CONTRACT SERVICES

Professionals in the field covering Reforestation Services to Guarenteed Seedling Survival.

Firebreaks

Firebreaks are areas where vegetation and potential fuel sources are removed to help keep a prescribed fire in the desired area or to keep wildfires from encroaching on valuable resources. 

Established at or near the perimeter of an entire tract or stands within the tract for property protection, or as part of burning operations 

Typically, initially created using a bulldozer

Maintained by mowing or disking with a tractor, or re-pushing with a bulldozer

Provide long-term access and protection from wildfires when maintained

May be planted to promote wildlife habitat

Must adhere to BMPs to prevent erosion potential

Site Preparation Burn

Site prep burns are performed to remove debris, further reduce competition, and allow planting crews access to the forest soils.  

Typically performed from May-November

May be performed before, after or without site prep herbicide applications (must wait 3-5 weeks after herbicide application for chemical to have the desired effect)

Significant heat and smoke will occur with site prep burning

Only experienced, insured, and certified burners should attempt these burns

Using a Certified and Insured Prescribed Burn Manager will release the landowner from liability – as per Texas S.B. 1016

Understory Burn

Understory burns are designed to mimic natural processes while having little to no ill-effects on the overstory crop trees.  Understory burning is used to reduce competition and unwanted species, reduce fuel loading as a safeguard against wildfire, control forest pests and diseases, and improve wildlife habitat by promoting the growth and establishment of grasses and forbs.  

Typically performed from October-May

Requires exceptional knowledge of fire behavior and its effects with site conditions, weather and fuel characteristics

May be performed under juvenile or mature pine, or hardwood forests 

May be used in conjunction with an understory release herbicide application

Only experienced, insured, and certified burners should attempt these burns

Using a Certified and Insured Prescribed Burn Manager will release the landowner from liability – as per Texas S.B. 1016

Pile Burn

Pile burns are used to eliminate debris piles that occupy a significant portion of a tract’s surface area.  

Type, amount, size and distribution of these piles determine the necessity of this operation 

Returns productive acreage to the future stand

May be conducted any time of the year, weather permitting, but are most often conducted from March-November

Significant residual smoke from the piles will occur, proper planning is a must.

Site Preparation Herbicide

Site prep herbicide applications are used to chemically control vegetation prior to planting that may compete with newly planted seedlings for water, nutrients, and sunlight.  By controlling competing vegetation, seedling survival and early growth rates increase significantly.  Herbicide chemistry and tank mixtures are tailored to treat the specific spectrum of competition on each site.  Depending on the timing and specific herbicide prescription, a site prep application will not only control existing vegetation but may limit their seeds from germinating the following spring as well, thus eliminating the need for a herbicide application immediately following a planting operation.  

Site prep herbicide applications are typically applied aerially by helicopter from April-October.  If aerial spraying is not a viable option, application can also be performed from the ground either by hand or mechanically using a skidder or tractor.

Site prep herbicide applications often mean the difference between a pine stand and a mixed pine-hardwood stand at the time of final harvest.

Herbaceous Weed Control Application

The first year following planting is the most critical for seedling survival, establishment and early growth.  Herbaceous weed control is an application typically performed immediately following planting to control grasses and herbaceous vegetation that are unaffected by a site prep herbicide application or lack thereof.   

Typically applied aerially via helicopter

On rare occasion applied by hand or by machine from the ground

Applied February-May immediately following planting

Diluted rates necessary for application over young pines are not effective against hardwood brush

Woody Release Application

Woody release applications are typically applied in the first two-five years following establishment of a pine plantation to control aggressive woody species such as hardwood trees, perennial shrubs, and hardwood brush.  

Applied aerially via helicopter

Applied July-October

Chemicals suited for applications over pines are not effective against waxy-leaf species such as yaupon

Understory Release Application

Understory release applications are conducted to control unwanted woody vegetation that is competing for site nutrients and moisture.  This operation is often performed in the first few years following a thinning as unwanted vegetation colonizes ground that is freshly exposed to sunlight.  

Applied via skidder or tractor

Applied May-October

Studies show financially viable if BA of competition exceeds 10 sq ft/ac.

Can control waxy species that are uncontrollable via aerial applications

Can be applied under pine or hardwood canopies without damage to overstory applications.

