Ivar the timber dog and I went looking for regeneration to bud cap at the recently harvested site between Wolf Lake and Hwy 38. Bud capping is a laborious but effective manual method of protecting the terminal bud of a tree from deer browse (know as herbivory).
I knew that there was advanced (meaning that it was already in place at the time of harvest) White and Red Pine on the site, which I had inventoried prior to the harvest. What I didn't know was how much new Red Oak would show up this early in the game.
Some of the best and fastest growing Red Oak regen is that which originates from the stumps of freshly cut trees. The trees need to have some vigor otherwise the stump sprouting won't happen. Usually the youngest trees have the most vigor, but the really healthy larger trees will sometimes produce sprouts also, like the one shown above. What I really like about this one is that it originates from low on the stump, which produces a higher quality tree.
It sure is a good feeling to switch from harvesting in the summer to tending to regeneration that same fall. The logger part of me knows that a carefully planned harvest not only produces timber products, but it also mimics natural disturbance that prepares the site for new growth. But the conservationist and sawmiller parts of me become really eager to see the new growth start fast.
We still need to encourage new germination of White Pine, Red Pine, Red Oak, Maple, and Birch in the highly disturbed areas. That will begin to show as early as next year and the year after. But in the meantime, we will be helping the advanced and the early regeneration get a leg up on the competition.