The reforestation project recently completed on your property by Multi-Resource Management, Inc. was carefully planned and executed so that it will be successful and flourish.  To insure it will develop into a healthy and natural dynamic ecosystem, some commitment on your part will be required.  It is our hope that your efforts of nurturing and caring for your planting will bring you the multiple benefits and dividends associated with a healthy forest.
 Herbicides Used

During tree planting a labeled pre-emergent herbicide (Oust) was applied as a tank mix to give adequate weed control during the first year of growth.  This application should control annual weed and grass growth for approximately 100 days, within a 4 foot wide band centered on the seedling row.  After this time period, weeds will invade the treated area but should be of not consequence to the planting.  A residual effect from the chemical will likely be noticed the follow year, as the weed growth within the previously treated area will lack the height and vigor of that outside the treated area.

Considering Mowing?

Mowing is not a weed control method and has mostly a cosmetic effect.  The root systems of the weeds are still intact, and the weeds re-sprout using additional moisture and nutrients.  In fact, in numerous plantations, mowing has done much more harm than good.  The tendency is to mow too close to the trees and cause a serious disease known as tractor or mower blight.  By bumping or scraping the bark, pockets of decay develop beneath the bark – even if the bark remains intact.  These areas provide ideal points of infection for various canker and wood rotting diseases, which can lead to wind breakage at that point or severely degrade the log at harvest time.  If you must mow, at least use herbicide or hand-pull weeds from around the base of the trees before mowing so that you won’t be tempted to mow too closely. Mowing also prevents the establishment of volunteer tree seedling that may seed into the planting.

The only benefit of mowing is in helping control some wildlife depredation.  It eliminates the protective cover which encourages the development of rabbits and rodents.  Rabbits will browse the tree seedlings near ground level during the months of December through February.  This will normally not kill the tree seedling, but will slow seedling height growth and the overall development of the planting.  The other side of this issue, is that mowing seems to increase the level of deer browsing damage, as the trees are much more exposed and thus easier for the deer to find.

Although mowing may reduce rabbit and rodent depredation, we believe this benefit is outweighed by not mowing and reducing deer browsing and allowing volunteer trees to invade.  This seems especially true considering that rabbit populations should be much easier to control than deer populations.  Allowing rabbits to be hunted during their hunting season is the most effective way to keep the population down and reduce the browse of tree seedlings.  This is particularly important during the first 5 years of the plantation life.  If the rabbit population is not controlled and heavy browse is allowed, the seedlings will remain in the 1 to 3 foot height range for a longer period of time.  Once the seedling grows over 3 foot in height, rabbits usually are not a problem.

 Maintenance Past 5 Years

The invasion of natural tree seedlings is usually a desirable process and should facilitate in the development of the planted seedlings.  Natural tree invasion helps to shade the floor of the planting and creates a cooler micro-climate underneath the planted seedlings.  This shading process will aide in the conversion of field to forest.  Remember, the goal of the planting is to create a forest, not a crop field of trees.

Survival, form and rate of tree growth can be adversely affected by certain competing vegetation.  Grasses, especially fescue, is one of the most detrimental competitors to tree seedlings.  In the case of fescue, it actually emits an allopathic chemical that can suppress the tree seedlings’ growth.  Climbing vegetation and vines, such as morning glory, Japanese honeysuckle, grapevines, and trumpet creeper, can cause deformities in the tops and stems and in some cases effectively smoother and kill trees.  Plantations should be checked occasionally for these species and any kind of related damage.  Injury by wildlife, insects or diseases should be identified and proper control measures taking if needed.

Corrective pruning should not be done for at least the first 5 years of the planting life, to facilitate seeding establishment.  Normally pruning is not needed if the plantation develops correctly.  Since most pruning is done incorrectly, using the guidance of a professional forester to help you identify your pruning needs is strongly recommended.

Thinning in the plantation is usually first considered about 15 years from establishment, when the tree stems are 4 to 6 inches in diameter and the tree heights are 15 to 20 feet tall.  Before attempting to thin the planting, seeking professional guidance is recommended.

Additional Information or Assistance

For additional information or help, contact your local district forester, Extension Office, or the county Natural Resource and Conservation Service Office.  Or contact Multi-Resource Management, Inc. at 4870 N Park Lane Dr, Petersburg, IN  47567; call us at 812-483-4818; or email us at