Forest Keeping – Arboriculture and Forestry

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Arboriculture and Forestry

Trees decorated road in modern city

Arboriculture deals with the planting, care, protection, and treatment of individual trees, particularly in their use for ornamental or decorative purposes in lawns, parks, home grounds, and along highways.  Forestry is concerned with the growing, protection, and use of large areas of trees.  There is a distinction, therefore, between the two.

Arboriculture includes what is known as city forestry, municipal forestry, and tree repair.  It is an important part of landscape architecture and is closely allied to forestry.  It is also regarded as a part of horticulture.  The aesthetic use of trees in ornamental treatment and landscape design has become widely recognized and valued throughout the country.  From a broad viewpoint, therefore, arboriculture is part of forestry.  Every forester should know how to plant, protect, repair, and care for individual trees about the home or along the streets and highways as well as large groups of trees known as forests.  Many large municipalities have employed city foresters whose duties are the proper planting, protection, and care of street trees and those found in parks and about public buildings and grounds.


Did you know John Quincy Adams had a pet alligator?

John Quincy Adams was President of the United States from 1825-1829. A pet alligator was a surprise gift to the president. Adams found a home for the alligator in the White House East Room bathroom for two months before returning the gift. This green alligator is 15″ long and 3″ tall.

What’s aLog Brand

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A log brand is a mark placed on the end of a log to designate ownership of it, similar to a brand that designates cattle ownership.  Log brands are placed on the log with a small sledge that can be used with one hand.  The impression made by a log brand can be easily read and cannot be erased since the impression, applied with force, compresses the grain of wood into the log.  Like cattle brands, log brands are registered.

See Morris Pike’s fun story about Seneca – The Miracle Working Sawmill



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A springboard is a stout plank on which fallers stood.  It was used primarily in the days of hand-sawing, and it is seldom seen in use today.

Carrying a springboard gave instant, portable, adjustable elevation that could be installed in a tree after a few deft blows with an axe.

Notched into the tree, it gave good footing even on steep terrain.

Placing the springboards high enabled fallers to avoid resin and saw binding usually encountered when sawing a tree close to the ground.  Especially where the butt of the tree had cross-grain swell or was flared.

Trees are felled today by cutting as close as possible to the ground to maximize the volume of usable wood.

Did you know McDonald’s introduced drive-through service due to the military?

The first McDonald’s Drive Thru was installed in a restaurant based in Sierra Vista, Arizona, located near the Fort Huachuca military installation. Military rules forbade the soldiers from wearing their military uniforms in public, and they weren’t about to change into civilian clothes just to grab a burger and run back to base, so restaurant manager David Rich came up with a solution: cut a hole into the wall and allow members of the military to pick up their orders without stepping out of their car. The convenience and simplicity of the idea quickly caught on.

See Morris Pike’s fun story about Seneca – The Miracle Working Sawmill



Cable-based Yarding

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Cable yarders remain stationary while pulling logs to the landing. A highlead system (top left) provides limited vertical lift to the logs being pulled to the landing. A running skyline (bottom left) provides vertical lift by maintaining cable tension . The grapple carriage shown provides no lateral reach. A live skyline (top right) can lower the carriage to the ground or can be raised to provide lift. A standing skyline (bottom right) uses a radio-controlled carriage containing a winch with a dropl

Yarding is the process of hauling logs from the cutting area to the landing. Instead of moving the yarder to the log, cable systems move the log to the yarder. By stringing cables out into the woods and pulling the logs to the landing, cable systems overcome the topographic, soil, and speed limitations of ground-based logging systems. Cable systems however need considerable time to set up and to move to different parts of the harvested area.


And furthermore. . .

Did you know it would be impossible for a person to count

to a billion in their lifetime?

It would take about 125 years to count to a billion out loud if a person counted day and night.  Counting would slow as the numbers got higher since it would take longer to say them (for example saying, “five hundred sixty-two million, seventeen thousand, two hundred and fifty-three” takes longer than saying “ten”.)

Of course, if the counter wanted to sleep and eat, they could reduce their counting to 12 hours per day and it would take about 250 years.

See Morris Pike’s fun story about Seneca – The Miracle Working Sawmill

Falling and Processing

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Felling is the first step in converting trees into lumber, paper, and other products.

