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I have 10 acres of woods on one side of my place. It is really thick with small trees. Biggest trees are maybe 12-13 in in diameter and not a lot of those. Mostly small like 4 inch diameter. I’ve been going through and hinge cutting some and cutting some off. Trying to open the canopy and leave the bigger oaks. It’s a real chore as the trees just fall on each other and it pretty much creates a big brush pile of downed trees. It has created better bedding and the deer used it last year. My main question is should I do something else or just keep going?
 

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I stay out of it except to turkey hunt and do the chainsawing.
I hoping to burn it this spring
To encourage some growth
 
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I stay out of it except to turkey hunt and do the chainsawing.
I hoping to burn it this spring
To encourage some growth
First. I am no expert and my 2 cents may be overpriced.

Second. It depends, what you are trying to do? TSI will improve the released trees and create additional forage and cover by allowing more sunlight to the forest floor. Burning without getting more sunlight to the ground will have minimal results in creating additional food or cover. Dropping the small trees and hitting the stumps with Tordon will ensure they don't resprout. But resprouting does create additional food. The fallen trees will create cover for fawning and turkey nests but at 10 acres it's not enough land to have a huge population impact. We've found having trails in TSI areas allows them ingress and egress trails that you can target for hunting them without entering the property (keep in mind wind direction and scent control).
 

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Make as much of a mess as you can, release/save any trees that are worth anything in that 10. Security/bedding cover should be a jungle so to speak.
Treat any white wood trees with tordon and call it good.
Opening up the canopy will allow whatever natives in the seed bank to come to life as well. Bedroom and buffet in one place is a win.
 

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I had a Wildlife Manager with MDC tell me to burn every 3 years. He told me lots of times the MDC will send a Forester out and he will be against burning because of the trees.

Burning use to be called the Poor Mans Food Plot because it would clear the leaves and small sprouts and bring on New Growth which brings in Game.

oneshot

:D The Big Grin likes the Flowers.
 

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First. I am no expert and my 2 cents may be overpriced.

Second. It depends, what you are trying to do? TSI will improve the released trees and create additional forage and cover by allowing more sunlight to the forest floor. Burning without getting more sunlight to the ground will have minimal results in creating additional food or cover. Dropping the small trees and hitting the stumps with Tordon will ensure they don't resprout. But resprouting does create additional food. The fallen trees will create cover for fawning and turkey nests but at 10 acres it's not enough land to have a huge population impact. We've found having trails in TSI areas allows them ingress and egress trails that you can target for hunting them without entering the property (keep in mind wind direction and scent control).
Burning of wood land is over rated. unless you are a s.e cool aid drinker.
 

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In the southeast it is billed as the thing to do in the pine plantations. Most of Missouri,s wood lands are hardwood plantations. DO YOU WANT TO DESTROY PRIME WALNUT AND WHITE OAK BECAUSE OF FIRE?
A woodland fire can have a fire enter a hollow tree and not reappear for weeks.Then when it does where are you and what is the speed and direction of the wind.There is a liability factor.
There are situations where fire is called for but for the most part those situations are not for ease but for the effect that comes from fire.For example , there is a shrub up here that is called Prickly ash.After heavy timber stand it can take over.While i have not yet determined everything about the shrub i have found that fire puts it in a place where others shrubs also have a chance.
Habitat work is often a art as much as a science.The situation described in the beginning of this thread seemed to be liking the huge mess of edge feathering multiplied by hinge cutting. Most of my hinge cutting is reserved to road s where prying eyes do not need a open shot. If done in other places it might take fire to get rid of but that fire will change the situation into a park not a edge.
Fire is the tool for prairie and savannas.
 

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Not sure what and s.e. cool aid drinker is. Noetheless, I see things differently regarding fire. I'm wanting to have prime habitat for wildlife. I'm not in it as a hardwood plantation. My land has been high grade logged for decades before my brother and I bought it. It needs work to clear the undesireable non timber trees and the removal of unhealthy timber (useless as lumber). There are a lot of young white oaks (White, Chinquapin, Bur, and black) that need the canopy released so they can grow. I had the forester who reviewed the land and recommended doing substantial TSI followed by fire in the respective area 2 years later.

