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tree removal and have pastures

 
wentao song
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I have few questions regarding on a land that i want to buy in upper state new york. It has approximately 50% covered by trees. I am thinking to remove them and have a bigger land ( or maybe grow some fruit trees). I am not sure if i am doing this process will be allow and will i need permit to do so? My next questions is the land is on Zone R4. Can i raise pastures on the land? the last question will be if i want to turn partial of this land(maybe 1/10) into resort like. should i request for zone change? Anyone knows or responds will be truly appreciated.
 
patrick canidae
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A silvo pasture system with cold hardy sheep seems in order. Don't clear, just remove saleable timber, and thin poor timber.

I imagine you could grow enough mushrooms, sheep and timber to have a nice income stream. Maybe nuts or syrup as well depending on your species.



https://youtu.be/6usf2_g3-x0

http://whitecloversheepfarm.com/

You have so many ways to make money.

The New York Department of Making You Sad is generally a tax sucking, heart breaking bastard. Unless they can make more money from you. Then you have a shot. Although, "Farm Field Days" and "educational farm events" can often be snuck through without much fan fare. No permanent infrastructure and fewer days of concentrated revenue flow may be a bigger winner anyway.
 
Scott Strough
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I would agree, a silvopasture system sounds like a good fit. There are many. Here is a good one you might model after considering what you described so far:
Chaffin Orchards
 
Travis Johnson
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You do not need a permit to cut wood. If you are next to water resources there are often limits on how much wood you can harvest going back from the high water mark because they are considered "filter areas" that need protection. The steep the embankments, the farther the limits stretch...but you can still cut wood on them. This is especially true for agriculture. There are no rules regarding that, you are allowed by long standing tradition to use your own land to feed yourself...bulldozing stumps is another matter entirely. That you may need permits for. If you use government funding for any of it, that will be determined by a "Wetland Determination" to which a soil engineer will come out and ensure your land is not in wetlands.

I deal a lot with the USDA, but know very little about zoning.

The great thing about pastures is that they can be almost anywhere. because of that I try to make any forest that I have converted into field and make it of triple use: for tillable crops such as corn, for hay ground (no rocks) and for pasture too, that way I can crop rotate. In some years I can do all three. Plant corn in May and then harvest it in October. Graze the stalks with my sheep. Then til and seed into winter rye whic I can graze the following spring or harvest into hay (the latter can be problematic with moisture content however). In that way you can really get triple use out of every acre.
 
John Wolfram
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Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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Travis Johnson wrote:You do not need a permit to cut wood. If you are next to water resources there are often limits on how much wood you can harvest going back from the high water mark because they are considered "filter areas" that need protection...I deal a lot with the USDA, but know very little about zoning.

Without knowing the county / town / community in upstate New York where the property is located I would be careful about making statements on whether or not a permit is required. It's definitely worth your time to go through the town / county ordinances before purchasing the property. That being said, whether or not you officially need a permit and whether or not you should actually bother getting one are two different question. Talking to your future neighbors will you some sense of how strictly things are enforced (and whether or not there is a retired guy two doors down that has nothing better to do than call up zoning enforcement.)
 
Casie Becker
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John Wolfram wrote:
Travis Johnson wrote:You do not need a permit to cut wood. If you are next to water resources there are often limits on how much wood you can harvest going back from the high water mark because they are considered "filter areas" that need protection...I deal a lot with the USDA, but know very little about zoning.

Without knowing the county / town / community in upstate New York where the property is located I would be careful about making statements on whether or not a permit is required. It's definitely worth your time to go through the town / county ordinances before purchasing the property. That being said, whether or not you officially need a permit and whether or not you should actually bother getting one are two different question. Talking to your future neighbors will you some sense of how strictly things are enforced (and whether or not there is a retired guy two doors down that has nothing better to do than call up zoning enforcement.)


Have to agree with double checking. My brother is developing property in a small town near here. We have specific ordinances concerning how small a tree has to be before cutting. We're also suffering the effect of several successional long droughts. One of the neighbors (who live on their property on a seasonal basis) called the city to report him when he was clearing the trees that had died from recent conditions. Not only was he not breaking the rules by clearing the deadwood, the property is nearly all ravine, so most likely anything he did wouldn't be visible to neighbors. He's still stuck with the burden of defending himself from the accusation.
 
Mary Leonard
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I would also suggest silvopasture which is what we're working towards here on our mountain woodland property in California. Our property is covered thickly in cedar, pine, madrone and oak trees. There's a lot of poison oak coming up this spring...we only moved in a few months ago...and of curse there's lots of blackberries. We plan on running goats over our property (and our neighbor's) to clear out the underbrush and ready it for pasture. We're not cutting down any trees yet. For now we're concentratin on clearing all the wood that's fallen and rotting or been cut and left to rot. What logs we can move, we're reorienting to lay across the hills to help catch debris as water washes it down so that we have less swales, hugels and terracing to do. After that's done we'll begin cutting the dead trees out as well as thinning the seedlings to allow between 10-30 feet between each tree depending on the variety. Pasture will grow nicely between all this. Into the mix we'll add food forest plantings of fruit and nut trees in the understory as well as all the other plants that go into these guilds. It's a huge project but we're looking forward to it.

I recommend reading the book The Woodland Homestead by Brett McLeod. He begins by teaching you how to take stock of your woodland and seeing what types of trees you have, figuring what uses you want from your lands, etc. I'm still in the beginning of the book but I'm liking what I've been reading and it meshes nicely with permaculture concepts.
 
tomas viajero
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In New York State tree removal and Zoning are Town issues.

