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Thread: Sugarbush management

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Hubbardston, MA
    Posts
    10

    Default Sugarbush management

    Hello all,

    I'm officially hooked! This year I had 40 taps running on about 15-20 maples in the front of my property. I did some recon around the woods behind my house this past weekend. I have about an acre/acre and a half lot of wooded property behind my house that has about 20-30 maples that I'd like to tap next season in addition to the ones out front. There is about a 6-7% pitch towards the house and it's a well drained area. The woods are heavily overgrown underneath with smaller evergreens (species unknown). I'd like to remove most, if not all of them, to allow easier access to the maples/lines etc and also to let more light in behind the house. There are also oaks, ash, hickory, and beech back there as well. I plan to leave most of the hardwoods standing. Any concerns with removing all the smaller evergreens? I have plenty of larger white pines around the property that will be staying from a biodiversity/wildlife standpoint. I'll be clearing any dead standing trees or diseased/damaged trees as well. I really have no attachment to the evergreens and they attract insects and squirrels like crazy. I won't mind if the squirrels move to the neighbors property I've read a little about having a forest management plan drawn up. Do you think that's reasonable for an acre lot? Any insight or thoughts would be appreciated or source material to review. I'd just like to make walking back there easier and if possible, boost sap yields a little.

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Savoy, MA
    Posts
    376

    Default

    I don't think an acre of habitat would need a forest management plan. Take out the evergreens. Clear up the lot as you want to make it easier to access your maples. Unless you're skilled and experienced with a chainsaw or plan to hire it out, I'd be careful with your standing dead trees. The can be widow makers if you don't know what you're doing. Even when you do know what you're doing, they can still reach and sting you real fast. What's your goal in removing them anyway? They are not shading or competing with your maples. They make great snags for wildlife. They will slowly rot and break down over time.
    16x24 Timber Frame Sugar House
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    11,108

    Default

    When I had my Stewardship plan drawn up, 10 acres was the smallest that foresters in New York State do it, at least state foresters. With a 1.5 acre piece of land you are likely on your own.
    I do suggest you read up on it so you have a better idea how to do it. I'll give a few pointers, in no particular order. 1. don't open up to fast, in other words the main objective will be to improve your maple and other hardwoods stand, but don't cut trees being removed from every side of the save tree all at once. Look at the canopy of the trees, it works best if you only open one or 2 sides at one time, let the canopy fill back in, then open more. Also, don't try to remove all non maples, if you did, the stand would be more susceptible to diseases or insect invasions. On the hardwoods, thin crowded trees, even maples. If 2 maples or any other species are crowding each other. Study them to decide which should go. It won't always be the smaller one. Get some books on tree I.D., it will help you for years. The healthiest woods will get enough light to the forest floor for new trees to take hold. Leave some of the "trash" on the ground, it helps protect young trees long enough to get 3-4 feet tall with little deer damage.
    Make your own written plan, what do you want your little piece of heaven to look like in 5 yrs, 10 years and 20 years? On 1.5 acres the plan might be just a 1 or 2 page outline or a simple list of steps to take, over the next few years. Take baby steps, don't rush it.
    Dave Klish about 400 taps, down from much more. Retired from collecting and boiling in 2021. Mostly because of a bad hip.
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
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    website: www.cnymaple.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Arcade ny
    Posts
    281

    Default

    I have been clear hemlocks, beach, and ash out of maple woods for the last 3 years. Mostly hemlocks through. We have been leaving some hemlocks for Wind breaks. Depending on your location and the landscape it might be better to leave some evergreens. Pines trees have more stability then maples. There roots go deeper in the soil. Just a thought
    2019:250 gallons
    2020:324 gallons
    2021:?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Hubbardston, MA
    Posts
    10

    Default

    I think most of the trees I'd like to remove are Hemlocks. I'm comfortable with my tree felling skills enough to tackle small/med trees in a dense wooded area. Most are under 30ft tall and don't interfere with the maple canopy. There is plenty of wind blockage from the woods on my neighbors property that surrounds me. I'd really like to thin out the smaller stuff to make access to the trees and running lines a little easier. It's pretty thick back there!

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