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Why Pines?

 
Kirk Hutchison
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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    I have noticed that (at least in my state) the Forest Service plants mostly pine trees. It seems to me that this is not the wisest course of action, since pines do not really have the ecological benefits of broadleaved trees - the fallen needles do not hold water very well and they acidify the soil, reducing plant growth. This leads to less food for wildlife, and thus less biodiversity. Also, they burn like torches. Perhaps they could be convinced otherwise?
 
Jami McBride
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Location: PNW Oregon
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books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
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What is your state, your area?

Maybe you could add it to your signature or name....
 
Kirk Hutchison
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Oops! Sorry, I thought I already did that. I live in Los Angeles, California. I'll put it up now.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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If their budget is determined by some combination of the number of board-feet produced per acre per year, and the public's willingness to fund fire prevention efforts, then pine trees are an optimal choice.
 
Kirk Hutchison
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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The forest is not logged - it is National Forest we are talking about.
 
tel jetson
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Kirk Hutchison wrote:
The forest is not logged - it is National Forest we are talking about.


plenty of National Forest gets logged.
 
Kirk Hutchison
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Really? I didn't know that. Not around here, anyway. People get really stirred up about that sort of thing in this area (It's a viper's nest of liberals! My uncle once said that...)
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Even if this particular forest isn't logged, I bet the system of forestry education is geared toward producing timber.
 
Brenda Groth
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evergreens are really good for windbreaks, and they make great privacy as well as cover for animals and birds in the winter time.

i have planted a lot of pine, spruce, hemlock, cedar, etc on my  property for those particular reasons..

also i do use some of the pine needles for mulch around blueberry and cranberry plants..as they are acidic..

i do find that the local bird and squirrel populations love the pine type trees..esp..as they provide dense cover year around
 
                    
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Could the reason they reforest with pines be that they are what grows best in the area?

Here in my mountains of NM the forests are mainly pine, fir or spruce depending to some degree on elevation. There's some aspen mixed in here and there. Here there is very little if any reforesting as the trees are way too thick as it is. The past few years have seen thinning being done to reduce fire danger. Wherever possible they try to leave as much aspen as possible as it is a declining species. Some of that decline is traceable to reduced availability of water resources for growth. Our aspens all seem to be stressed and we are loosing more than gaining.
 
Kirk Hutchison
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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  Compared to the other trees growing nearby, yes. On a global comparison, not at all.
 
                    
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I know that when the roads department deforests to make a road they are required in some states to track the kinds of trees they remove & with in 5 yrs they are suppose to re-plant roughly the same kind & number.

Perhaps the roads dept is not the only ones required to do this?
 
                        
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Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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Does pine grow faster than broadleaved trees?
 
Brenda Groth
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during the past century a lot of forests have been replaced with pines here in Michigan too..and i can see your question..

now i do find that if there are clearings left in the pine forests that the native trees will reseed into those areas and the pines will act as a quick growing nurse crop for those..but it really has to open up for those deciduous trees to get established.

i have read that it is best to have a 33% ratio of what you plant ..1/3 pine, 1/3 deciduous and 1/3 herbaceous..and that is what my goal has been here..but when i say pine i mean all evergreens not just pine family..i also include spruce, cedar, fir, hemlock, etc. on my property.

i have a huge number of evergreens, but they are equally balanced out with the deciduous and the shrub/herbaceous layers..

i do see that the animals and birds take their cover in the evergreens, esp in the wintertime here.
 
Kirk Hutchison
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Yeah they are nice in the winter. You're right, Brenda: a mix is probably best.
 
Brenda Groth
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here is a link to one of my facebook photo albums..the last 3 photos on the album are the evergreens that i was limbing up to 4' in the front yard to make it more open under them for the deer..to the left are spruces that aren't limbed up..that go for about 50 feet along the front fence..we also have black spruce along our rear fenceline along with 3 hemlock and some white pines..

as i said above i try to have about a 30 % mix..

the woods in the photos..has hemlock but they aren't visible as they are much farther back into the woods about 700' yet..

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=25501&id=1846485863&l=6cdc75ac1b

you are welcome to become a friend on my facebook and view the evergreens in my photo abums more..and i should post some photos of them in winter..winter is when pines and hemlocks and spruces really come into their own..my goal here is to use them around the perimeter of the property as screens and windbreaks as well as cover for the animals.
 
Kirk Hutchison
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Wow Brenda, that's a nice place you have! So many trees! Thank you for the friend offer, but I do not have a Facebook account. If I ever create one though, I will take you up on that.
 
                    
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Yes Brenda we all just love your trees!
 