Some towns don't care how many trees you cut, others are concerned about every twig. My town says I can cut ten cords of firewood for personal use, or 10,000 board feet... take your pick. Otherwise I need a permit.

Also, consider that when removing trees you're left with stumps. New York won't let you burn them or bury them (the logic of which escapes me). So stump-grinding is the best option.
 
Tyler Ludens
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tomas viajero wrote: New York won't let you burn them or bury them


Can you hugelkultur over them?
 
tomas viajero
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Tyler-

Can you hugulkultur over them? Well, technically, no. But the real answer is yes.

Actually, most contractors wait till the DEC (Department of Environmental Concerns) (otherwise known as the Department of Eternal Consternation) isn't looking and dig a huge hole. The stumps mysteriously disappear.
This actually makes a lot of sense since carbon is sequestered in the soil, while burning puts the carbon in the atmosphere.

Incorporating stumps and waste wood into hugulkulturs is an even greater improvement.
 
Travis Johnson
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I would never root a stump and bury it for one simple reason, sink holes. Livestock can step in them and snap legs and it makes tractor work even more difficult. I do however bury rocks.

We have a lot of rock walls here so a favorite trick of mine is to take my bulldozer and dig a trench on the down hill side of the rock wall about 5 feet deep, and then push the rock wall into it. Smooth it over with loam, and being below plow-depth, it works quite well. Another trick is to push the big rocks into muddy areas and then drive up on them with the bulldozer. The pounding of the tracks sends the rocks deep into the mud. Cover with loam and again you are good. The only reason I do this is because it saves pushing big rocks ALL the way across a field/pasture. If they are close to edge of the field I am making, I'll just push them aside.

Another trick to clearing a field is to use an excavator/bulldozer combination. Use an excavator to pull the stump in the fall and just leave it on top of the ground. Over winter the dirt freezes and when you use a bulldozer to push the stump to the edge of the field, all the dirt just falls off right where you want it; in your field.

Honestly, I prefer to stump with a bulldozer. With it you can get the stumps out of the ground and to the edge of the field with one machine, as well as smooth your field to a glass like surface when you are done. A Excavator can only get the stump out of the ground. A bulldozer/excavator combination is best, but you must also truck two pieces of equipment to.

Stumps are tricky. Spruce, hemlock and fir are easy and I'll tackle some big ones with my dozer, but big Ash and White Pine I steer clear of because their tap roots go down to the center of the earth.

Get the biggest dozer you can afford to hire/rent. You are not taking on a simple stump, you are wrestling weight and it takes sheer weight to stump efficiently. But more importantly, that wide blade is also what gives you a really smooth field when you are done. I use an 850 John Deere if that tells you anything. Its not the biggest John Deere makes, but it is the second biggest.

Don't be put off by a 4 way dozer blade instead of a 6 way. You need to tip the blade from right to left and obviously lift the blade up and down, angling is NOT required. In fact the big dozers often can't. The reason is simple. Set at an angle, you just skid your bulldozer sideways anyway and off the stump.

Some people say cut the stumps high so you have leverage to rip a stump out, but that is wrong. A dozer blade only raises to 4 feet anyway and with an excavator you dig down. To get a stump out, you dig down under it. It is like a piece of glass on a smooth surface with water. You must get under it to help break that suction and when you do, "pop" up it flops out of the earth.

These are the steps to digging out a stump:

Typically a bulldozer tilts more to one side than the other. Approach the stump with the blade tilted fully to that side (typically the right)
Lower the blade deeply about 4 feet before the stump
As the cutting edge starts to rip the roots apart start to angle the blade to flat
As the stump starts to roll up out of the ground start to lift your blade
Lift your blade until it is all the way up
Reverse your machine backwards until you can get under the stump again
Go forward, hitting the root ball flat on
Lift the blade about 1 foot off the ground all the way to the edge of the field so you do not lose your precious top soil


I know how to make pastures/fields. Everything in this 12 acre field was forest 6 years ago.



 
tomas viajero
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Travis-

That's a good description of how to remove stumps. I work with a backhoe and bulldozer combo also... the backhoe cuts the roots and the bulldozer pushes the stump out. All of a sudden it's .. pop. And then you just push it to its final resting place. I like the care you show with pushing stumps over fields and letting the topsoil drop on the fields.

I use a stump grinder quite a bit to keep contours as they are, just without stumps. With small trees, like 6" to 10" its easy work taking a stump down six inches below surface level. With larger stumps like Pine... 36" plus, it can take a long time to grind a stump down... several hours. Digging those out is an OK option in some cases but you're left with a bit hole. A very big hole.

It's good to share notes about how we do these things.
 
Travis Johnson
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I am clearing a few more acres this year, and just got the latest breakdown of the laws here in Maine, and it was just as I stated. Granted this is Maine, but when it comes to Agriculture the laws are very lenient on what you can do. I got the list of laws because every two years I must file an intent to harvest permit because I cut wood off my land commercially, and fall outside the minimum acre size.

If people need the specific laws I can get them, but basically if you own less than 100 acres of land, can get it done in 2 years or less, and do so for agricultural purposes, you can clear whatever you want. I am not saying you would ever want to, but it absolutely shocked me that clearing fresh water swamps was even allowed. Why anyone would want to is beyond me. I see it all the time; farmers grazing their livestock in wet holes, but that is bad for the environment and especially their hooves!

Don't worry about me though. I live high up on a hill and so water runs off this farm and not through it. I can clear land anywhere, and 90% of it is land that was once farmland anyway.

 
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