Forestry marketing foray

With more than 100 acres of woodland there's always some on-going forestry management required here at RHS Garden Rosemoor

Heavy machinery in the woodland at RosemoorRecently our main workload has been generated by the presence of a pest in the Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) plantings, but happily in addition to this we have been working in an area of woodland above Lady Anne’s Garden; Torrington Wood.

This operation has meant felling a number of Douglas fir (Psuedotsuga menziesii) trees to allow more light into the new plantings in this area. The upshot of all this management is that there is lots of felled timber collecting in our woodlands, which needs to be extracted to either allow regeneration of the native ground cover, or enable replacement plantings to be undertaken.

So last week we had a local forestry contractor operating on site to winch and forward the logs to a holding bay that timber lorries are able to access. The contractor uses a very versatile set-up made up of a specially adapted tractor that pulls a forwarding trailer, which itself incorporates a crane. A specialist forestry winch is then craned on to the forwarding trailer for transportation and craned off and attached to the three-point linkage of the tractor upon un-hitching of the trailer.

Using this equipment, the contractor winched nearly 40 lengths of Douglas fir, and forwarded these and an additional 40-plus lengths of Sitka spruce to the holding bay in a single day's work. Due to the gradient and number of obstacles, (remaining trees and new plantings), on the site where the Douglas were lying, not to mention the size of some of them, this was a task undertaken with great skill.

Cut timber waiting for collectionAll the timber was also sorted and stockpiled according to length and tree type in preparation for road transportation and destination market. These include beams for construction from the largest butt ends of the Douglas fir lengths, various machined timber sizes from the mid-section 12ft spruce and fir lengths, and the thinner tops will be used for chip to fuel wood-chip boilers.

All the money generated from marketing this timber will be used to fund the on-going cost of maintaining and managing the woodlands here at Rosemoor.

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