Success With Tree Planting


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Presentation for prospective tree planters given as part of University of Wisconsin-Extension/Wisconsin DNR Learn About Your Land woodland owner class series.

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  • Goals need to be realistic, but it is your land, so shoot for your goals. May need to be flexible. You have to work with the land you have.
  • Fulfill multiple goals with good planning. Add row of spruce to windbreak for wildlife, row of pines for quick growth. Row of shrubs for wildlife and aesthetics. Consider timber value. Whether you plan to harvest or not, grandkids may have different ideas. May as well plant commercial species if they meet other goals.
  • What’s there now? Are your goals realistic for conditions?
  • From air photos or FSA maps. NRCS website. Always needed- matter of degree needed to determine method. Spacing? Terrain– will some need to be handplanted? If so, how many? Double duty as access roads. Don’t be stingy. Critical to have proper spacing. Lets you visualize planting. Air photo or topo will work fine.
  • Not a finished product, but will get you asking the right questions when you meet your forester. Helps you clarify your goals.
  • Some trees may survive outside natural range, but won’t likely reach full potential. Fun to experiment, but don’t get carried away. Warming- if at southern extreme of range now, may be poor choice for future e.g. red pine, hemlock, yellow birch, etc
  • Consult NRCS website. Previous land use important. Compaction? Severe topsoil loss? Low fertility?
  • Not all sites suitable for timber production. Steep south slopes may be better managed as goat prairie/pasture. Check for remnant prairie species.
  • Old ag field. Silt loam soils but west facing slope. Same field much better on NE facing portion. Poor weed control- heavy brome grass competition for water and nutrients.
  • Note tighter spacing- canopy closing. Mowing between rows. Good historical weed control.
  • Grasses alleliopathic. Also very severe competition for moisture in early years before tree root system established. Dead sod preferable to bare ground or live sod. Tall weeds can hide trees from deer but harbor rabbits & mice. Grass thatch will lead to vole problems- difficult for trees to recover.
  • Most damage above ground in field plantings (meadow voles). Worse in years with steady snow cover. Tree may resprout if root collar undamaged. Underground damage harder to detect (pine voles). May be mole-like tunnels, but deeper. Tree dies.
  • Mainly a problem of light soils formerly in sod. Look for trees dying suddenly in patches. May be signs of skunks digging if lots of grubs. If field known to have high grub population, may be best to plow and fallow for a year.
  • Most limiting factor in planting success in much of Wisconsin, especially for hardwoods. New hardwood shoots a preferred summer food of deer. Conifers browsed in winter. Bud capping may help. Even relatively modest deer population can have negative affect on new plantings. Do not encourage deer into planted area with food plots, etc until trees have gotten past browsing height. Fencing, tree tubes, or repellents may be necessary in areas of high deer population.
  • White pine best suited to most of southern WI. Jack pine restricted to harshest sandy sites. Conifers typically planted as hardwood nurse tree in south or as wildlife plantings. Difficult to market small stock (thinnings). New markets may develop (biomass) making conifers more commercially viable in south.
  • Black oak very susceptible to oak wilt. Aspen and cherry marginal on very sandy sites, but have good wildlife value.
  • Walnut should be considered for well drained, fertile, loam/silt loam sites in SW Wisconsin.
  • Red pine ok for sandy loam sites, especially as a nurse tree (harvested at young age). May be somewhat more resistant to deer than PW, and grows faster than spruce so it makes a better trainer for hardwoods.
  • SW WI mix: no red maple. Add river birch and cottonwood. Many species tolerant of flooding, but few actual swamp species in WI. Even hardiest only ‘survive’ in saturated soils. Grow better on sites with good water and adequate drainage.
  • Arrangement- keep it practical. Blocks generally better than random distribution. Spacing- generally more is better. Can always thin later if necessary. -keep rows wide enough for mower Will need access for maintenance, eventual harvest. Double as fire breaks.
  • Note missed spray band.
  • Air photos useful for planning- visualizing finished site.
  • Mechanical- mainly mowing/brushing is SW WI. Chemical- typically a fall burndown with glyphosate, and a pre-emergent (Oust) at planting. Late spring plantings can do well with a pre-plant burndown in spring. CALIBRATE!!! Cover crops- various: winter rye, fescue, wheat, etc. Usually fall plant entire field, then spray out the bands at planting. -Caution: Winter rye/wheat can attract deer to planting and lead to increased winter browse damage. Can also harbor mice is not mowed.
  • Nice wide bands. On canary grass best to kill entire field. Repeat applications of RoundUp may be necessary.
  • Bean stubble (or corn) is excellent site prep, but should still apply a pre-emergent and plant a cover crop. Especially on heavy soils. RoundUp Ready beans a great way to reduce seedbank prior to tree planting.
