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Discussion Starter #1
I am doing a select timber cut on my property this coming winter. I am taking out mostly overmature poplars to open up the canopy and hopefully start some regen. I also have a lot of Aspen trees which I have been told by 2 different foresters aren't worth much and really should be cut down. The second guy told me to just go through with a chainsaw and cut them all down. Anybody have an opinion on what to do with Aspens?
 

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I burn quite a bit of aspen and have had it cut into boards for building projects.

If you cut Aspen it will clone into shoots very thick cover great if you are managing for grouse woodcock. If you don't want this happening; spray the stumps with round up or something along those lines.
 

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Deer love those aspen shoots. So, its a win/win if he can get aspen to grow in his area.

I think they do have to be cut in winter if you want to regen the aspen tho.
 

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HoytUSA said:
I am taking out mostly overmature poplars to open up the canopy and hopefully start some regen. I also have a lot of Aspen trees which I have been told by 2 different foresters aren't worth much
so what is the difference between aspen and poplar?

sounds like your foresters were "procurement foresters", not worried about any thing other than the sawmill. which is alright if that's what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I don't really want more aspen to come back if I cut them down although if the deer love the shoots and it's good for grouse/woodcock, I may think twice about spraying the stumps with Roundup. In the end, I'd rather get oak, ash or poplar regen than more aspen. It will be interesting to see if I can get any regen though. We have quite the high DPSM here.

Timberdoodle, are you saying you burn aspen for firewood? I've been told it's pretty much junk wood even for that. Is it worth the effort to cut and split aspen for firewood? I have tons of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Mike Barcaskey said:
HoytUSA said:
I am taking out mostly overmature poplars to open up the canopy and hopefully start some regen. I also have a lot of Aspen trees which I have been told by 2 different foresters aren't worth much
so what is the difference between aspen and poplar?

sounds like your foresters were "procurement foresters", not worried about any thing other than the sawmill. which is alright if that's what you want.
I think they definitely were giving advice about future timber sales and being able to make a profit off the land. Nobody will pay you anything for aspen. Poplar prices are good right now. These are big mature aspen trees. If there is no wildlife benefit and no value on the timber market, why keep them standing?
 

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Believe me, there IS wildlife benefit to aspen. It is in short supply in PA. Cutting them will regenerate the stand and you can keep regenerating it if managed properly. It will give you thick cover and food for both deer and grouse.
 

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There is very little wildlife value to mature aspens outside of some winter use by grouse eating the buds. Personally I'd cut them and everything else around them outside of oak/cherry and watch the jungle that grows up and the deer activity that follows.
 

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Hoyt, yes I burn a quite a bit of it every year. To be sure there are better choices for burning but it is abundant here so thats what I use. I get good heat out of it however it does not usually last the night in my stove. So I mix maple ash in during the night. But I've used it for years.

Dutch, didn't know about the winter cutting regeneration. I most always cut in winter anyway so I never really noticed.


Forgot to mention Aspen is a key source of food during the real hard times coming off winter for turkeys as well.
 

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Hoyt....Do not judge the Aspen on it's timber value...The wildlife value potential far exceeds burning or
making boards. It is one of my favorite wildlife management tools. Most stands are a clone, all of the same age and origen.. And they are for the most part, all connected together in a sub-surface root system.To maximize a flush of regen growth, all of the clone must be cut.Otherwise the common root system feeds the ones left standing. We are all married to our food plots, time cost and effort make one wonder if it is worth it, You can put more tons of food per acre in the food zone by regenerating a clone. Whitetail Institute studies show deer will consume 1/3 of thier daily food intake on Aspen shoots if available. (For the record, Sassafrass works the same way, and can be managed for food also. Deer love it). In keeping deer on a property, it's hard to beat a pick-up stick pile... Especially if it covers a few acres. This winter when you have cabin fever, go out and cut down a few acres, make it a winter project. Purposefully drop trees over each other.Make it the biggest mess you can.If done correctly you will not be able to walk through it...Deer love this.They will bed here. When the shooting starts, they will head here.You should be waiting here.They will come. Over the next 5 years you will have produced a food and cover plot that money can't buy...Don't just try to get rid of them, use them to your advantage....Good luck, and keep your fingers.
 

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Timber Pro is right on on the aspen having the interconnecting root systems. I think of Aspens as one large organism with many stems, which we call trees. Thats why you can get a situation where you treat stumps or stems of a aspen with herbicide, and then you (either intentionally or unintentionally) kill a bunch of other stems. Aspen clones are a very interesting tree. They believe the largest living organism on earth, in terms of biomass, is a aspen clone. The largest one that is known is in the Rockies. It is actually named (Pando), and covers 111 acres and has over 47,000 stems. A thought when you are cutting Aspen, if you are interested in ruffed grouse. The male flower buds are a important winter food for grouse. You have probably seen grouse in tree tops in the winter eating buds. The individual clones are either male or female. If grouse is a management objective, then cut the female and leave the males. (you can get pictures showing the difference on line)Doing mini clearcuts will produce dense stands that are great brood cover for grouse in addition to escape/core cover for deer.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Not sure if there is more than one kind of aspen in PA or not but I forgot to say that these are bigtooth aspens. Does that change anything? From what I've heard so far, it sounds like cutting them and just letting new ones sprout is the best course to take. Thanks for the input guys!
 

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Friend of mine has an aspen thicket. Every so often, they cut them and keep it in a constant state of regen.

Listen to TimberPro, he's right on the money!
 

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Hoyt- def don't roundup those stumps. If they get too big for you down the road cutem again. Quaking aspen or Trembling aspen is the other type common in Pa. Deer love them all but you do need to keep cutting the big ones to get the max benefit. Take a good look on the forest floor right now in the area around those trees and you should see a light green colored sprouts popping up all around in a 50 foot radius or so. Managing this way should also not have a negative impact on the other oaks etc... you are trying to get in the long term. I would wait till winter to cut them tho. I work with a forester that has an eye towards wildlife and not board feet if you want a second opinon I can pass on his number.
 

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There are two species of aspen in PA. Bigtooth like you have and quaking. Quaking is better for grouse, but bigtooth is not bad. Bigtooth is less likely to sucker and form massive stands of clones like the quaking is more prone to do. Being in the southeastern part of the state is makes more sense that you have bigtooth over quaking. Bigtooth is a more southern species than the quaking and does better in warmer climates. Do you even have many if any grouse in your part of the state?
 
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