Lisa Paulson
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Like Brenda,  (I love what you are doing  and your photos)  I am endeavouring this fall to plant more mixed deciduous and conifer plantings, for future woodlot , wildlife habitat, windbreak, and also as a fence with hotwire for my animals .  I intend to have some strategically placed interior planting and perimeter hedgerow that will also contain nut and fruit trees.    I planted a stone pine this spring that is doing well , if only a foot high : )  I am building on this a bit each year but my fall goal is planting a minimum of twenty trees this year on my four acres.
Here is an example of where trees serve as living fence posts to contain a stallion.

[imghttp://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v314/180/63/704637603/n704637603_1772034_6535.jpg][/img]
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i think a living fenceline is a great idea..esp if you use long lived trees. since we first bought our property I have attempted to grow trees on the property lines..as a hedgerow..it takes so long..the front and west side i have a lot of trees and of course we have the woods in the rear..our east side has been slower as we have had to clear out full grown trees to give land to our son for his house, drainfield, garage and yard..so hundreds of trees were lost to that adventure..but we are starting over on that property line..now that it has moved.

in our field we have managed to get a dotty line of trees as well as some here and there in the field..but working on that property line has been more difficult.

i do find that evergreens are what i turn to for quick growing cover on the property lines..for screens and for windbreaks..as well as wildlife cover..but as soon as i get some evergreen established then i always seem to begin to work on the deciduous trees to balance them out
 
tel jetson
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I don't imagine they're being planted in many national forests, but stone pines are pretty great.  all the advantages of conifers that have been mentioned, plus a reliable source of delicious nuts after they get going (which does take a while).
 
Lisa Paulson
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In the USA the Arbour Foundation is a wonderful resource to purchase seedlings and even fruit trees at great prices.  Too bad I cannot bring them across the border to  Canada.

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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tel jetson wrote:
I don't imagine they're being planted in many national forests, but stone pines are pretty great.  all the advantages of conifers that have been mentioned, plus a reliable source of delicious nuts after they get going (which does take a while).


Some of the food-producing pine species with a limited range are endangered, and are being encouraged by Federal projects.
 
                    
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I have not heard of a "stone pine" before, please tell me more.
Like where they grow & what the nuts are like.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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when i was walking in our field today i found a LOT of baby pine trees, that are small enough to move..and i have my eyes on them..i have places for them and can't wait to go out and dig them up and move them to where i want them to grow, screen and provide windbreaks..i'd do it now but it is just too hot and dry
 
                    
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Is it difficult to move baby pines? do you have to be very careful?

What time of year can you move them?
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i have moved hundreds of trees successfully, both evergreen and deciduous..usually if you get them before they are very tall they are very very easy to move..however..i have moved both evergreens and deciduous trees that were around 10' tall..with success..however..i don't recommend trying it unless you are ready for a lot of careful digging and planting..it is not the easiest job.

generallly i move most of my evergreens when they are less than 3' tall..with nearly 100 % success..it is a must to make sure that the roots point out or down rather than upwards when moving trees..and to make sure to get as much root and if possible leave soil on the roots, when possible.

i have also successfully moved many dozens of black spruce from swamps north of here..the black spruce will seed into the swamps and they develop almost a water born root..they pull out very easily without digging and can be planted on our property as we have a very high water table..i have planted black spruce and cedars out of swamps all over our property and many are very large now..white pines prefer a drier soil so the only places i have lost them has been where it was too wet..they will adapt tothe damper soil..but not as easily as the spruces do. I prefer the white pines as they grow so quickly..

we also have canadian hemlock that grow wild on our property so i move them onto our property linies when i find small ones..they are so pretty and smell wonderful..remind me of christmas..i have some that are 40 ' tall that i moved here..they are one of my favorite trees to move..i have found white spruce in the woods and moved them here too..but white sprice are not so easy to find..i have several blue spruces..but they generally come from a store..but some are getting large enough to make seed soon..so manybe we'll have babies of them someday..also cause there are a lot of christmas tree farms around we occasionall have bird depostied scotch and fir seedlings..our field has some baby scotch growing there now..but i haven't tried to move any of those.

i have also moved maple, cotinus, barberry, and other deciduous trees with good success
 
                    
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"nearly 100 % success", good to know, thanks Brend for the wisdom, I'll let you know if I plant any & how it goes.
 
                  
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Location: NW Ontario
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I've also moved (saved) many differnt pines and spruces. I've always had the most success transplanting trees in early spring as soon as the frost is out of the ground and the earth still has lots of moisture in it. I've had a few trees die on me by waiting too long and transplanting when the conditions are too dry. I've always found white pine to be especially sensitive to stressfull situations. Red and jack pine a little tougher and spruce a little tougher yet.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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good advice Old Hammy..i to think that it is best to plant in spring or fall..but spring best in our area..however..i have successfully planted them in summer..if you do you need to do it after a good rain spell and water them well..and if it is really hot..shade them for a while after moving them..mulch mulch mulch around them to keep moisture in the ground as well.
 
                    
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This is good advice thanks again.
 
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