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30ac of cedars - Permie Possibilities?

 
Ed Johnson
Posts: 85
Location: Durham region - Ontario, Canada - Zone 5
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I'm curious about a 30 acre plot of land, it's full of cedars. It's low lying, clearly the water table is high. Could I ask for your opinions on what could be done with this land?
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Yes you may certainly ask...

What are your feelings, and thoughts about it?
 
Dale Hodgins
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Sounds like you're in the fence post business. I think this is the highest and best use for wet land land where you live. Silver maple and basswood might do well. All of these trees coppice well. You could get into building picnic shelters and other stuff based on your resource. Split rail fences have seen a comeback in urban areas.

Are you familiar with the idea of doing a snowshoe packing of the snow covering wet areas before a hard freeze? Once you get a good freeze on a compacted trail through swamp, logs that were inaccessible in summer are easy to skid with a snowmobile or a small horse with ice shoes. Look up John L. Farrell. (519) 357-1058 --- I hope that's him. We're related. John has dragged a lot of wood from wet land near Wingham (I was born there) using this and other methods.

There are Amish not too far from you as well. Many of them will be familiar with extracting wood from tough spots with minimal collateral damage. If you cut trees in the summer, for winter extraction, get them off the dirt and tarp them so that an ice storm doesn't freeze everything into a solid mass.
 
Ed Johnson
Posts: 85
Location: Durham region - Ontario, Canada - Zone 5
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Jay

I'm somewhat on the fence about it. It's close to civilization, which is a plus for our commute, kids and wife and future customers. On the con side, it's $10K/ac, I would like to do nut fed pigs and I'm not sure that this land is good for that.

Dale

Good thoughts, I could use a snow machine in the same way. I've seen the old films from when my grandfather and his dad logged using ice-roads and draft horses so I can picture what you're saying.
 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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I'm assuming you're referring to the white cedar (Thuja) on low ground. I don't know of any nut tree that will be tolerant of that much wet, except maybe the water oak and some hickories but I think they are more southern. I guess if you're big into earthmoving you could take the land up into berms and plant on those, but that seems a little extreme.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Shagbark hickory grow there, but usually on slightly higher ground. I've seen them mixed with maple, and basswood. This is one of the simplest forests to manage, if allowed to grow cedars. If there are any glacial moraine hillocks, try hickory on the southern slopes.

If I were going to sculpt that sort of land, I'd clear the wetter areas and use a dozer or dredge to make ponds by higher ground. You'll get fish and fewer mosquitos. The southern slope of a berm on the north side of a pond will provide a warm, well drained micro climate. I wouldn't waste any nuts on the pigs.
 
Adrien Quenneville
Posts: 61
Location: Alexandria, ON, Zone 4a
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Agree with Dale. Clear an area, use the logs from it for fencing/house construction/raised beds/alternative income, clear another area, dig a large pond, use dug soil to raise areas where you want to install your home.

Alternatively, chinampas. I could see this costing a bit, but if you are in a high water table area, or near-permanently underwater (usually due to roads and poor drainage - lots of that in E.Ont), you could dig yourself a chinampa/canal system.

At 10k/ac, I do feel that that property is currently owned by a speculating urbanite, and you can probably find for a lot cheaper in the same area. Am I right? The RE market in the Toronto Cottage Country is crashing right now, I'd either wait, or lowball.
 
Ed Johnson
Posts: 85
Location: Durham region - Ontario, Canada - Zone 5
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Thanks again all.

I'm not adverse to earthworks thought playing with that much land, I would worry about the cost.

Adrien, I didn't know that the cottage bubble was finally bursting. Couldn't see that one coming eh...
 
Adrien Quenneville
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Location: Alexandria, ON, Zone 4a
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Oh, for sure. Indeed, at that cost, adding earthworks would make it cost-prohibitive, and very hard to make a living out of the land, initially at least.

You could make a fair income from this stand of trees, however. For example, Home Depot in T.O sells 4"x 4"x 8' western red cedar pressure-treated posts for just under $21. Assuming 30 ac of cedars at a density of 1000 cedars per ac, and you harvest 1/10th of the cedars, aka 100 cedars per acre, you would make a minimum of $60k, if they only yielded 1 post/tree. Now, this is an unsustainable continuous harvest, but if you market properly you could theoretically harvest cedars sustainably, and have it pay for your house and mortgage. All while funding earthworks and clearing a bit of land for growing food and raising animals.

Possibilities!

As for the bubble, yeah, the market is segmenting. I hear of bidding wars still in certain areas of Toronto, but condos have already crashed 5%+ there, and country homes outside of commuting range are selling VERY slowly. Some stories of cottages around Haliburton selling for 25% under asking. CRAZY!

Have you seen this?

Ontario Woodlot Association Guide
 
Dan Grubbs
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Location: northwest Missouri, USA
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It also sounds as if you could be in the selling-cedar-boughs-to-goat-herders business. Goats enjoy cedar tenders and they are good for them as a natural dewormer (so I've read). You might find some area goat herders who would take cedar boughs off your hands as you clear some of the property. Just a thought and I could be wrong.
 
L. Zell
Posts: 33
Location: Missouri
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My goats will only eat cedar in Jan-Feb. It may be different in other locations that get more snow.
I did see a talk at the Small Farm Trade Show a few years back, where a guy was reclaming strip mined areas that re-grew with not much but cedar. He put a bunch of ewes on it, spread waste hay, fed them some hay and various forage plant seeds, and kept cutting the cedars down for them to browse. The grass growth he got in the next couple of years was amazing.
 
Dale Hodgins
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When goats eat conifers, the flavor(unpleasant) shows up in meat and milk. I had goats that would nibble this stuff but they much preferred trimmings from fruit trees and this had a positive effect on milk taste and aroma. I could see using some cedar in bedding if fleas or other bugs are a problem. The allelopathic nature of cedar would limit the uses of the manure.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello All,

I would share that I find all the advice thus far shared worth merit for consideration, including the application of "chinampa" style agriculture, though this indigenous style should be done in the traditional manner. When executed with modernity in approach, this industrial application with heavy equipment seems to bear outcomes less than desirable. Cedar does indeed yield high densities of marketable lumber in such biomes. If you can combine this will an acquired skill set such as timber framing, "stack wood" or better called "Kubbhus" building modalities, "piece sur piece" log architecture, or a myriad of other practices the monetary yield off this land holding could be exceptional.

The allelopathic nature of cedar would limit the uses of the manure.
Hi Dale, I had never found this to be true, as the ruminant stomachs, and digestive system seem to counteract the allelopathic elements of cedar in my experience.

I also have found the taste it yields in the meat rather pleasant but that is probably a "Mediterranean" acquisition in my palate, and I would suggest that these flavor enhancements are subjective to the individual palate, and perhaps not ones to shy from. Some do indeed find the milk of such animals displeasurable, but like the meat, it is an acquired taste and may even intensify the wondrous flavors within such cheeses created from these "tainted" milks.

Regards,

jay
 
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