For­est man­age­ment tips to en­sure a healthy crop

Irish Examiner - Farming - - AGRI ADVERTISING FEATURE - Daniel Hes­sion

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.

Oak shap­ing

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.

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