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I am in the process of marking trees to cut this winter. Part of my quality control. I am undecided whether I should keep the black gum trees and honeysuckle. This area was at one time fenced in for cattle about 50 years ago. I am removing lots of red maple, while keeping poplar, hickory, black oak, ash, and a few white oak saplings. My goals are for timber quality and wildlife food. Thoughts?
 

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Black gun is a great wildlife food, but not so much for deer... Turkeys love the fruit. Honeysuckle is top notch winter forage for deer so if managed it can be a great food source for hungry winter whitetails.
 

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If you do cut the black gum and split it for firewood you are in for a lot of fun unless you have a pretty good hydraulic wood splitter. I cut one some years ago that was about 18 inches in diameter and while you could easily cut stove length logs with a chainsaw, the maul just bounced off of it. I buried a wedge in a log and had to burn the log to get the wedge back. If you are familiar with dogwood it is about the same to split. For this reason both woods used to be used a lot to make tool handles because they don't break very easily.
 

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In regards to the gum I would decide which is your priority wildlife or timber. If it's wildlife leave it. If it's timber quality cut it as it is competing with your other desireable timber species. If you think you may want to have some but not a lot take a look at the spacing of each with other tree canopies around it. If it is not competing with the keeper trees around it leave it. If it's crowding others than cut it. The honeysuckle can be a loaded question depending which kind you have. If it's Japanese Honeysuckle at present it's on the list of invasives in PA even tho deer etc.. will eat it. I know of several guys in SE PA with intensively managed properties that have been working to remove it since it can be such a problem out competing other desireable plant species.
 

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I split gum one time with a maul.And that one time was it.





Keep the honeysuckle.
 

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CJBS2003 said:
Black gun is a great wildlife food, but not so much for deer... Turkeys love the fruit. Honeysuckle is top notch winter forage for deer so if managed it can be a great food source for hungry winter whitetails.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks for your thoughts featherduster. I will remove the black gum that is limiting growth of the more desirable trees. As for the honeysuckle..still not sure what I should do. The honeysuckle is located along the bottom of the hollow. I was thinking about removing them and planting norway spruce. I would like to see year-round cover. On the other hand, it sounds like a pain, and it does provide some food.
 

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No Prob. Do you know what honeysuckle you have? Japanese or Tatarian are the 2 most common? Tatarian is easier to control by cutting it and treating the stump with herbicide or just tear it out with a backhoe. You will still get sprouts for a while but not hard to remove. Japanese can be pretty time consuming to eliminate. Deer will eat both species at different times of the year so having some is not a bad thing. Sounds like your thinking in the right direction tho as far as would it be better to plant something in its place that would be more valuable to wildlife? Only you know that answer best!
 

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Not having any honeysuckle on the PA property, I'd be inclined to fertilize it and plant the Spruce anyway. On our VA property, we have a large mixed honeysuckle/red cedar thicket and it's always loaded w/deer.
 

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Since you are in pa I would think you have bush honeysuckle, which can be very invasive. I would try controlling it because you will probably never get rid of it
 

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I hinge and cut and let lay alot but not all my black gum.It stump sprouts very good and lots come up from seed; the deer love the sprouts!
 
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