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The New York

Forest Owner A Publication of The New York Forest Owners Association For people caring about New York’s trees and forests

January/February 2016

Members Profile: Gary Blough Volume 54 Number 1

The New York Forest Owners Association Officers & Directors Charles Stackhouse, President 3010 Esperanza Rd Bluff Point, NY 14478; (315) 536-9482 Ed Neuhauser, Vice-President 434 W Groton Ave Groton, NY 13073; (607) 898-3614 Jerry Michael, Secretary 15 Van Kuren Dr Binghamton, NY 13901; (607) 648-2941

Phil Walton, Treasurer 145 Craven Rd Delanson, NY 12053; (518) 895-5346

Renee Bouplon, Cambridge, (518) 692-7285 Bob Glidden, Barker, (716) 795-3305 Gary Goff, Lake Placid, (518) 837-5171 Sid Harring, Mayfield, (518) 863-9135 Lou Inzinna, Scotia, (518) 374-1490 Jeff Joseph, Willseyville, (607) 659-5995 Stacey Kazacos, Reston, VA, (610) 755-8616 Jerry Michael, Binghamton, (607) 648-2941 Colette Morabito, East Rochester, (585) 248-0654 Ed Neuhauser, Groton, (607) 898-3614. David Newman, Syracuse, (315) 470-6534. Anne Osborn, Garrison, (845) 424-3683 Dick Patton, Sherman (716) 761-6333 Ron Pedersen, Latham, (518) 785-6061 Charles Stackhouse, Bluff Point, (315) 536-9482. Sarah Stackhouse, Bluff Point, (315) 536-9482. Bruce Revette, DeRuyter, (315) 852-9670 Phil Walton, Delanson, (518) 895-5346 Dave Williams, Bainbridge; (607) 563-3156 Liana Gooding, Office Administrator PO Box 541 Lima, NY 14485; (800) 836-3566 Peter Smallidge, Ex-Officio Board Member Cornell University, Fernow Hall Ithaca, NY 14853; (607) 592 3640

All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without prior written permission from the publisher. NYFOA does not necessarily support or approve procedures, products, or opinions presented by authors or advertisers. NYFOA reserves the right to accept or reject any advertisement submitted for NYFOA’s publications. However, NYFOA is not able to investigate or verify claims made in advertisements appearing in NYFOA’s publications. The appearance of advertising in NYFOA’s publications in no way implies endorsement or approval by NYFOA of any advertising claims or of the advertiser, its product, or services.

© 2016 New York Forest Owners Association


In This Issue . . . From the President

Charles Stackhouse..................................................................................... 3

New Member Snapshots. .......................................................................... 4 NY Farm Show Programs ...................................................................... 5 Ask a Professional

Peter Smallidge. ........................................................................................ 6

Wild Things in Your Woodlands

Kristi Sullivan........................................................................................... 8

Is It All About The Money?

Carl Wiedemann ....................................................................................... 9

Proposed Amendments to NYFOA Bylaws. ..................................... 11 NYFOA Board of Director Candidates. ......................................... 12 NYFOA Annual Meeting. ....................................................................... 13 Woodland Health: Let’s Pitch in to Save the Hemlocks!

Mark Whitmore and Caroline Marschner. ............................................... 16

Member Profile – Gary Blough

Briana Binkerd-Dale.................................................................................. 21

Volume 54, Number 1 The New York Forest Owner is a bi-monthly publication of The New York Forest Owners Association, PO Box 541, Lima, NY 14485. Materials submitted for publication should be sent to: Mary Beth Malmsheimer, Editor, The New York Forest Owner, 134 Lincklaen Street, Cazenovia, New York 13035. Materials may also be e-mailed to mmalmshe@syr. edu. Articles, artwork and photos are invited and if requested, are returned after use. The deadline for submission for the March/April issue is February 1, 2016. Please address all membership fees and change of address requests to PO Box 541, Lima, NY 14485. 1-800-836-3566. Cost of family membership/subscription is $45. This publication is printed on Finch Opaque, Smooth, 70 lb. text paper. Located in the beautiful Adirondacks, Finch has long understood that the viability of our business relies on the wise use—and reuse—of resources. Finch papers are made with renewable energy, post-consumer recycled fiber and elemental chlorine-free pulps. In addition, Finch Paper was the first integrated paper mill in the US to received both the Forest Management and Chain of Custody certifications from the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.