  • Bare root is the standard. Container and direct seed have niche.
  • Good site prep and follow-up critical. Dependant on seed supply. Stay local! Most effective for walnut.
  • Plugs expensive but great for handplanting in rough terrain. Less prone to transplant shock on harsh, droughty sites. Conifers only.
  • Professional handplanting crews available for big jobs.
  • You’ve got your plans drawn, and stock ordered. Don’t cut corners now.
  • Keep cold as possible (without freezing). Plant as soon as practical. Keep bags/boxes sealed at all times. Do not leave boxes in the sun, for any length of time.
  • Sunlight will heat boxes very quickly, especially brown boxes. Get boxes into shade ASAP.
  • If tree is too small or damaged, then throw it away. -cheaper than spending money to plant a tree not apt to live -bulk orders contain extra trees to account for cull/damaged trees Hardwoods taproot typically short enough. Laterals may need pruning. If tap too long prune conservatively. Better to prune that to not get roots into ground-up to a point. If planter unable to handle stock, get a different planter or hand plant! J-root is no better than planting too shallow.
  • Roots should be balanced with top. Ideal seedling should have at least 5 strong laterals with abundant mycorhyzae. Roots vary by species. Some never a problem, others have poor looking roots but survive ok.
  • Nice red oak seedling. Notice stem caliper and abundant laterals. Taproot already cut by lifter.
  • Weak roots common on tamarack. OK if going into wet site but will likely die in upland planting.
  • Do not leave exposed for any length of time. Root hairs dry out extremely fast. Keep room humid while working (no woodstove).
  • SHADE!
  • Hand- quality more important than speed. Keep roots straight. Machine- Have someone following planter. Well placed boot heel could be difference between success and replanting.
  • Note dirt line. Root collar is below fork.
  • Planter not getting into ground deep enough. Entire planting was shallow. Very high losses. Adjust planter or hand plant. Don’t continue if it’s not working!
  • Reason why someone should be following planter.
  • Many different kinds, with various modifications for handling big stock. Most custom planters in SW WI equipped to handle large seedlings.
  • For accurate stocking estimates, do at least one plot per acre. Fewer ok for spot checks.
  • If root system is in plot, count it. If not, then don’t.
  • Various government programs have different stocking goals. If planting for a cost share program (CRP, CREP, etc), plant to exceed the plan minimum by at least 30-40%. Can always thin later if too thick. Replants far more expensive than getting enough trees in on the first attempt.
  • Many grasses alleleopathic.
  • Bands need to be sprayed. Mowing will help with mice, but probably still a problem on this site.
  • Note date on photo. June 7 and 1 st flush is completely gone. 2 nd already in.
  • Electric fence- bait with peanut butter to train deer to avoid fence.
  • Maintenance important. These tubes need to come off. Note tipped over tree. Spindly.
  • Defoliators generally not a big deal. Usually attack late in season. Most insects not a problem if trees not under stress.
  • Coyotes best mouse and rabbit predator there is. If they are in your tree planting, leave them alone! Rabbits will not be a problem if coyotes active. May also discourage deer from yarding in area. Takes 5-10 voles to fill a coyote’s belly. One vole will feed a small hawk for a couple days.
  • Success With Tree Planting

    1. 1. Success With Tree Planting Learn About Your Land Roger Bohringer DNR, Wilson State Nursery, Boscobel February 6, 2010
    2. 2. Topics we will cover <ul><li>Planning a planting </li></ul><ul><li>Planting trees </li></ul><ul><li>Maintaining a planting </li></ul>
    3. 3. Planning <ul><li>Setting goals </li></ul><ul><li>Site evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Species selection </li></ul><ul><li>Planting design </li></ul><ul><li>Stock selection </li></ul>
    4. 4. Setting Goals <ul><li>What are your goals for your land? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve aesthetics? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase diversity? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create food and cover for wildlife? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Produce timber? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Control erosion? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create windbreaks? </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Setting Goals <ul><li>Matching goals, tree species and site </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wildlife </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>habitat requirements </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>food requirements </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timber production </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>think about high value species </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Windbreaks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>fast growing species (short term goal) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Durability and longevity (long term goal) </li></ul></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Planning: Evaluate Your Site <ul><li>Climate </li></ul><ul><li>Soils </li></ul><ul><li>Competing vegetation </li></ul><ul><li>Topography </li></ul><ul><li>Productivity </li></ul><ul><li>Insects, disease and animals </li></ul>
