Forest Practices

Larry Caldwell larryc at
Tue Apr 29 08:37:28 EST 1997

In article <861854956.19673 at>, dwheeler at wrote:

>   Coddington at wrote:

> > Larry, one thing a forester might have told you is that underplanting
> > Douglas Fir would probably not be the most effective way to regenerate
> > your stand, since they require full sunlight for growth.

Sure I've heard this.  That doesn't mean I have to pay any attention.
If I kill off the cover on that slope there won't be anything growing
on it, because it will come down the canyon some winter at about
250 mph.  The only way to convert the slope to fir production is
selective slash and squirt.  I'm sure I mentioned that in my original 

Let me be very descriptive.  The slope is covered by several feet of fine,
wind-deposited silt and leaf loam reposing at a slope of about 150% !!!
If you step on this soil, you slide until you hit something with roots.
I have my doubts about how anyone would propose to log it, but think you
could probably get the timber out with selective logging and a high line.
It's steep enough that if you fall a tree you run like hell, because the
branches are on their way and will be going 50 mph by the time they pass
the stump.

One of the reasons I don't let foresters make decisions.  They have a
limited number of recipes and no sense. 

> I've heard this thesis before, and would like the citation for this
> information. I have found Douglas fir reseeding itself and germinating
> well under near full- canopy conditions in Multnomah, Clackamas and Linn
> counties of Oregon. Before the data take on a life of its own, where did
> it come from?

A full canopy makes an excellent nursery for Doug Fir, and the trees will
eventually outcompete hardwoods.  Unlike other parts of the world, the
climax forest in the PNW is softwood.  However, the young tree will be
weak and spindly until it overtops the canopy, which may take decades,
and full shade will kill the fir.  That's why I have to use slash and
squirt to make holes in the canopy.  I figure I can take a third of the
canopy out every 10 years.  After 30 years the fir should be capable of
taking over nailing the soil to the hillside.  

On flatland up to 100% slope, the common technique is aerial spraying with
2-4D to knock back the canopy and brush.  100% slope is the reliable angle
of repose of most soils.  If you get much steeper on anything but rock,
you're courting slope failure.  At the very least that will wipe out your
plantation, like happened to one of my neighbors last winter, or at 
worst will wipe out your house or kill somebody.

-- Larry

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