We reforested our 20 acres in the late eighties. Trees were originally planted ten feet on center and some of have died and some have been removed for firewood, but not nearly enough for a healthy forest. The other day a commercial thinning process was started that will last close to three weeks. The tree cutter arrived! It was massive. A low boy hauled it to the edge of our property. The tree cutter (we don’t know its proper name) was off-loaded and it immediately headed for the trees. The operator said that is where it likes to live. We are glad that it doesn’t like to live on the roads because the tread would make mincemeat of them!
Watching this bad boy in action is really something. The arm can grab a tree up to two to three rows away. A giant chain saw cuts off the tree in moments. The arm moves the tree into a horizontal position. The rotating teeth start zipping back and forth along the log removing some of the bark and sawing the log into specific lengths. When the log is released by the teeth it is tossed to its resting place like it is handling a little stick instead of a giant log.
The thinned forest looks a lot different. It is almost traumatic to look at. Our dense, dark shade is now light and airy.
It won’t take long for the canopy to reform. The spring growth has not started yet for this year, so I hope we will see a little difference by midsummer even this year. Now the trees can grow without being too crowded and be at less risk for dying over the summer if there is a drought. It should make for prime lumber years down the line. The trees being removed will be used for pulp and sawn lumber. The branches will remain on the forest floor to decompose and provide nutrients. The machines being driven over the branches will help break them up somewhat.
We know how much work it is to saw one tree down by hand, to limb it and cut it up for firewood. It is truly amazing to see how fast this machine does the same thing. We could not possibly get our forest properly thinned by ourselves. Thank you, A-1 Logging!!