A Proud Tree Hugger


| 6/11/2015 9:21:00 AM


Tags: wood lots, Bruce McElmurray, Colorado,

Eleven acres of heavily wooded land and the wood lot maintenance seems to never end in keeping it clean and non combustible. Since the land is steeply sloped doing the woodlot maintenance with our tractor is out of the question. It is steep and rocks of all sizes are everywhere therefore we have to keep it maintained using nothing but physical muscular power. There are many considerations to employ as we maintain our woods. This blog will embrace some of those considerations and how we maintain our thick woods.

dead trees 002.jpg

I have been called derogatorily a “tree hugger” by a few people. They think that will bother me in a demeaning way but on the contrary I take it as a compliment and am extremely proud of my stance on the environment. I’m sure I have earned some negative comments since I opposed the blockage of a viable creek without having first obtained governmental permission and spraying 2,4,D Amine 4, where it is hazardous to humans, pets and our abundant wild animals. I have found that many people are quite content to allow destruction of our environment as long as someone else will speak out against it. Most people avoid controversy and take the low road in opposing environmental damage. I also would like to avoid conflict when possible but when it comes to the destruction of our finite resources my core being just won’t allow for me to remain silent or acquiesce to potential permanent damage. “Proud to be a tree hugger!”

This core instinct also plays a large role in sensibly maintaining our wood lot. Our trees are Fir, Spruce, Pine, and Aspen. We have some trees that are up to 30 inches in diameter at the base and the rest tend to taper down in size to saplings. We started almost two decades ago by cutting branches from trees to about 18 feet high and then mulching the limbs. Our community also provides sites where we can haul our branches and small trees and stack them where they can be safely burned when there is snow on the ground. By trimming branches we were then more able to maneuver through the woods and could address the thinning of trees. We started near the house and worked over the years in concentric rings working further and further out. We dislike cutting a live tree unless it poses a threat to our home or is in danger of falling. Sometimes it is necessary for the overall health of surrounding trees in spite of our reluctance to cutting a live tree.

We cut many of the dead trees and found in doing so that opened up the woods considerably and made cutting live trees less necessary. Some trees have and continue to die from old age, some from beetle infestation, some from over crowding and some for no apparent reason. Survival of trees in a semi arid environment makes it hard to thrive to begin with and over crowding compounds good growth. We have noticed that trees which have grown weak from over crowding tend to be prone to infestation by insects. While they are a good food source for woodpeckers we prefer to remove them. The larger trees we cut into logs and mill out lumber for various projects. The remainder of the trees are cut up for firewood. Some we burn ourselves and some we give away to friends, charitable groups, or those who sell firewood. We are only part way through the concentric rings but we have been taking it a section at a time making steady progress.

We have noticed that as we clear some of the small trees and dead trees that the remaining trees become more healthy and also the ground supports more wild grasses and undergrowth. Many people in our area heat with wood to either stay warm in the winter (as we do) or for the ambiance of having a wood fire. By removing dead or dying trees the remaining trees become stronger and are able to fend off disease, insects and wind plus heavy snow. It was very daunting when we first started to maintain our wood lot but by taking it one section at a time it has started to produce dividends. We now have more wildlife and more birds because they have clear corridors to walk and fly through. The animals have a better sight line and often bed down on our property without fear of a predator sneaking up on them.

correysmith321
9/17/2015 5:28:12 PM

Oh hey, the same tasks that you did sure is something that I've seen being done at my father's work. Tree trimming is what the both of us did several months ago. Since he was put in charge of about 20 group of tree we each had to prune the branches as well as trim them. http://www.edmondstree.com/SERVICES/





mother earth news fair

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!

LEARN MORE