Last year was our first fire (15 acres to learn from). Land that was prior a dead zone for deer now has fresh growth and native grasses. We'll burn it every 2-3 years from this point on. This year we've dropped over 20 acres of cedars, maples, hickories, elms, ashes and any unhealthy oaks so far. To be fair the high majority of the trees we're taking down are cedars. Without fire the fallen cedars will rot so slowly they'll smother the ground we're hoping to reinvigorate. Even worse they could become secure locations for cedars and other undesirable trees to sprout up from. Fire is about the best way to keep glades healthy as well as kill off young cedars and knock back young maples and other sapplings.

Are other trees going to be killed in the process? Yep, undoubtedly there will be some collateral damage. But, I'm willing to trade that knowing only really hot fires (summer) damage healthy mature trees. Is there risk with fire? Oh yeah there is! Get yourself trained to minimize this risk and stay safe. Set up a burn plan and follow it. For 500 acres that's 80% timbered with full canopy fire is going to be a tool my brother and I will use regularly. It's simply too large to try to mechanically control. There's a new organization starting up in our lands neck of the woods called the Upper Osage Prescribed Burn Assocation (UOPBA) specifically designed to help landowners with prescribed burns. To me fire is a completely underutilized tool that goes hand in hand with TSI and habitat improvement.
 

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Not sure what and s.e. cool aid drinker is. Noetheless, I see things differently regarding fire. I'm wanting to have prime habitat for wildlife. I'm not in it as a hardwood plantation. My land has been high grade logged for decades before my brother and I bought it. It needs work to clear the undesireable non timber trees and the removal of unhealthy timber (useless as lumber). There are a lot of young white oaks (White, Chinquapin, Bur, and black) that need the canopy released so they can grow. I had the forester who reviewed the land and recommended doing substantial TSI followed by fire in the respective area 2 years later.

Last year was our first fire (15 acres to learn from). Land that was prior a dead zone for deer now has fresh growth and native grasses. We'll burn it every 2-3 years from this point on. This year we've dropped over 20 acres of cedars, maples, hickories, elms, ashes and any unhealthy oaks so far. To be fair the high majority of the trees we're taking down are cedars. Without fire the fallen cedars will rot so slowly they'll smother the ground we're hoping to reinvigorate. Even worse they could become secure locations for cedars and other undesirable trees to sprout up from. Fire is about the best way to keep glades healthy as well as kill off young cedars and knock back young maples and other sapplings.

Are other trees going to be killed in the process? Yep, undoubtedly there will be some collateral damage. But, I'm willing to trade that knowing only really hot fires (summer) damage healthy mature trees. Is there risk with fire? Oh yeah there is! Get yourself trained to minimize this risk and stay safe. Set up a burn plan and follow it. For 500 acres that's 80% timbered with full canopy fire is going to be a tool my brother and I will use regularly. It's simply too large to try to mechanically control. There's a new organization starting up in our lands neck of the woods called the Upper Osage Prescribed Burn Assocation (UOPBA) specifically designed to help landowners with prescribed burns. To me fire is a completely underutilized tool that goes hand in hand with TSI and habitat improvement.
Very well said. A lot of our current herbaceous species are adapted to fire and respond favorably if the fire is conducted in a safe, low intensity manner. I would agree that if you are growing timber to produce merchantable timber, then fire needs to be excluded from those acres, but a lot of our landscape historically had fire introduced into those systems and can be a great tool to improve wildelife habitat.
 
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I think when it comes to tsi, there are different routes you can take to achieve the same goal which is to get new grown and to improve the timber overall. Whether that is for habitat purposes, timber production, or both; that will determine the path you take.

My opinion is that what you are doing is what should be done on the small acreage of timber. You don't want to clear it out and don't want to create a total mess that anything cannot use it beside small game and varmints. I would make sure to hinge cut most of them chest high so that deer can create path through it. Your goal is habitat so do what you think is good. You can always come back through and cut more over the next few years after things decay and fall; creating more cover and light hitting the ground.
 

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Just my suggestion. I would cut all of the trees off at the waist or lower. Burn the stand if you can. However, get a PLC to look at it with you to determine if that is the best practice. If it isn't a woodland, but a forest rather then I might not recommend burning. However, burning of your woodlands can create just as much tonnage of browse as an intensively managed clover plot.
 

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