Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Are My Woods Healthy?

Forest Stewardship News release posted on September 23, 2008. Written by: Craig, Janet, and Tara Olver the 2008 Pennsylvania Tree Farmers of the Year. Their Tree Farm "Tall Timbers" is located in Wayne County, Pennsylvania.

"The health of your woods is determined by several factors," explains Tree Farmer Craig Olver. Trees are really good about expanding their crowns to fill available space. Barring major human or ecological impact, most forested sites are chockfull of trees and plants filling up growing space and taking advantage of available sunlight and nutrients. But there are a few factors to look for in your forestland when considering its health and vitality.
First you need to consider soils. Good soil can grow big healthy trees. If your woods have more trees than the soil can support, this will result in poor or slow tree growth. Applying fertilizer can offset some soil nutrition problems; however, the cost can be high and the return in the distant future. The most economical method to encourage tree growth is timber stand improvement harvest. As your trees get bigger, they need more room for root and tree branch expansion. "Soils across the state can grow some of the best trees in the world," touts Olver. But the trees must have space below ground for their roots to grow and reach available nutrients and water -- this may mean removing some of the trees and reallocating their space to others.
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