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scrimshaw33
12-01-2010, 09:42 PM
Well, I took the plunge mentally and am going to convert 35 acres of open ground this winter to loblolly pines. 8 x 10 ft. spacing has been recommended to me by my planter-dude.

I figure if I get closed canopy I can thin the stand or hingecut for bedding and also will consider controlled burns.

I've prepared all 35 acres for SG which should suit the pines well since they have been planted in roundup read (RUR) crops for the past two years.

Nothing against, SG or NWSGs, but I'm going to promote these grasses within the stand of pines, or perhaps in future thinnings in 1-5 acre patches as the trees get taller.

brushpile
12-01-2010, 10:40 PM
That's quail cover, bedding, and double thermal protection. Sounds like a good plan. Curious how you are going to go about it.

hamptonlawyer
12-01-2010, 10:54 PM
8 x 10 is 544 trees per acre. That is good for timber production, but it exceeds the maximum number of trees per acre recommended for wildlife. The problem with thinning is that you will get a closed canopy at about age 5 and you will not be able to thin until around age 15. That's 10 years where that area will basically be worthless for wildlife. Pine tree desert as it is referred to here.

You might consider longleaf if it will grow in your area (not sure exactly where in NC you are). It is much more wildlife friendly as it allows a lot more light to hit the ground than loblolly and you also can burn it at an earlier age. You might also consider backing off on the spacing to perhaps 10 x 10, which is 435 trees per acre and the maximum recommended for wildlife enhancement.

hamptonlawyer
12-01-2010, 11:02 PM
Example:

How much do you see in these pines for a deer to eat?

scrimshaw33
12-02-2010, 12:02 AM
I hear ya. Longleaf, according to the range map, is to the East of me, so out of the question. I'm sure it could survive here, but Loblolly is all people plant here for production and it does well here so I'll stick with it.

I guess I was considering 8 x10 and then what about hinging every other row, or would I be better off just spacing wider to begin with? The price difference is negligible.

What's the min spacing for wildlife compared to the 10 x 10 max you gave me?

There's no doubt the stand will be used for future revenue, but wildlife on my farm will still take priority and I'd have no issues with hinging trees with losing out on future revenue to create cover.

I guess the question is, would it be better to do the wider spacing first or thin later by manual hinging? Also another thing to consider is just mortality of seedlings and obviously you might have a greater rate of survival with the more trees/smaller spacing of pines.

hamptonlawyer
12-02-2010, 12:27 AM
15 x 15 which is 194 trees per acre. What you sacrifice here is timber production and quality. Loblolly is not good at self pruning and tends to be limby at wider spacings, which generally makes poor quality timber for saw log purposes.

I have no experience hinge cutting loblolly. I see where it would work for hardwoods that coppice from the roots, but I suspect most loblolly that is hingecut would die. Again, not certain on that.
I would try to pick a happy medium on the spacing, burn early and often, and thin as soon as you can. Maybe you can get a chipper in when the trees are 12 or so and get it thinned early.

scrimshaw33
12-02-2010, 12:32 AM
I was doing a little more online research and it looks like 10 x 10 or 10 x 12 spacing is ideal for loblolly for wildlife and production.

I wish I could grow white pine. I live in central NC and there are some stands South of me that are viable, but I think it's somewhat of a gamble. My planter says they might last 15 years and then begin to die. Another option that is a little better than loblolly also is shortleaf pine which will grow well here.

White pine though, spaced something like 12 x 12 would be awesome.

Younghunter
12-02-2010, 12:38 AM
You can't hinge pine... they will just snap. But you can cut them down and make some nice brush piles. I did just what you are talking about in our pine plantation. I really wish the pines on our property were planted much further apart. I can share similar pictures... and it has created a lot more work for me to go back and try to correct the problem. I don't think I would have done this by design.

I think hampton lawyer meant 10x10 is the minimum spacing for wildlife. 8x10 will be fine until those trees start to close canopy. Then you will have to go in and thin. You could save money and work by initially going with a larger spacing and then doing something in between the rows.

Is timber production part of the goal? Or are you just looking for wildlife habitat. If it's just wildlife habitat, I would go with a very large spacing, especially if you are considering intermixing warm season grasses after the trees get taller.

-Matt

Younghunter
12-02-2010, 12:45 AM
I was doing a little more online research and it looks like 10 x 10 or 10 x 12 spacing is ideal for loblolly for wildlife and production.

If that's what is recommended... then I would personally choose the 10 x 12 and even consider 10 x 15. That's just my opinion...

