August 18th found a large number of WCSWA members clustered around Jim Brown, host of a tree farm tour. Jim described the history of his 77 acre tree farm, from his purchase in 1972 to the present. As Jim describes it, his tree farm is the result of “triage” – too much to do for the time available, so the top priority jobs get done and others fall off the table!
When Jim acquired the property, it hadn’t been logged in 12 years. He found the roads by following the scotch broom and blackberry with a Dodge Power Wagon. Over the years Jim and his family worked to reduce the unwanted vegetation, but with an eye to retaining natural diversity. He didn’t use herbicide until 1997, and does today. However, he uses only the spot spray method, rather than a broadcast type spray. He began timber harvest with a commercial thinning in 1982. Jim relies on natural regeneration but plants as needed to get desired stocking. Maple is intermixed in the forest, providing “shade pruning” of the Douglas-fir. Where maple becomes too aggressive or prolific, it is removed. White oak trees were common on the property when Jim acquired it, and some were sold for wine barrels and oak lumber.
Jim’s plan for the future is to continue periodic harvest, every three years or so, until the merchantable timber is gone and new stands are established. Jim uses patch cuts, 2-3 acres generally, but up to 10 acres if appropriate.
Thanks for a good tour, Jim!