• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Any experience with Clear-Cut / Cutover land?

 
George Marsh
Posts: 17
Location: Hamilton Ontario
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey people,

I did a quick search and didn't see this exact question before.

I've been seeing a lot of clear-cut/cutover land coming up for sale in the Canadian Maritime provinces. The land I have been seeing is anywhere from 10-25 acres going all the way to very large 400 acre properties. Most of it comes in around $400-700 an acre. What I'm looking at hasn't been replanted in anyway and in some cases the stumps and treetops are still on the ground.

Have any of you got experience buying land like this? Is it worth looking into? If you were to buy clear cut acreage, what would you do with the land? Where would you start? I have my own thoughts, but I'm really interested in what you guys have to say and what you'd do.

I understand there are other factors to consider here, water, proximity to good roads, distance to town, etc. But I'd really like to think about what to do with the land first.

Cheers.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Pie
Posts: 6139
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
187
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I started out with clearcut in some areas. In many ways, it's easier to deal with than standing forest.

You now have the option of controlling the natural succession. I've been eliminating most evergreens.

Your first step should be to gather all burnable materials into big piles for hugelkultur and get them buried so that you don't have a fire.
 
Jack Edmondson
Posts: 233
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Make sure you do your due diligence on the tax consequences of purchasing land that has been in Timber Exempt status. Often past year accruals carry to the new owner. The previous owner may have had cheap taxes, pulled the cash out of the asset without resolving past tax burdens, and you get the bill. I don't know anything about Canadian tax code. I would make sure I asked someone whom did before I made an offer.
 
John Wolfram
Posts: 632
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
17
trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As Dale mentioned, burying the tree tops and stumps right away is ideal. However, based on the size of the property you're talking about you'll probably need heavy machinery for all that digging. Unfortunately, you may not be in the position to pay for an excavator right after you've written a check to buy the land...I know I wasn't. So, I just piled up all wood/tree tops into big brush piles and let them rot, which was great until the rabbit/mice population exploded and started devouring everything I had planted. At that point I gave up and started burning the brush piles.
 
Phoenix Blackdove
Posts: 36
Location: Adelaide, Australia
6
bike books urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another option besides hugel beds, if you couldn't get to all the tops at once, would be to buy the biggest mulcher you can afford and go into the composting business, a la Jean Pain. It would give you a heck of a start in 12-18 month's time when you want extra fertility for growing things, plus you could get a gas and/or hot water yield off the compost piles in the meantime (which I assume would be a valuable asset in a Canadian winter).

Personally I'd be inclined to let sections of a larger property go back to some form of forest, whether purely native of forage/food forest or a mixture - after appropriate water and earthworks were put in place, at least. There would probably be the possibility of running cattle or other animals in a cell grazing/savannah making type system? I'm not really familiar with Canadian climate so I'm just throwing ideas out there.

Could you salvage some of the larger bits of wood for various uses? Stick fuel for rocket heaters, possibly for woodturning/wood carving, using it to build fences or trellis, gasifying it for extra fuel, all come to mind. Maybe even growing mushrooms on the largest pieces, or on some of the stumps if they're in an ideal position for that.
 
Niko Economides
Posts: 24
Location: Marquette county Michigan's upper peninsula
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have purchased cut over land, but never completely clear cut. I'm in the process of buying some now which will add 10 acres to our homestead. About 4 acres wer cut hard most remaining trees damaged skidder trails everywhere. Lots of work and boy am I exited! What has worked for me is to inoculate stumps with mushroom if cut was recent. Than if you can't afford earthworks take brush and pile it along contour just like a swale. Voles mice squirrels rabbits will help to create living Swales bringing seeds mycelia droppings all along the brush piles which are on conjure. As stumps sprout you can develop a coppice pollarding plan. Don't be afraid of cut over land, but hopefully they left some big ones!
 
Brian Cady
Posts: 66
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi George,

Where are you finding such land listings?

Brian
 
Fallon Wilson
Posts: 30
Location: London, Ontario, Canada
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We just purchased 29 acres of 75% cut over forest in Nova Scotia this weekend. We're back home in Ontario (JUST missed that snow storm PHEW!)and planning on going back in May to start sorting the lumber for building, hugulkultur, fire wood and potential arts/crafts and mulching. We're letting most of it return to forest and meadow and building swales, ponds and a natural swimming pool with a purchased tractor with a front end loader and backhoe on it. To answer Brian's question, we looked on mls and found our property finally on kijiji.ca. We are planning on having part of the acreage rezoned residential and the rest agricultural, right now its zoned forestry. There is no tax on agri land and very low tax on forestry land..our is about 7.50$ per year! Go and look at the properties carefully. we found realtors and some advertisers like to take pictures of only the good parts. We spent a whole week touring around NS before we decided on our current space. Good luck!
 