-Matt

Hoseman
12-02-2010, 09:35 AM
I think that picture is a little misleading as there has most likely been some type of herbicide applied to take out competing trees, shrubs, weeds, etc for a purely commercial stand for maximum pine growth. Most cutovers in our area are replanted with loblolly pines and none of them look like this picture. There are other types of trees, vines, bushes, and various other plants that thrive within young pine plantations. Thus creating extremely thick vegetation with some natural browse growing within. Some of these pine thickets are so thick it is very difficult to even walk through without getting torn up by the briars and that is just the way the deer like them. By about year 15-17 the canopy does begin to shade out some of the undergrowth but that is about the time to thin them anyways. The landscape in our area is dominated by various aged pine plantations and make up more than 90% of woods which makes for tough hunting but excellent habitat. You know the deer are in there you just can't see them.

FL Forester
12-02-2010, 11:07 AM
Even if you planted 544 trees per acre you will probably not have that many survive. The planting density is a balance between your wildlife goals and any potential timber revenue goals that you have. Other have stated that loblolly is not a good self pruning species unless grown fairly close together. On good soils you should be able to do a comercial thinning in about 12-15 years. This allows you to recover the money you spent on planting as well as allow more light to the forest floor for grasses and herbs.

scrimshaw33
12-02-2010, 11:38 AM
So should I plant thick and then go back and thin on my own depending on survival after a few years? I know traditionally a thinning would be done after 10-15 years with machinery, but I could go in with pruning sheers on only 35 acres and remove those that I don't want. The price I was quoted I thought was pretty good: $75, $71, and $68 for 8 x 10, 10 x 10, and 10 x 12 spacing including Oust application at 4 oz/acre at planting, also including trees and labor.

So, I'd only save $245 if I planted at 10 x 12 for 35 acres. I'm just wondering if I should plant thicker and then thin on my own to create pockets of NWSGs, etc. as well as possibly food plot lanes and/or travel lanes for deer where pines will be removed anyway.

I would like a good balance b/t great wildlife habitat and timber revenue whatever spacing that might be.

ALwoodsman
12-02-2010, 12:07 PM
Scrimshaw, the pines that I planted I did on a 6x10 spacing. This is what a forester recomended. I know they are more concerned with timber production but he also is a deerhunter and knew that I was doing this for wildlife purposes. I also have a friend that has been planting pines every year for about seven years now and he thought that would be a good spacing also. Partly because deer would begin to rub them and many would die because of this. My thoughts are similar to yours in the fact that I plan on opening areas in the center of my pines and allow them to grow in briars and grasses. I am also planting cedars around the outside of the pines for aditional cover. You can also take a bushhog to small pines if you want to cut trails, shooting lanes, or open some areas up. Keep us posted I am interested in hearing more ideas.

huntingpharmacist
12-02-2010, 12:11 PM
This was about 12 year old stand at the time. This picture was about 3 years ago. Since then the trees have grown larger and the conopy has closed. Not as much forage on the bottom now as then. Zero herbicide use. Not sure of the spacing either.

You can't hinge cut pines. They snap off and the other pines fill in the canopy . So you have to take out a lot in one area to create a desirable opening.

scrimshaw33
12-02-2010, 12:56 PM
When I said hingecut I mean, hinge/cut down to allow light in. It would create a tangled mess which could be good for habitat. I should have clarified, I didn't mean to hinge to keep the pine living, just hinging for overhead cover (which I've done and they do hinge--whether it stays living I don't know)--but the main purpose would be to get sunlight in. The question is that better than just planting a thinner crop to begin with. Obviously if timber production is the main goal going in as a mad man with a chainsaw will cause some damage with trees leaning on eachother, etc. which can't be good for access or harvesting pines.

new forest
12-02-2010, 05:39 PM
What exact county are you in?

I'm curious who your planter is. I know a very good planter in the Piedmont who does every sort of management activity, he is out of Troy.

Planting densities have been coming down because the supply of first thinning Loblolly got up so high that I have heard in some of the Gulf states there is a saying "will thin for food" on the part of loggers, which means they can come thin a 15 year old stand of Loblolly, but they might not always be able to pay you for the wood. Prices got that bad, but those yo-yo around a lot area by area.

