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Should I cut popple growth
My property was select cut years ago and the new growth of popple is now 40ft tall. Minimal sunlight reaches the ground therefore it is pretty open with no browse, bedding area, or side cover. My question is do I cut as many of these down as I can and just let them lay on the ground to open up the canopy for new browse to emerge? What are my best options. I have a 40 acre chunk in a great location I just need to make some improvements. I'm guessing half of my property is these 40 ft tall popple trees 3-4 inches in diameter. Any input is appreciated.
Popple on good ground comes back at up to 100,000 shoots per acre. Since they have competed down to where they are 3-4" diameter you probably have 20+ years before they are commercially valuable. To get any regrowth when cutting you will have to make fairly large openings and even then you'll probably only get popple, which is a good browse for 5-6 years.
Simply thinning won't do what you want and will probably cause the standing trees to bush out more.
In my opinion you should work with a local Forrester. If you review your goals the answers can vary a lo0t basted on your time frame and financial capabilities. My gut feel is you should thin the existing trees and plant some other kinds of trees . Popular is a fast growing tree and gives cover quickly but matures quickly too. Think about your goals then consult someone more knowledgeable than me.
Don’t plan on planting in a deciduous forest. It will be a waste of time unless you cut everything and Grub out the stumps in the areas you are planting. I understand the thinking. But, it’s not reality unless you get intensive with the money and time you’ll spend getting the planted trees up. Then they’ll never compete in any forester area. If your goal is a Savannah type setting it’ll work. Forested like that, it’ll never work.
I would definitely find a forester and talk with him. If you have pulp mills, it sounds like you’ve got a prime opportunity to do a little TSI work. Especially if it’s ground a feller buncher can run on.
As LKH stated, you’ll likely find out that removing a good portion of your co dominant canopy, is going to epicormic damage your remaining stand. Plus, leave it susceptible to wind damage. But, you can compromise and get acceptable results concerning your timber stand and you g succession.
A forester can determine the amount of residual stand you want to leave in the canopy to minimize both of the above mentioned scenarios. A trusty logger could too. Just be sure he’s got your goals factored in versus just his.
To explain it a little better, All commercial logging is a volume related procedure. That’s what is going to determine your cut prescription by the forester. West Vaco was probably the premiere land manager in these parts. They would thin their better timber stands the first time within 10-15 years of initial clear cutting. They’d do it again in another 10 years. Then again in another 12-15 years. Then harvest mature timber for a couple rotations every 15 years. Clear cut it and start again. They logged Covington pulp mill doing that in areas that average 65% slope. And sold off their grade timber. All this was based on site index and such. That’s where your forester is going to come in.
He will tell you what’s your best option and help you develop a plan that has the best compromises for your goals. Good luck and God Bless.