    7. 7. Planning: Planting Design <ul><li>Develop a tree planting plan that includes: </li></ul><ul><li>Acres </li></ul><ul><li>Soils present </li></ul><ul><li>Site preparation (if needed) </li></ul><ul><li>Planting method (including the number of trees needed) </li></ul><ul><li>Firebreaks (if needed) </li></ul><ul><li>Vegetation control (for next several years) </li></ul><ul><li>A map. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Planting plan for do-it-yourselfers <ul><li>Develop a preliminary plan for your site at: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    9. 9. Planning: Site Evaluation <ul><li>Climate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wisconsin supports a variety of tree species due to wide range of climate conditions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>See range maps in tree ID books. </li></ul></ul>Example of range map for black walnut Example of range map for northern white cedar
    10. 10. Site Evaluation <ul><li>Soil </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Relative sand-silt-clay content? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vary in water and nutrient availability. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>County soil maps general. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Soil testing site best. </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Site Evaluation <ul><li>Topography </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Elevation, slope steepness and aspect. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Productivity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Measure of a land’s ability to grow a given tree species. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In management plan or contact a forester; consult soil survey. </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. 23 year old walnut planting on poor site
    13. 13. 10 year old walnut on good site
    14. 14. Site Evaluation <ul><li>Competing vegetation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All vegetation competes for moisture, nutrients and light. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need plan to control vegetation in open site. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Insects, disease and animals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Which are present that may affect your planting? </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Pests of new tree plantings Rodent damage
    16. 16. Pests of new tree plantings Grubs
    17. 17. Pests of new tree plantings
    18. 18. Species Selection <ul><li>Conifers for Sandy soil </li></ul><ul><ul><li>red pine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>white pine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>jack pine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NOT Scotch pine </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Species Selection <ul><li>Hardwoods for sand </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Degree of sandiness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OAK (red; white; bur; black) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aspen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Red Maple </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>White birch (not commonly planted) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NOT black locust </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Species Selection <ul><li>Hardwoods for upland loam or clay: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maple (sugar, red) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oak (red, white, bur) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Basswood </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yellow birch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Black cherry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Black walnut (on better loam & silt loams) </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Species Selection <ul><li>Conifers for upland loam or clay </li></ul><ul><ul><li>White pine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>White spruce </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>White cedar </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. Wet Soils (Swampy) (frost heave, extreme wet not recommended) <ul><li>Swamp hardwoods (Red maple, Black ash, Green ash, Silver maple, Swamp white oak, River birch) </li></ul><ul><li>Swamp conifers (White cedar, Tamarack, Black spruce, White pine) </li></ul>
    23. 23. Planning: Planting Design <ul><li>Develop a map. Include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Arrangement- pattern or distribution of species across the site. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spacing- depends on species and goals for site (account for mortality & growth). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Roads & access. </li></ul></ul>
    24. 25. Aerial photos for planning
    25. 26. Planning: Site Preparation <ul><li>Mechanical </li></ul><ul><li>Chemical </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contact herbicides </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-emergent herbicides </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cover crops </li></ul>
    26. 27. Good site preparation will make maintenance much easier. Planting trees into dead sod greatly improves survival and reduces first year maintenance.
    27. 29. Planning: Stock Selection <ul><li>Seed source </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Should be from the same region of the country that you are planting in. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Stock type </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2-1: 2 years in seedbed, 1 year in transplant bed at the nursery. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ plug plus”: started in greenhouse in winter. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bare root v. containerized v. direct seeding </li></ul>
    28. 30. Direct seeding may be appropriate and cost effective for your site. Stock Selection
    29. 31. Stock Selection
    30. 33. Planting <ul><li>Stock handling & preparation </li></ul><ul><li>Planting </li></ul>
    31. 34. Planting: Stock Handling <ul><li>Keep trees cool; ideal storage temperature 34 – 36°F. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep trees at humidity levels between 90% and 95%. </li></ul><ul><li>Protect trees from physical damage. </li></ul>Tree seedlings are perishable!
