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Spring snow damage

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Spring snow damage

Postby hikerduane » Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:47 pm

I've been out cutting firewood this Spring for the next few years and have had good luck bucking up small, windfall Doug Fir. I have left the Incense Cedar as I like wood that burns longer, plus, I have some Incense Cedar that I have had for 8-10 years now anyway that I use for kindling. I was out Sunday for a late run on my dirtbike, checking out an area to see if the snow was melted off the road yet. Some loggers must be getting ready to work up the road as the road was cleared of snow. I noticed more tops from trees laying all over, enough to make me think that logging was going on in the area, but upon paying closer attention, they were all tops broken out of trees and in some cases, the whole tree came down. So many trees were down, it looked like logging operations of old. This happens from time to time and what is amazing, that some years one species of tree is more susceptible than other trees. This year it seems to be across the board, although I selected the Doug Fir as it is a longer burning wood, but not as good as oak which I have not found much of. Trees down have run around 10"-14" I would say, some just a small top, others, a bit larger. It usually takes a very wet snow, that clings to the trees or even throw in some wind to take them out. One road last night that I was going to go down to see if a windfall Cedar from a year ago was still there for my neighbor, was blocked by eight trees or so, it would take at least an hour or more of work to get down the quarter mile to the end. That was the only place I saw some down oak and it wasn't much as I walked to the end.

For the fishermen, I was up above Bottle Springs, headed towards the Middle Fork Trails, which should be accessable now.
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Re: Spring snow damage

Postby cmon4day » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:09 pm

hikerduane wrote: I noticed more tops from trees laying all over, enough to make me think that logging was going on in the area, but upon paying closer attention, they were all tops broken out of trees and in some cases, the whole tree came down. .


I'll bet top dollar that those tops were from pines. I have a cabin in Dorrington and throughout the subdivision there were broken pines all over. On my lot alone, I've had three. Pine seems to be a soft, brittle wood.

As far as wood gathering goes, I like to hunt for the elusive Black Oak, with an occasional Cedar thrown into the pile.

Happy Hunting. . .
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Re: Spring snow damage

Postby hikerduane » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:18 pm

Sorry, quite a bit of pine also, mostly Jeffery Pine with some Sugar Pine and White Fir. I know my trees, so they all aren't pine. A good year for cutting green wood for future use. I'm stocking up on Doug Fir, as some years it is scarce. I have a nice supply of Black Oak. I'm the wood hog in my neighborhood. When people move away and come back to visit, they know I am still there by all the wood.:) As one older neighbor lady said, "money in the bank".
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Re: Spring snow damage

Postby dave54 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:55 pm

The true firs (white and red in this area) have a shape that sheds snow -- drooping flexible branches. So they tend not to accumulate the heavy weights on top. OTOH white fir wood rots so fast that even a dying-but-not-yet-dead treetop is weak and brittle.

Ponderosa and jeffrey pine wood is stronger, but the branches do not bend and shed the wet snow as easily. So they often break more readily.

Past harvesting practices (too much individual tree selection) have altered forest composition and structure so the dominant overstory trees are often pine, with firs in the understory. So the layer 1 pines get the brunt of the snowfall, while the understory trees are sheltered. Then the tallest trees are of course exposed to the winds more.

If you look at the patterns and orientation of the broken tops you can sometimes determine the exact direction and dimensions of the wind gust or microburst that did the deed.

On the plus side, the remaining boles with the broken tops will become potential raptor aeries, and the rot that works its way down the tree stem makes it easier for the cavity nesters.
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