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Selecting Trees for Planting

Planting a Tree, Credit: WI DNR

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.


Stackology - The Art and Science of Stacking Firewood

By Mestos (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

It is not often that my trusty assistant (who shall remain nameless) and I get into arguments, but the stacking of split wood for drying is one place we constantly butt heads. He argues that the way they have always stacked wood has worked just fine, so why change. To which I counter that he has dropped too many trees onto his head. Needless to say, we don’t haul and stack wood together very often.


An Introduction to Agroforestry

Alley cropping. Photo: Manfred Mielke, USDA Forest Service

In an earlier post, I introduced the concept of agroforestry. In this post, I will expand on what agroforestry is, and how it is being used here in Wisconsin. Although this post may seem very agricultural centered, I should point out a few things. One, many woodlots are associated with farmsteads, and are not seen as a profit center for the farm, though they could be. Two, landowners are finding the costs of owning land to be so high that they lease their land to neighboring farms. Is there a way for both owner and farmer to benefit in ways they each want or need to use the property? Three, some of these are more forest centered (see forest farming), and can be a new way for woodland owners to spend time in their woods.


Non-timber Forest Products: Part III Mushrooms

Morel mushrooms, Credit: Erik Tiles

It may be helpful to understand the ecology of mushrooms before you get started hunting your own, or even growing them. A mushroom itself is a fruiting body, kind of like the acorn of an oak tree. The fungi itself (the tree trunk) is often hidden from our eyes either in the soil or the trunk of a rotting tree. Sometimes you can find them; they may appear as long, white, interconnected strands. Those strands are finding the nutrients needed to keep them growing. When conditions are right (usually a combination of day length, humidity, and heat), they will produce a mushroom.


Management Planning: A Vision for your Land

Management Planning, Credit: Matt Duvall

This is a busy time of year around our offices as our Learn About Your Classes have started, in 23 locations and on the web. One of our topics is planning for your forest, so I thought I would take some time today to share some insights with you. I was reading a couple of resources in preparation for my talk, and came across a good entry. The topic was “Why people don’t manage…and why they should”. Several reasons were mentioned: “I hunt, and am not interested in the trees”, “we just want a place to retire”, “I don’t want my land damaged by a logger”, and “I don’t know what to do”.