    32. 35. Styrofoam Silver tarp <ul><li>Protect seedlings from heat during transportation </li></ul><ul><li>Refrigerated transportation is first choice </li></ul>
    33. 36. Planting: Preparation <ul><li>Sorting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ungraded orders: remove weak or damaged seedlings. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Root pruning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If the root system is too large, prune. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leave at least 8” of root after pruning. </li></ul></ul>
    34. 38. 8 inches
    35. 39. Tamarack severely root pruned
    36. 40. <ul><li>Prepare seedlings in an enclosed building. </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare seedlings prior to planting day. </li></ul><ul><li>Return seedlings to bag or box after dipping. </li></ul>Planting: Preparation Dip
    37. 41. Planting <ul><li>Take only as many seedlings to the field as you can plant that day (½ day if close). </li></ul><ul><li>~1,000 seedlings per day by hand. </li></ul><ul><li>~5,000 seedlings per day by machine. </li></ul>
    38. 42. Snow Cache <ul><li>Minimize exposure to heat/ sun/ wind at site </li></ul>
    39. 43. Relative Temperatures
    40. 44. Tarp with shiny side down
    41. 46. Planting <ul><li>Hand planting </li></ul><ul><li>Machine planting </li></ul>
    42. 47. <ul><li>1. Create a planting hole large enough for a seedling’s root system </li></ul><ul><li>2. Place the roots straight and hanging freely </li></ul><ul><li>3. Plant the seedling with the root collar at the soil line or no more than ½ inch below the soil. </li></ul><ul><li>4. Pack the soil firmly around the seedling </li></ul>Planting
    43. 49. <ul><li>Depth and root placement </li></ul>
    44. 50. Planting
    45. 51. Planting <ul><li>Too deep </li></ul>
    46. 52. <ul><li>Too shallow </li></ul>Planting
    47. 53. Planting Crooked & Shallow
    48. 54. Planting <ul><li>J-root </li></ul>
    49. 55. County Planters
    50. 57. County Planter
    51. 58. Maintaining a Planting <ul><li>Monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>Weed control </li></ul><ul><li>Insect & animal control </li></ul>
    52. 59. Monitoring <ul><li>Determine survival, stocking levels (# live trees per acre), competing vegetation and the health of your tree planting. </li></ul><ul><li>Identify animal damage and weed competition to address. </li></ul>
    53. 60. Monitoring 1/100th of an acre All you need is a stake and 11’10” of rope!
    54. 61. Monitoring <ul><li>CALCULATIONS FOR CIRCULAR PLOT </li></ul><ul><li>Stocking Level: </li></ul><ul><li>Live Trees x 100 = trees/acre </li></ul><ul><li>Seedling Survival Rate: </li></ul><ul><li>Live Trees/ Total Trees counted X 100= percent of survival </li></ul>
    55. 62. Some Losses are Normal <ul><li>In commercial plantings we typically plant at a rate of 800-1000 trees per acre. </li></ul><ul><li>Goal is to have 600 trees survive to first thinning. </li></ul>
    56. 63. Maintaining: Weed Control <ul><li>Control for at least 3 growing seasons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Herbicides </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mechanical (mowing or disking) </li></ul></ul>
    57. 64. Why Control Competing Vegetation? 1. Increase the amount of sunlight available 2. Increase the amount of available moisture and nutrients 3. Decrease damage from mice and rabbits to hardwood seedlings
    58. 65. With herbicide Without herbicide Weed Control
    59. 66. County Sprayer
    60. 67. Mowing is Critical
    61. 68. Maintaining: DEER! <ul><li>‘ Large’ deer population and heavy browse causes many frustrations. </li></ul><ul><li>Growth and survival problems in new plantings will result, but can be minimized. </li></ul>
    62. 69. Heavy deer browse
    63. 70. Maintaining: DEER! <ul><li>Population control </li></ul><ul><li>Repellents </li></ul><ul><li>Fencing </li></ul><ul><li>Bud caps/netting </li></ul><ul><li>Tubes </li></ul>
    64. 72. Maintaining: Insects & Rodents <ul><li>Insects </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stem and root feeding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shoot or branch pests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Defoliators </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rodents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bark feeders </li></ul></ul>
    65. 73. In hardwood plantings, raptor nesting boxes and perch poles will increase predation of mice and rabbits
    66. 74. Maintaining: Rodents Raptor perches can encourage owls and hawks as a natural pest control.
    67. 75. Perch poles should ideally be 15’ high or higher if practical Use a ½” diameter cross piece 18-24” wide Use one perch pole for every three to five acres of plantings
    68. 76. Woodworking for Wildlife by Carrol L. Henderson Minnesota Bookstore 1-800-657-3757
    69. 77. Maintaining: Rodents <ul><li>Coyotes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide excellent rabbit and mouse control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discourage deer from planting, especially in early summer fawning period when deer do major damage to hardwoods </li></ul></ul>
    70. 78. In Summary <ul><li>Start thinking about your planting 12 -15 months before you want to plant </li></ul><ul><li>Make a plan for your planting site </li></ul><ul><li>Order your trees in time </li></ul>
    71. 79. In Summary <ul><li>Prepare the site prior to receiving your seedlings (usually 8 months prior) </li></ul><ul><li>Keep your seedlings cool and damp before planting </li></ul><ul><li>Properly plant seedlings for best survival </li></ul>
    72. 80. In Summary <ul><li>Care for your seedlings after planting by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protecting from deer, insects, rodents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Control competing vegetation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Monitor the survival of your planting </li></ul>
    73. 81. THANK YOU <ul><li>Questions? </li></ul>