Trees are felled either manually with a chainsaw or mechanically with a feller-buncher or harvester. The felled tree can either be processed (delimbed and bucked into logs) there in the woods or processed at the landing. Whether manual or mechanized, limbing and bucking can be time consuming. The lengths into which the logs are bucked, however, determine the price received at the mill and the profitability of the whole operation.

Mills that turn logs into products such as lumber and plywood of specific sizes need logs at least that large. When bucking the downed tree into logs, the logger must identify the best possible combination of log sizes, while avoiding breaks and other log defects. As much as 40% of the possible value can be lost in felling and processing.

Manual felling is the preferred method in large timber and on steep terrain inaccessible to mechanized equipment. Manual felling is also dangerous, resulting in high levels of injuries and even fatalities, resulting in insurance rates as high as 60 % of the faller’s wage. Manual thinning in dense stands is difficult, since felled trees often are caught by the residual trees causing unsafe conditions and delays.

The high cost of manual felling facilitated the move toward mechanized felling and processing (limbing and bucking). Feller-bunchers can drop timber into bunches that can be more easily gathered for yarding than the scattered pieces left by manual felling. Mechanized felling operations are limited by tree size and terraine.

See Morris Pike’s fun story about Seneca – The Miracle Working Sawmill




Seeds sown by Tokyo 1964 athletes grew wood used in 2021 Olympic rings

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The rings for this year’s Olympic Games are made from trees planted in Japan the last time Tokyo held the event nearly 60 years ago.

International athletes had brought the seeds to the Tokyo 1964 games, the organizers of Tokyo 2020 said.

The seeds brought from Northern Europe, Canada, and Ireland 57 years ago had grown into 160 pines and spruces.

The trees have been cut down to make the iconic five interlocking rings, held up by ropes and metal supports. The structure was showcased during the opening ceremony, which was delayed a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The rings were constructed in the traditional Japanese woodworking style of Yosegi-zaiku — a style of parquet work that dates back to Japan’s Edo period, which was between 1603 and 1867.

Cultural Olympic, an account that covers the cultural side of the games, said during the opening ceremony: “The Olympic rings are beginning to appear, carved from wood, in contrast to #London2012’s industrial age designs.

“It’s a beautiful structure and speaks to the importance of tradition and heritage of Japan’s craft culture.”

Exposed wood and sustainability have also heavily influenced the design of the Olympic athletes’ site in Tokyo.

See Morris Pike’s fun story about Seneca – The Miracle Working Sawmill



Sticky Tree Butts

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Saw oil bottle stuck in the side of a Douglas fir.

Oftentimes, the butt of a tree is a place that contains abnormally high quantities of sticky resin.

As loggers cut a tree, the resin would build up on the saw blade, and make it hard to pull the saw through the wood. For small amounts of resin, the loggers had a solution – kerosene. Kerosene is a liquid somewhat similar to gasoline. To the loggers, its virtue was that it dissolved the resin on the saw blade and made the sawyer’s job a lot easier. Referred to as “saw oil”, each sawyer kept some nearby in a saw oil bottle.

The hooks were purchased or made in many cases and attached to an old wine or whiskey bottle. The bottle was filled with kerosene or occasionally stove oil. The hook was stuck into the bark of the tree being fell and was close at hand.

See Morris Pike’s fun story about Seneca – The Miracle Working Sawmill

Forest Keeping and Toothpicks

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As far as can be empirically documented, the oldest demonstrable human habit is picking one’s teeth.  Neanderthal skulls have been unearthed that show signs of teeth being picked by some kind of tool.  Toothpicks have been around for millennia.

Today, Diamond manufactures about 90% of all of the toothpicks sold in the United States. The manufacturing involves steaming the wood, rotary-slicing it into toothpick-thick veneers, rough-dimensioning and shaping the toothpicks, and tumbling them against one another to smooth their surfaces.

A cord of wood will yield 7,500,000 toothpicks.

From the Editor:

How many cords of wood can you get from a tree? Google points out that a tree’s diameter is measured at a height 4 1/2 feet from the ground (DBH), so, if trees 5 inches DBH are harvested for firewood, it will require 46 to 55 trees to make one full cord of firewood. However, one tree 22 inches DBH will produce one full cord of firewood.




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