George Marsh
Posts: 17
Location: Hamilton Ontario
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey, thanks everyone for your comments and your suggestions.

My thoughts are very similar to what you guys have thrown out there. My idea was to build as much HugelKulture as I could manage and chip the rest for mulch or for burning. While doing that I'd be picking out the best bits for potential firewood, you can never have too much of that.

I would want to return most of the land to a forested state, with the idea to grow a food forest where appropriate. Though I really don't know much about that, always worth a try though right?

Someone suggested to me in an unrelated thread to make sure I get the water tested before buying. Apparently there's the potential for naturally occurring contaminants that could make it very difficult to get drinking water. I have to do some research on the costs associated with this and I'm going to be reading into that a bit more, but it's something to think about, it's all about doing your homework. Also need to have the land looked at for suitability of a Septic system, if that's the route you're going.

Brian - I've been searching on MLS and Kijiji, Fallon has it right with everything he said and I'm intending to do the same thing and take a look in NS and PEI in the spring. He did a better job of answering your question than I could!

Fallon - Where did you guys settle on in the end? I remember you posting a while back that you were looking at land, glad it worked out for you!

Thanks again!
 
Fallon Wilson
Posts: 30
Location: London, Ontario, Canada
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We (she's; p) settled on the south shore area near Mahone Bay. As for water if you use a filter system on the piping you will be fine for drinking. There are numerous disinfecting filters you can get that aren't budget breakers. We are doing rainwater collecting and rampump from the brook. We decided on the area due to the honesty and open communication of the seller and its closeness to potential work for a company I work for here in Ontario. There are a number of great deals if you message me offlist Ill give you the name of the seller I bought from, he has a couple more pieces and a good ear on other places.
 
kyle saunders
Posts: 45
Location: Sackville/Graywood, Nova Scotia
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We are in Nova Scotia, just got a 50acre clear cut (they left 3 or 4 standing acres of trees) and just about to enter our third season. Turns out you don't need to plant a forest, so most of the work will be done for you. But if you want it to look a certain way (not a young maritime forest) then, bud, loads of work!

We are going for a manual labour kind of deal, so we've decided that 30 acres will never be used, cept for observation and wild harvest. The remaining 20 acres is "our" land. (there is a convenient river to make the distinction of which half is which)

We kinda came up with "path harvesting". We decided that our wheelbarrow was our vehicle to design to. So from the tool shed to everywhere needs a wheelbarrow path. Everything else is garden. So walk down your path and when you get something in your way you harvest it.

(Our idea is that if we have to stack each stick in a pile and then do something later with that pile, then we've moved every single stick twice, and that's crazy. Also, if you have to move something more than 10 feet you're doing it wrong.)

A young tree we like in the way? Transplant to a good place. Wood/brush goes to hugelberms. Rocks have been tough, lots of exposed granite, so we have loads of snake houses. Even the leaves and topsoil is raked/shovelled off the path and into a garden (which should be very close)
 
George Marsh
Posts: 17
Location: Hamilton Ontario
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kyle, sounds like a great piece of property! Where in NS are you guys?

As I'm understanding it, you didn't replant anything, you got a lot of regrowth? If that's right, have you found that one species is better at coming back than another?

In the 30 acres you are setting aside, what are you anticipating getting from your wild harvests?

Cheers.
 
Jay Grace
Posts: 229
Location: Nauvoo, AL
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I to recently purchased clear cut land. Out in the boonies here in Alabama most of a lands value is based on it's timber. (and proximity to larger cities)
Which is good in a way. Because after a timber investor has had the land cleared and made a good bit of cash. If he's not in it for the long term he'll come off that land at a cheaper price as he's already made his money off of the timber.

Nice thing is tons upon tons of firewood, hugelculture bed material, and well just tons of limbs.

You get a clean slate to start with and you don't have to feel bad about cutting down trees to plant other trees and stuff.

Plus it's easier to just be out and get a good look at the land.

But it's hard to beat land loaded down with 30yr + trees.

 
kyle saunders
Posts: 45
Location: Sackville/Graywood, Nova Scotia
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
George Marsh wrote:Kyle, sounds like a great piece of property! Where in NS are you guys?

As I'm understanding it, you didn't replant anything, you got a lot of regrowth? If that's right, have you found that one species is better at coming back than another?

In the 30 acres you are setting aside, what are you anticipating getting from your wild harvests?

Cheers.


We are in the Annapolis Royal area (village of graywood), southwest of the province. Was cleared and we got it for under 20grand after lawyers and tax things.

