Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cutting the young trees

After posting my September 6, 2011, blog about thinning the trees Nancy and I planted in the mid-1990s, I received an email from someone who  made me feel better about the job because he offered a unique use for the logs, a use I had never imagined.

Tim Arlt, a program leader with the University of Minnesota Extension, emailed me to express an interest in buying the logs for growing shitake mushrooms. He and his wife Deb have a backyard venture where they use oak logs 3" to 10" in diameter and 44" to 48" long to grow mushrooms by drilling several holes into the logs and placing spawn into the holes. The spawn thrives in the log and sprouts mushrooms in all directions.

Nancy and I thought this was a really good use for our young logs, and since Tim said he needed to implant the spawn within two weeks after the logs were cut, we set up a time line with him on when we would cut and when they would pick them up.

The very last photographs are the before and after shots I promised in my September 6th blog.
But first, here are a few photographs of the cutting process:

I cut the trees about 48" from the ground so the bottom would be a perfect length
 for Tim and Deb's mushroom logs. 
I was pleased to discover that some trees had two or more logs of 48" diameter and 48" length. 

Then I cut the trunk off as close to the ground as I could.
Although I cut only 13 trees, I was able to get 25 logs over 3" in diameter.
My chipper, which you can see mounted on my tractor in the background, will easily take up to a 6 " log so I could have just chipped the logs, but I liked the idea of the logs being used to grow something.

Looking west, before(above) and after (below) the cutting.

Looking east, before (above) and after (below).
In a few years, I'll cut out the trees in the middle row, and I'll check with Tim to see if he needs more logs. I plan to use the smaller logs for making some benches for outside use. I'll see how ambitious I am when that time comes.

I meant to get pictures of us loading the logs on Tim and Deb's trailer, but Nancy and I were so busy visiting with them and listening to them explain the mushroom process that we forgot.
Maybe next time.

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