I I had 35 acres in central NC and wanted to encourage deer habitat and timber production I would plant 30 acres of it at 7x10 = 622/ac for survival insurance and to grow good timber form, and leave 5 acres out of that to do habitat work on. If you get any cost-sharing from the NCFS though they generally pick the density and some of their plans might call for less than 622, somewhat of a declining standard. If you go with a lower density planting you could consider putting some of the savings towards higher-quality genetics in the seedlings, some of which can reduce your rotation time. Generally though only timber operations run by serious bean counters will spring for the higher initial up-front investment.

hamptonlawyer
12-02-2010, 08:12 PM
I think that picture is a little misleading as there has most likely been some type of herbicide applied to take out competing trees, shrubs, weeds, etc for a purely commercial stand for maximum pine growth. Most cutovers in our area are replanted with loblolly pines and none of them look like this picture. There are other types of trees, vines, bushes, and various other plants that thrive within young pine plantations. Thus creating extremely thick vegetation with some natural browse growing within. Some of these pine thickets are so thick it is very difficult to even walk through without getting torn up by the briars and that is just the way the deer like them. By about year 15-17 the canopy does begin to shade out some of the undergrowth but that is about the time to thin them anyways. The landscape in our area is dominated by various aged pine plantations and make up more than 90% of woods which makes for tough hunting but excellent habitat. You know the deer are in there you just can't see them.

He's not planting a cutover. Cutovers are a different because most of the residual native seedbank has not been disturbed by normal agricultural practices, and therefore is present and able to generate the type of thick vegetation you describe.

He's planting an old field, and that picture is exactly what a pine planttation planted in a clean, old field looks like.

hamptonlawyer
12-02-2010, 08:24 PM
The table below is from the SC Forestry Commission. I think 10 x 10 is about where you want to be. Leaving isolated patches unplanted throughout might not be a bad idea, but not sure how much deer habitat that would generate -perhaps some bedding habitat if planted in the switchgrass you prepared it for.

The following is a listing of most commonly used seedling spacing and their corresponding trees per acre recommended for reforestation purposes:

Spacing by Feet Trees per Acre
6 X 10 726
6 X 12 605
7 X 10 622
7 X 12 519
8 X 8 680
8 X 10 544
8 X 12 454
9 X 9 538
9 X 10 484
10 X 10 435

The following is a listing of most commonly used seedling spacing and their corresponding trees per acre recommended for wildlife enhancement :

Spacing by Feet Trees per Acre

10 X 10 435
10 X 12 363
12 X 12 302
13 X 13 258
14 X 14 222
15 X 15 194

scrimshaw33
12-02-2010, 09:17 PM
Thanks all. Hampton, I think I'll stick with your recommendation of 10 x 10. Still want to research a little more but that sounds right. I just wonder though with 10 x 10 spacing if that will still leave a closed canopy?

hamptonlawyer
12-02-2010, 09:25 PM
It will close, just not as soon and hopefully not as severe. I don't remember a stand off hand that I can point to and say - there's a 10 x 10 spacing and that's what it looks like. I do wish you luck. Hope it works out for you.

scrimshaw33
12-02-2010, 09:37 PM
Any idea what spacing would result in no necessary thinning?

scrimshaw33
12-02-2010, 09:40 PM
I think I found the answer, looks like it's 200 tree/acre which would be about 14 x 14 to 15 x 15 spacing...isn't that what you recommended to begin with?;)

http://www.dof.virginia.gov/resinfo/resources/report-0124.pdf

new forest
12-02-2010, 10:01 PM
you can figure out the spacing on any planting plan by multiplying the two numbers together to get the square feet / seedling and divide that by 43,560 - the square footage of an acre.

so 10' x 10' = 435.6 trees/acre = 436 rounded to a whole number


you can grow Loblolly at a low density but the quality of the sawlogs produced won't be as good.

you might want to look into agro-forestry plantation designs. although those are set up for running cattle under planted trees, some of the principles would be the same for encouraging the whitetails via getting a bit more sunlight down to the herbaceous layer.

bbmclain
12-03-2010, 10:31 AM
I planted 8 acres in Jan '07 and went with 8X12. This is about 450 trees/acre. This has worked very well for me. In late winter I can bushhog between rows to manage competition, and by fall the grasses and cover is awesome. I am planting about 10 mores acres in the next two years and using the same spacing.

USFWC
12-03-2010, 01:29 PM
I'd suggest an 8x12 spacing and prune the lower bole of the trees after the first thinning to improve the quality. Also, you may consider a wider spacing of every 3rd-4th row that will allow more sunlight onto the ground with, if your terrain allows, the rows oriented east-west. If you have a floor like the one posted by hamptonlawyer with nothing growing, your trees are competing heavily with one another and are likely close to needing to be thinned anyway. Looks like a great place to harvest and sell some pine straw though.