The January 21 webinar on Ecology and Management of beech was particularly useful because of the discussion it generated. It has been archived to www.youtube.com/ForestConnect at this specific URL (here).
Note that a related webinar on herbicide use in forests is scheduled via ForestConnect on May 20, 2015, but Dave Jackson. See the events panel here as time approaches.
Two questions came up during the 1/21/2015 webinar that warrant further clarification, and for the later, some activity and discussion.
Triclopyr (Garlon 4) control via basal bark treatments. Dave Jackson of PSU has done some really nice work establishing that dilutions of Garlon 4 in basal oil that are more dilute that the label specifications (this is legal for agriculture in NY at least) have good efficacy via basal bark treatment of some common interfering plants. Unfortunately, and this was the question raised. Garlon 4 is a restricted use herbicide in NY, thus only a certified (commercial or private) applicator can purchase this product. Pathfinder II is the pre-mixed formulation of Garonly 4 in oil, but is mixed at a higher concentration than is necessary according to work done by Dave. It seems reasonable to think that a dilution of Pathfinder II to a concentration similar to that used by Dave will work, but that hasn't been tested. This summer I will be testing dilutions of Pathfinder II to confirm this works.
Here is a link to the results of Dave's study.
High-stumping beech. (review and edits provided by Dr. Nyland 2/27/2015)
During the webinar, several participants raised the question of “high-stumping” (also called beech shearing) as a method to control sapling and small-pole sized beech. I learned from the audience that this was a strategy that Dr. Nyland of SUNY ESF has worked with. I had the opportunity to chat briefly with Dr. Ralph Nyland at the recent NYSAF meeting (another benefit of membership) to ask him about his work on this topic. Dr. Nyland has not reviewed these comments, so there may be modifications to this blog.
Basically, high-stumping (shearing) is the process of cutting sapling and pole-sized beech (up to about 3“ dbh) at a convenient height (2 to 3 feet above ground), but below the lowest living lateral branch. This removal obviously provides an increase of sunlight to the forest floor and the opportunity to enhance the establishment and growth of other plants…presumably desirable hardwoods. Dr. Nyland has research that is monitoring beech stems thus treated in the Cortland (Cuyler Hill State Forest) area of NY. He described to me that after 6 growing seasons only 12% of cut stems sprouted, and all of them had a living lateral branch below where they cut off the sapling in 2006. None of the cut stems lacking a live lateral branch has a living sprout in 2012. The technique was also applied commercially in 2013 as part of a timber sale at the same site, with similar results when first checked in 2014. Dr. Nyland will be revisiting these sites in summer 2015 for more detailed sampling. I asked Dr. Nyland about the need for a closed canopy and he indicated that these trials were done beneath a closed overstory canopy. Further, earlier understory beech removal using brush saws proved more effective in plots that had a closed canopy, rather than beneath open upper canopy.
These results are promising. There are some interesting questions such as (1) how high is too high – would 4 ft work as long as you cut off the small tree below the lowest live branch; (2) how will loggers react to a forest of 2 to 3 foot high small-diameter stumps, (3) does high stumping really not trigger root suckering, or is it delayed, (4) how much cost would high stumping add as a preparatory pre-harvest treatment for chainsaw vs. mechanical felling, (5) what are the best silvicultural strategies (sequence and timing of treatments) to use high stumping to limit the abundance of beech in a stand, and (6) does season of the cutting matter? What other questions come to your mind?
There is ample opportunity for foresters and land owners to experiment with this technique and report their findings here. Please find an area of your woods, document what is present (e.g., measure some trees, take some pictures), install your treatments (safely), and report what you learn. We will all benefit.