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Springtime in your forest

17 April 2020
Type Media Article

FORESTRY: Spring is a good time to assess your forest’s condition and plan for the future! Good management will help your trees to realise their full economic and environmental potential. Liam Kelly & Noel Kennedy, Forestry Development Officers.

Your health and that of your family and friends is important. Follow the HSE Public Health advice on “Staying Safe” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Timely tips
Have you-

  • Applied for the 2020 forest premiums – which is now all on-line?
  • Applied for Basic Payment on eligible forestry? Application deadline is Friday 15th May

Walk your forest regularly to check your trees!

Young forests (up to 4-5 years old)
How well young forests are looked after in the first four to five years will have a major influence on their ultimate crop quality and timber value. Each new forest is subject to a maintenance grant assessment under the Afforestation grant scheme at year 4.

Forest owners should be aware that the following important management issues need to be addressed so that the forest can be considered successfully established:

Vegetation control - Grass and weeds have begun to grow strongly. For trees to grow well vegetation must be controlled either mechanically or by chemical methods. Careful use of herbicides according to the manufacturer’s instructions is essential.

Tree stocking – 90% of the original tree stocking is required at year 4. Trees that fail should be replaced as early as possible during the planting season. The stocking density can be checked by counting the number of trees in an 8m radius circle (50 trees in a plot for most conifers/66 trees for broadleaves).

Tree health – At year 4 the trees should be healthy. If a nutrient deficiency is identified, remedial fertilisation should take place between April and August.

Fences – Young trees are vulnerable to browsing. With livestock now returning to the land ensure that all fences are checked and maintained as stock proof. Check your trees for possible damage by rabbits, hares and deer. If tree shelters are in place, ensure that they are secure following recent storms.

Fire - We are now entering a high risk period for forest fires so pay heed to forest fire and dry weather warnings. Please note the burning of vegetation is controlled by the Wildlife Acts.
Check your forest regularly and ensure that all firebreaks are well maintained. Have your forest insured against fire.

Frost and Aphids – As trees begin to bud they may be at risk of damage by late spring frost. Defoliation of conifers may also be caused by the Green Spruce Aphid. If you have concerns about the condition of your forest seek professional forestry advice.

Good communication between you and your forester is important – so keep in touch!

As forests grow..
As forests grow it is essential to keep an eye on them. Tasks that you can check may include:

  • Stockproof condition of fences and tree shelters
  • Tree health
  • Frost, fire or aphid damage
  • Condition of drains and silt traps
  • The need to improve access e.g. inspection paths
  • Planning for thinning e.g. preparing applications such as Felling licence, Forest road grant, Woodland Improvement

Pine weevil – this pest poses a serious threat to newly planted conifers on reforestation sites. The risk is at the highest in the months of April and August. Reforestation sites should be checked for signs of damage and if found prompt remedial action is necessary.

Protect yourself and the environment – adhere to all forestry Health & Safety and Environmental guidelines

Teagasc is here to help you!
For further information contact your Teagasc Forestry Adviser or check our website www.teagasc.ie/forestry