Tree removal may be necessary, waste is not. The goal of this endeavor is to prevent the waste of natural resources and tree fiber by reducing the number of trees being burned in a pile or pit when fence rows or old homesteads are cleared for crop land.
Many of these fencerows should not be cleared as our ancestors planted them for a reason that still exists, to reduce wind erosion and summer drying of crops, as well as harvest snow. Waterways should not be cleared as that increases run off and erosion. But if someone is removing trees even though it is not going to improve the environment or the ecosystem, the act should not be compounded by also wasting the resource.
To rescue the trees some equipment is needed to ‘stay ahead’ of the dozers clearing the area. I’ve been told by a few businesses operating the dozers, that if I could stay ahead of them, I can take the trees. With enough forewarning I could remove the trees properly utilizing trunk and limbs in a safe manner, but this could be accomplished more efficiently with tree shear with accumulator, boom (Scorpin-grab) grapple, and multipurpose trailer. A few months ago we discovered a clearing project after they had started and if I’d had equipment I could have gathered logs that they had pushed over prior to the piling, staying out of their way as they pushed out more. Or if they’ve already been piled, the boom grapple allows the safe removal of each ‘log’ from the pile, to be placed on the trailer and removed.
The Gehl, or comparable, skid steer would serve as an efficient tool with multiple attachments – tree spade, tree shear, and grab grapple, and potentially others. Truck and trailer would be needed to haul the skid steer to projects and wood from the projects. Getting a flatbed trailer allows multiple uses when utilizing stake sides in various configurations depending on the project. A flatbed truck with stake sides would also be versatile for branches, chips, short logs, etc.
Equipment could also be used in wind break creation and renovation. Moving unwanted cedars from pastures to form windbreaks where needed, or relocate any tree of 3-4” at ground level, to a preferred location. This could even be clearing a pasture for one landowner (paid service) and using the trees on a different property (paid service).
Tree sheer is used to remove unwanted trees and easily place them in piles on a trailer, limbs still intact. Other options on some sheers include a delimber. The small size of the Gehl and sheer allow the removal of dead or dying trees from a windbreak during renovation with little damage to neighboring trees. Management of a woodlot can also be accomplished using the sheer reducing damage to residual trees, yet removing desired trees for utilization. Sustainable use can be achieved in woodlot management.
Markets are ever shifting and range from raw logs to value added products. Raw logs of certain species can be sold to the pallet plant in Gretna, which will pick up a semi load (40 or so 12” logs). Deliveries of specific species and sizes of trees can be sold upon delivery to the fiber plant in Clarks, last quote was $65/ton for cedar, with 49 trees from that older windbreak grossing $800 or more. Other outlets are continually investigated.
The Post peeler will allow the utilization of pine trees killed by pine wilt disease. Without this equipment the trees would be entirely destroyed. With the peeler, the bark and ½ inch of trunk can be peeled off with the insect causing the disease also falling into the peelings. The pile can then be burned as an extra precaution to make sure the insect is killed and cannot spread the disease. Peeled pine logs can be used by custom builders in rustic staircases and porch beams. Peeled cedar and pine can be used for furniture building. Peeling the bark off a log prior to running it thru a sawmill also reduces wear on the saw blade.
The sawmill can be used to add value to the wood rescued to provide a supply of local rough cut dimension lumber or specialty products, such as custom blocks for the toy maker in Exeter, hardwood for Friend craftsman Hardwood Artisan, cedar planks for grilling, replacing barn siding, etc. Several walnut trees are being removed this fall at Spring Creek Prairie near Denton, which big operators don’t want to get because there are too few. This equipment would allow me to fill the niche market, mostly with free wood. We own a 12” planer that could be used for specialty dimension lumber and the cedar planks, increasing their value. Smoothing the rough cut boards with the planer makes more versatile lumber.
We own a chipper and can chip branches and smaller trees for mulch, already have a few people interested in obtaining a truck load.
But to do this we need capital and I was fortunate to find the Chase Bank / Google Mission Main Street Grant program with minutes to spare on the night applications for the 2013 cycle were due. We have a chance to receive a $250,000 grant that could not only get us the equipment and provide the avenue of not only saving the tree resources from waste, but providing job growth in Fillmore County and the surrounding area, collaborating with other arborists and processors. “Gathering the unwanted trees is the first step. Finding markets for the raw material and getting it there. Processing the wood into value added products takes labor. We can find niche products and markets. We could leverage Grow Nebraska for items such as cedar grilling planks.