Well, we are planting a bunch to try and refill the soil with life. We've taken mostly the extras from other peoples gardens, along with some from my home garden and many fruit trees that we've paid for (about 20 in total so far?). We don't do a lot of planting with the intent for success, long term or short. Very much a hope for the best attitude. This year I see a big change towards specific goals, planting wise. We got a better understanding of what likes effort, and what doesn't care.

Along with the usual clover seed spread we've tried throwing random seeds about with mixed success. I'd say mixed cause plants grew, but the veges didn't. So I think more of a seed bomb kind of approach will be taken this year. But because I'm lazy farmer, I'm seeing it as a bucket filled with sand and soil, and then the seeds mixed in and this mix getting poured in more strategic locations than last year.

As for regrowth, we're seeing tonnes. Mostly coppiced maple and oak, with seedlings of birch, ash and what I think is a cherry? The conifers are being removed and burned/piled from the path ways and anywhere we are planting near, but for the most part we need wind breaks (Clearcuts!!) so we'll let them get bigger, cut em down later if we must. There are rasp/black/blue berries all over already and our test of strawberries has doubled the bed we made for it. Strawberries don't care about beds

As for the 30 acres left to regrow, it's not so much what we're going to get out of it as the forest. Nova Scotia is a place that's probably on 5 or 6th generation clearcuts, so natural succession is rare. Even if a stand is left to grow they seem to be sivicultured to a man desired state. We stake a lot of trust in the earthmother. But of course we are human and will take from it! I can see some small scale wood harvest for artisan work, fungal collection for many reasons (we're kinda mycellium nerds), good healthy saplings to transplant (we expect a tree nursery will be a large income for us once we settle into this), a place to walk (that we know will never be cut, not something that can be said most anywhere), and well i'm not too good at making things up at the moment but the point is that it'll be a value untouched!

I should say that this is more of a 'summer' project. We all live 2 hours from the site, so it's not regular hours we're putting in, and rarely more than 2 of the 3 of us at once. For the way we are going at it, I'm very happy with results. IF you are in a hurry, don't take my experience as advice!!
anywayy

Greywood Basemap-11x17 1 to 2000.jpg
[Thumbnail for Greywood Basemap-11x17 1 to 2000.jpg]
 
Adam Mohammed
Posts: 10
Location: southern Ontario
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I imagine doing a lot of what people previously mentioned, with one addition: plant lots and lots of fruit seeds, to get hundreds of crab apples, wild cherries etc all over the place, maybe getting lucky and getting some good new cultivars in the process.
That price point for land sounds awesome, makes me think about NS and NB in a new way 😄
 
kyle saunders
Posts: 45
Location: Sackville/Graywood, Nova Scotia
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Any advice on the johnny apple seed idea? Think you could just seed bomb/scatter a bunch of fruit trees? If so I'd be down to litter the hillside with crabapples and other fruit trees. What are minimum standards for sowing fruit tree seeds?

The land price is pretty good if you're willing to go from a clean slate with a big mes on it. Even once you clear the rubbish, forest floor is not usually thick in nova scotia hills. Maybe in valleys, but I see most of them used as farm land already.

I have always lived here in NS and I'd welcome a fellow reforester! Just make sure that when anyone asks what you're doing from officials it's non-timber forestry products. I think that might help you through loop holes if you are noticed doing things that are traditionally seen as agriculture in a labeled resource forest.

This picture shows what it looks like for about 75% of the property, maybe more. We don't really expect to even get to this part for the next four or five years. Hopefully we will have some goats and pigs on board by then. If not, coppice forest wins the race.
2013-03-29 15.24.14.jpg
[Thumbnail for 2013-03-29 15.24.14.jpg]
 
Jeremy Droplet
Posts: 25
Location: Central Maine (Zone 4b)
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm very interested in this subject myself as it's the exact type of work I'm trying to do. Where I live, lots of folks clearcut and sell off the property for dirt cheap.

In my experience so far, lowlands will remain wet for DECADES after a clear cut if skidder tracks are not dealt with and appropriate earthworks made to curtail water. Without the feeding roots of massive mature trees, the water has to go somewhere. This may not apply in sandy soil areas. But if you're on clay, keep this in mind.

Regrowth will happen on it's own. But it will be limited to whatever seeds are in the bank so to speak, and they may not come up where and how you want them to. Of course you can (and should!) accelerate the process. I would echo other's suggestions of buying a chipper. Get the biggest chipper you can. Use the material for mulch, compost, mushroom culture, etc. There is value there if you're willing to work for it. Inoculating stumps is also a great idea. This works much better if you inoculate within the first season after the cut. Otherwise, you're likely to see lots of turkey tails on your should-be shiitake stumps

And of course, my number one problem...deer. The trouble with planting any seedlings out after a clear cut is getting them above deer browse. Saplings in a clear cut are prime deer forage. I've yet to find a good solution to this problem that won't break the bank. I'd love to hear others' suggestions in this arena.

 
kyle saunders
Posts: 45
Location: Sackville/Graywood, Nova Scotia
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think deer have been pruning our fruit trees, but not really eating them. Just knocking off branches, found some cherry twigs at the base of our tree. Hopefully the deer was just pruning.

