As the mosquitoes start to disappear, and the leaves begin their fall beauty, we may be hitting our woods more frequently for hiking, horseback riding, bicycling or ATVing. But do you know what may be hitchhiking along with you? Many of the exotic plants, insects and diseases invading our woods are fairly immobile until we pick them up and carry them home or to other woodlands.
The mistake many folks make is thinking they can just sit back and watch the trees they planted grow without doing any kind of maintenance on the plantation. This decision has led to the demise of many a planting. A good understanding of what threatens seedlings and how to control or reduce these will ensure that you have a high survival rate within your planting.
June is invasive species awareness month with the theme of “slow the spread by boat and tread”. In this blog, we have continually recommended that regularly walking your property can lead to a healthier woods. When it comes to invasive plants and animals, it is much easier to control small populations; catching them early can save you sweat and heartburn. But let’s back up a minute and explore what invasives are and why you should be concerned about them.
It almost seems a little late to be doing a spring wildflower article, but I’m reminded that it really is still early spring when I walk in the woods around central Wisconsin. There is something wonderful about seeing the color, sometimes poking through the snow. The green of spring is refreshing, but the yellow of the marsh marigolds celebrates the coming warm sun. Even better, some of these early spring plants provide a tasty treat as we get ready to plant and harvest our own gardens.
Did you know that there are about 276,000 woodland owners in Wisconsin, and according to a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources study, about 60% are 55 years or older? About 49% of woodland owners are already retired. In addition to planning for your retirement, are you planning for the future of your woodlands? Believe it or not, they go hand in hand. Planning for your financial future and long-term care involves your woodlands. And planning for the future of your woodlands can help ease any financial burdens on your heirs and keep your woodlands intact.
In past blog entries, we discussed both agroforestry and non-timber forest products. This month, we’ll spend a little time combining the two with an introduction to hazelnuts. Anyone who has had the pleasure of harvesting wild hazelnuts, and adding them to baked goods, knows how tasty these nuts are. They are even tastier in Nutella, yum. Although 90% of the hazelnuts we see in commercial products are grown in Turkey, and another 4% in Oregon, Wisconsin and Minnesota are seeing a rise in the production as well.
Competition is the name of the game in our woodlands. Trees are competing against each other for nutrients. Wildlife are competing for food. Our own desires for our woods can compete against each other. However, you will most likely want to get a variety of things out of your woods (firewood, wildlife, recreation). Understanding what different trees can offer will help you balance all your management decisions. Let’s start by visiting the idea of what makes a good wildlife tree.
If you are thinking of planting trees, fall is the time to start planning for that project. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and private tree nurseries start taking orders in the fall (and specifically October for the DNR) for the spring planting season, and they do sell out. More details on how to order are at the end of this blog, but let’s talk about what you want to order first. There are two main factors to consider when deciding what trees you want to plant: site conditions and your goals.