Woodlot owners take tour

Marwin Cummings demonstrates crop tree management techniques to members of Tioga County Woodland Owners Association during the Oct. 4 meeting.

Members of the Tioga County Woodland Owners Association were treated to a woodland tour Sunday, Oct. 4, guided by host, Marwin Cummings. Cummings led the group to several areas of interest on his property and adjacent property belonging to Greg and Joy Cummings.

At the beginning of the trek, the group was invited to chew on a birch tree branch to which one member exclaimed, “It tastes like licorice.” Traveling on, Cummings pointed out some of the early succession plants that replaced logged out areas. He intends to remove these plants without the use of herbicides.

In a hemlock stand, travelers had a chance to view the wooley adelgid. Eventually, like the local ash trees, these trees will need to be culled.

Cummings noted that in 1870, the immediate area hosted a major road, a schoolhouse, 10 houses and several farms The large stone piles indicated that the area once provided crop fields and pastures. After timbering, early farmers used stone boats to scour the rock-strewn fields.

Today, the area is covered with large white pines which have little timber value and do not allow large amounts of light to penetrate the forest floor. As a result, very little vegetation is found at the ground level. Eventually these trees will be removed.

Traveling on, Cummings pointed out that he and his grandson, Sammy Cummings, showed the beginnings of a crop tree management program which opens the canopy to provide more light, which in turn increases the natural growth and germination of more valuable timber. A few select trees will remain standing to provide an adequate seed bed. Some trees were girdled and were allowed to die providing habitat for hole-dwelling birds and animals.

The program was designed by forest consultant, Steve Hoover. Hoover suggested constructing brush and limb piles after the trees are felled to encourage small animal habitat.

For information on how to join the Tioga County Woodland Owners Association or questions about your woodlot, contact Anne Alexander, association president, at 570-279-7074.