We had been caring for our forest for more than twenty years before we purchased the sawmill. Initially, with the help of our county forester, we applied a four year Timber Stand Improvement to the entire property. This involves thinning, removal or killing of undesirable species, vine removal, and some pruning. When we took stock of the species in our timber, we realized that we had three walnut trees and no ash trees. We subsequently planted 5-7,000 ash and 12-15,000 walnuts. We have also added to our populations of red and white oaks, black cherry, hard and soft maple, and (unfortunately doomed) butternut. With the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer and the Thousand Canker Disease, it appears that our ash and walnuts will not live to maturity. Consequently, we have started to plant a more diverse population. Lately, we have been adding Kentucky Coffee Trees, Tulip Poplar, Shumard’s Oak, and Sycamore. Although these trees are planted slightly north of their normal range, we think the region is warming up, and increasing species diversity may be our best and only hope.
Who knows what species will survive the next eighty to one hundred years or what will be valuable or even useful?