Shearing

Following harvest operations, stumps and unmerchantable standing timber often remain on site and impede access for planting crews and other management activities.  Shearing involves a large V-cutting blade attached to a bulldozer that severs stumps and uncut timber at or near the ground line.

Typically performed May-November but may be performed year-round as ground conditions and weather allow

Primary mechanical debris management method that facilitates future operations

May be combined with other silvicultural operations, such as bedding or ripping, in a single pass to reduce costs and improve productivity

Shearing is always performed on contour to reduce the potential for erosion and loss of topsoil

Ripping with Cover Disk

Ripping (also called subsoiling) is a form of tillage designed to fracture compacted or heavy clay soils to facilitate root penetration and development of newly planted seedlings.  Ripping is performed using a heavy steel shank (typically 24 inches deep) that lifts and fractures compacted layers in the rooting zone and produces a large furrow in the soil.  The associated cover disk incorporates topsoil into the rip, reducing the amount of time needed for the rip to settle prior to planting while improving organic matter content, moisture holding capacity, and nutrient status of the planting zone.

Typically performed May-October but may be performed year-round as ground conditions and weather allow

Very common when converting pastureland to forestland

May be performed with a shearing or bedding operation in a single pass

Ripping is performed on contour to reduce the potential for erosion and loss of topsoil

Bedding

Bedding is the establishment of mounded rows of soil for the purpose of improving soil drainage and providing tillage to improve the rooting zone of planted seedlings.  Bedding is performed with a large bulldozer equipped with a heavy plow that exerts hydraulic pressure on multiple large disks that dig and overturn the soil creating a mound that is 8-14” (after weathering) above the normal ground line.  

Typically performed May-October but may be performed year-round as ground conditions and weather allow

Generally associated with wet sites, bedding raises the root zone above the normal water table to reduce the risk of root zone hypoxia and mortality

On sites requiring bedding, there is no substitute for this operation

May be performed with a shearing or ripping operation in a single pass

Bedding is performed on contour to reduce the potential for erosion and loss of topsoil

Eco-Til

Eco-Til is a tillage technique typically used on upland, tight clay soils where upland bedding would have historically occurred.  Eco-Til allows for a 16-30” deep rip along with a horizontal fracture zone of approximately 26” to facilitate root penetration without soil turnover which may produce air pockets or is unwanted in areas with thin topsoil.  Eco-Til is performed with a large bulldozer equipped with an Eco-Til plow and is most effective when the tract has had a site preparation burn prior to the operation.

Typically performed May-October but may be performed year-round as ground conditions and weather allow.

Maybe a good substitute for ripping where slopes are high or shallow rock layers are not an issue.

Performed on contour to reduce the potential for erosion and loss of topsoil.

Machine Planting

Machine planting (also called wildland machine planting) is a planting process in which a mechanical planter is pulled behind a bulldozer or tractor.  As the planter is pulled, it opens a furrow in the soil, receives a seedling from a rider in the back of the planter, positions the seedling into the furrow at the correct depth and spacing, and packs the soil around the roots of the seedling ensuring it is properly planted.

Typically performed from October-early April depending on type of seedlings to be planted

Typically leads to high survival rates when compared to hand planting 

Can be limited by steep and/or rocky terrain

Provides beneficial but inexpensive soil tillage – approximately 8-12 inches versus 24 inches with a ripping operation

Maybe paired with a banded herbaceous or fertilizer application in a single pass

Typically leads to a more consistent stand structure as trees mature

Hand Planting

Hand planting is conducted by labor crews who install trees using a planting tool.  Using dibble bars or hoedads carried by planters, a small opening is made in the soil, the seedling is placed at the proper depth into the opening, the opening is then closed with the planting tool and the planter’s heel is used to compact the soil around the root zone.  

Typically performed from October-early April depending on type of seedlings to be planted

Hand planting is used following ripping and/or bedding operations

Interplanting of areas with low first-year survival is always performed by hand

Purchase & Delivery of Planting Stock

Planting stock consists of all types of seedlings that may be planted – pine or hardwood, containerized or bare root.  Species and type of seedling will depend according to the individual site, other reforestation activities, and budget.  

All southeastern pine species and some hardwood species are available with varying degrees of genetic improvement

All seedlings are purchased from highly reputable nurseries

Delivery of seedlings includes pickup from nursery in refrigerated reefer vans and transportation of seedlings to planting site in an enclosed trailer or refrigerated unit