more natural browse, and clear enough area to added a couple of food plots. We currently have one food plot under the right-of-way that has always been super fun to hunt over. There is zero agriculture within several miles of our property.

    I will update this thread this spring, summer, and fall to document the natural regrowth of the disturbed area. Our worst fear is the area continues to look like a giant mulch bed for years to come. In addition, we are concerned that we may have destroyed some of our best bedding areas. Our concerns were out weighed by our belief that the heard would benefit more by the regrowth and our belief that we have plenty of other bedding habitat. Time will obviously tell us if we made the correct choice. I pray that we have some natural grass seed left in the seed bank to help get the new growth started this spring. I hope this thread is able to provide others helpful information to help manage their own properties.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018
  2. Mailman

    Mailman Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    Blue Springs Mo
    From a bit of research on forestry mulching this seems to be the way to go. No disturbance of the ground if it were bull dozed and all of the mulch chopped up my the mulcher goes back into the ground over time. Even after the mulcher leaves the area it is ready for planting what ever you want to plant. Running a disc over the area will help to mix in the dirt with the mulch left by the cutter. No stumps to break a brush hog later on. After watching a few youtube videos this seems to be a win win for man and wildlife. Keep us posted on how this turns out.

    Long video but cool to watch as the operator takes down some Missouri oak trees. Wish it was a couple minutes longer to see if he takes out the two wooden tree stands you can see on the next few trees ahead of the mulcher. Just an FYI...this is a 9 foot wide head but the fish eye camera lens makes it look smaller.

     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018
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  3. Jamos09

    Jamos09 Member

    50
    Oct 12, 2016
    Most of the stumps are actually ground below the soil level.

    I am also concerned with what will happened to the nitrogen level of the soil if we disc the mulch. Apparently the decomposition of the chips can use a lot of nitrogen. We are not going to plant any plots until early next fall.
     
  4. Mailman

    Mailman Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    Blue Springs Mo
    I might be wrong but I think cedar decomposes slower than other trees even if chipped up so maybe a bit of bobcat blade work on the surface to remove the big chunks of cedar but leave as much of the dirt will be helpful.

    I know my spring harrow takes out a lot of debris on my food plot pulled by my ATV even after mowing down the big stuff.
     
    Jamos09 likes this.
  5. oneshot 1

    oneshot 1 Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2003
    Ozarks
    I think you will find your soil will need Lime and it will take 6 months to work.

    oneshot

    :D Can see the Big Grin better.
     
  6. Sully

    Sully Bait Plotter Extraordinar

    Aug 28, 2007
    Truman lake , MO
    Awesome !!!! What did the soil look like in those cedar thickets ?
     
  7. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Member

    495
    Oct 30, 2006
    Joplin
    If you don't mind me asking, how much did that cost an hour. I would be interested in something like that.
     
  8. bajabill

    bajabill BDR529

    Feb 16, 2012
    East Central MO
    How about burning in a couple of years.
     
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  9. Muleskinner

    Muleskinner Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2006
    Osage County
    Cedar chips will be there for many years. If it was very thick I would think it will create a mat that will need something done with it.
     
  10. Jamos09

    Jamos09 Member

    50
    Oct 12, 2016
    They didn't didn't charge by the hour, but bid on the job and it wasn't cheap. Part of the expense is hauling the equipment to your property so the job price, in part, will be the distance they have to travel. Let me know if you want the contact information. It was given to me by Sully.
     
  11. Jamos09

    Jamos09 Member

    50
    Oct 12, 2016
    That is certainly a concern. I hope that that grass, forbs, and new growth starts popping up this spring and nothing has to be done, but I have my doubts. I hope this thread provides information on the aftermath to others considering this project.
     
  12. Jamos09

    Jamos09 Member

    50
    Oct 12, 2016

    Pretty good layer of black stuff on the top where the needles have decomposed. I haven't run a test on it yet.
     
  13. Jamos09

    Jamos09 Member

    50
    Oct 12, 2016
    Burning the chips? Might be hard after the dirt gets into them.

    We are hoping we don't have to do anything. If the mat is too thick for new growth we will harrow them into piles and hope that helps compost them, but at a minimum it will allow sun to reach the ground. I want to disturb the soil as little as possible because it appears to be good, and I don't want it to run off. The mulch will certainly keep it in place.
     
  14. Sully

    Sully Bait Plotter Extraordinar

    Aug 28, 2007
    Truman lake , MO
    Wouldn't surprise me a bit if you could get some clover established this spring on some spots ...
     
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  15. Jamos09

    Jamos09 Member

    50
    Oct 12, 2016
    Would you try to frost seed in March, or disc and spread in April/May?
     
  16. Mailman

    Mailman Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    Blue Springs Mo
    I remember when I was a kid my grandpa telling me that if land was growing cedars on it the dirt wasn't all that good. More or less if nothing else will grow cedars will. Pretty much true on my property. But with todays technology you can grow about anything about anywhere.
     
  17. Sully

    Sully Bait Plotter Extraordinar

    Aug 28, 2007
    Truman lake , MO
    Don't know id I would disc ... you have had a lot of surface soil disturbance and since clover seed is so small I would either frost seed now ( or March ) if you believe the mulch has enough soil mixed in OR use a tractor / skid steer bucket to scrap off some of the mulch and and simply broadcast. Either way I'd use a strap or layering pattern , letting the edges go native then clover then your main plot crop .

    I have a sneaking suspicion on your main crop if it is no tilled in even with the mulch present you will be able to get a substantial stand may just have to pour the lime and N to it heave the first year
     
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  18. Jamos09

    Jamos09 Member

    50
    Oct 12, 2016
    I do think there is a lot of truth to that belief. However, I believe this specific cedar thicket established itself in an old field that used to be farmed 40-plus years ago. The soil isn't the rocky ridge stuff that you find around other cedar thickets.

    I'm not saying the soil is great either because if it was the farm wouldn't have been abandoned. The soil also has the benefit of decades of composted pine-needles on top of it. In addition, there is a spring fed creek that runs most of the year along one edge of the project that good soil has accumulated next to. The whole project slopes from the yellow outline in the map to the red outline. The spring is at the top of the map in the red outline.
     
  19. Sully

    Sully Bait Plotter Extraordinar

    Aug 28, 2007
    Truman lake , MO
    Well there is some truth to that however what I've found is in old grown up cedar thickets that the composting of 20 -30 + years can produce some very good soil and as Jamo09 is doing by keeping it in place ( with the mulch ) and as I have done with the projects I've done some pretty nice plots can be established ! Row crop production is different then easy to grow small acreage plots of wheat and rye
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
    Mailman likes this.
  20. Sully

    Sully Bait Plotter Extraordinar

    Aug 28, 2007
    Truman lake , MO
    I chase the tree trimming guys around all the time to get wood chips for garden mulch and my deep litter chicken run ... I keep a huge pile and a lot of what is chipped is cedar . You would be amazed how quickly it breaks down . Organic matter in the soil around here is always a plus .

    I'm sure the first year is going to be the biggest challenge but certainly not something that is not surmountable