The deer don't seem to touch the rest of the garden though, so we'll see!


Just got our woodchipper back from the mechanic friend. it's going to make everything different. If there was one tool to invest in on a clearcut its the chipper.

http://www.princessauto.com/en/detail/13-hp-chipper-shredder/A-p8243800e This is what we have for the year. I'd prefer bigger but this was only 500$ so we didn't pass it up. A bigger one (like 4 or 5 times bigger) is available for rent at the local hardware but at 250$ a weekend it might be something we'll do once to clear a big area.
 
Marsha Richardson
Posts: 37
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We recently purchased 28 acres adjoining ours that had been clearcut (they took all the hardwood) and half replanted in Loblolly pine. We made lots of brush piles and whenever we had apples/pears/grapes/cherries we would walk around and plant the seeds. We also put out paw paw and persimmon. Many of these seeds have come up and are doing very well. We also strew clover and various cover crops any place that looks like it needs it. Gradually it is evolving in its own way. Deer keep the groundcover mowed pretty well and some of the trees get pruned but it does keep them out of our more charished orchard. Clearcut can be great if you plan around it and enjoy it for what it is. I find it easier to plan swales and berms and kugel culture because it is mostly out there to see. Some trees coppice very well and that is easily managed when you have an overview available to you.
 
kyle saunders
Posts: 45
Location: Sackville/Graywood, Nova Scotia
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Marsha Richardson wrote:...whenever we had apples/pears/grapes/cherries we would walk around and plant the seeds. We also put out paw paw and persimmon. Many of these seeds have come up and are doing very well. ...


Are you simply scattering these seeds or building proper beds before planting? I just want to know how much effort is required to expect some success. I like being a lazy gardener but I like to see my seeds work, not just be fertilizer!

If you're scattering the seeds around, what are the existing soils in the clearcut like? Are you being somewhat selective?

If you're making beds, how intensive?

My plan is (give or take, and def an experiment since I lack experience) to fill a small bucket with good soil, some sand, and a mix of seeds. Pour that into a nice warm looking nook, then do it again with another bucketful. Rinse and repeat.

(actually, my real plan is to fill pumpkins after halloween with soil and seeds, build a trebuchet at the land's highpoint, and just seed bomb the whole land. if anyone does this, you are the best farmer)
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1304
Location: Central New Jersey
34
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
kyle saunders wrote:
(actually, my real plan is to fill pumpkins after halloween with soil and seeds, build a trebuchet at the land's highpoint, and just seed bomb the whole land. if anyone does this, you are the best farmer)


heh heh heh. I know how to build a trebuchet. This might have to happen
 
Tim Malacarne
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Owing to a surplus of turnips one year, I planted a few persimmon seeds with an air cannon. Results unknown, but it was fun...
 
Fallon Wilson
Posts: 30
Location: London, Ontario, Canada
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kyle, I was out in NS from 1st week of May until end of June and did a bunch of seed bombing of the entire acreage, focused some good solid planting in key spots where soil was thickest etc. We even planted rice seeds in the wet parts. We then built a small hugelbed midway up on a south facing slope and planted it. By the time I had to come back home our hugel bed had started to sprout and the forest was in full bloom. The transformation was awesome. it went from a dull grey brown wasteland to a lush green forest in 2.5 weeks. Out of our 29 acres we have settled on a 10acre section to focus on developing into hugelbeds, swales and returning the creek back to its natural flow as it was rerouted by tractor tracks and slash dumping. It definately is a lot of labour but the end results are going to be well worth the effort. We've planted and left things to see how it grows all on its own and see what grows where. We are going back the 1st week of October for a week to see our results and park a trailer for our return in the spring. I plan on staying from 1st week of may until end of October next year and get some major work done.
 
Amanda Gray
Posts: 5
Location: Ireland, hoping to return to Canada
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Newbie here who'd love to revive this old topic. I wonder how everyone's clearcut projects are going?

I'm a Canadian living overseas who is eyeing some of those Nova Scotia parcels going cheap as they are the one thing in my price range that I could start working on if/when I get back in a few years. A lot of them seem crazy remote so I'd love to hear how you guys are doing it and your plans, dreams etc. Are you ever camping/staying on the land? How are you bringing in/getting water? It's exciting to know that someone else is leading the way. I want to stalk your progress.
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic