Forest management tips to ensure a healthy crop
Now is the perfect time of year to walk your forests and deal with any management issues that need to be addressed.
Work carried out now will save you a lot of time, effort and money by addressing problems early on.
Replace any dead trees Replanting of any dead trees should take place up to March depending on the tree species and the site type. It is important to replace any failures as early as possible to ensure that the forest develops evenly and to avoid unnecessary maintenance later on.
Take conifer foliar samples
Trees have a much lower nutrient demand compared to other agricultural crops but trees planted on certain soil types can develop nutrient deficiencies which will result in slower growth and reduce timber yields. Walk your forests now and check for common symptoms of nutrient problems. Symptoms such as changes in tree colour, reduction in needle length/leaf size, reduction in shoot growth and general reduction in vigour can indicate nutrient deficiencies. These symptoms can also be caused by poor drainage, frost, exposure and even vermin damage so it is important to identify the cause of the problem. Foliage samples should be taken for conifers mid winter.
Mid winter is the best time to shape oak trees. Shaping is the process of removing forks and very large competing side branches to produce long straight lengths of timber for higher value markets. Teagasc have a leaflet on their forestry website that offers details on how to shape young broadleaf trees.
Review insurance requirements Forest owners are recommended to insure their forest crops against fire and/or wind damage. There are a number of effective insurance policies on offer which include cover for loss of timber value, cost of replanting, fire services charges, public and employers liability.
Be sure to shop around for the most suitable and effective policy.