Gary mowing around blue spruce trees on his zero turn mower. For member profile see page 21. Photo courtesy of the Gary Blough.

The New York Forest Owner 54:1 • January/February 2016

From The



his issue of the Forest Owner has information on two key events, the NY Farm Show and the Annual Meeting. The Farm Show is February 25-27, 2016 at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. NYFOA is presenting three days of seminars to help landowners realize more benefits from their woodlots (see page 5). Also, stop by our booth which will be manned by NYFOA members, Cornell trained Master Forest Owner volunteers, and Department of Environmental Conservation foresters. On April 16, 2016 we will hold our Annual Meeting at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. I encourage our members to attend. It is in an easy location to find (just a few blocks from the Carrier Dome), has plenty of parking, is a good way to meet and socialize with other NYFOA members and includes a great lineup of speakers. Please plan to attend and mark your calendars now. An especially important reason to attend is to ensure we have enough voting members on hand to act upon important bylaw changes that are discussed on page 11 in this issue. As additional enticement to attend the annual meeting, we are offering some fabulous door prizes— a Dolmar PS5105 chainsaw, two sets of chainsaw safety chaps, and two chainsaw helmets. Dolmar Power Products has donated the chaps and helmets, and in

conjunction with Dolmar dealer Dave Nielen of Nielsen’s Sales and Service in Penn Yan, they have subsidized our purchase of this great saw. It has an 18” bar, 50cc engine with 3.9HP and weighs only 11.9 pounds. List price is

Please share this magazine with a neighbor and urge them to join NYFOA. By gaining more members, NYFOA’s voice will become stronger! $470. Someone is going to leave the annual meeting with a big grin and a great chainsaw, and four members will leave with some important protective equipment. NYFOA thanks Dolmar Power Products and Dave Nielsen for their generous support. If you are unable to attend the Annual Meeting, it is important that you fill out the proxy ballot found on page 11 in this issue and mail it in by April 4, 2016. –Charles Stackhouse NYFOA President Would you like to receive an electronic version of future editions of The Forest Owner? If so, please send Liana an email ( You will receive an email every two months that includes a PDF file of the publication. While being convenient for you – read The Forest Owner anytime, any place; this will also help to save the Association money as the cost of printing and postage continues to rise with each edition.

The mission of the New York Forest Owners Association (NYFOA) is to promote sustainable forestry practices and improved stewardship on privately owned woodlands in New York State. NYFOA is a not-for-profit group of people who care about NYS’s trees and forests and are interested in the thoughtful management of private forests for the benefit of current and future generations.


NYFOA is a not-forprofit group promoting stewardship of private forests for the benefit of current and future generations. Through local chapters and statewide activities, NYFOA helps woodland owners to become responsible stewards and helps the interested public to appreciate the importance of New York’s forests. Join NYFOA today and begin to receive its many benefits including: six issues of The New York Forest Owner, woodswalks, chapter meetings, and statewide meetings. ( ) I/We own ______acres of woodland. ( ) I/We do not own woodland but support the Association’s objectives. Name: ________________________ Address: _______________________ City: __________________________ State/ Zip: _____________________ Telephone: _____________________ Email: _______________________ County of Residence: ____________ County of Woodlot: _____________ Referred by: ____________________ Regular Annual Dues: ( ) Student $15

(Please provide copy of student ID)

( ) Individual/Family $45 Multi-Year Dues: ( ) 2-yr $80 ( ) 3-yr $120 Additional Contribution: ( ) Supporter $1-$49 ( ) Contributor $50-$99 ( ) Sponsor $100-$249 ( ) Benefactor $250-$499 ( ) Steward $500 or more ( ) Subscription to Northern Woodlands $15 (4 issues) NYFOA is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) taxexempt organization and as such your contribution may be tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Form of Payment:  Check  Credit Card Credit Card No. __________________________________ Expiration Date ________V-Code______ Signature: _________________________ Make check payable to NYFOA. Send the completed form to: NYFOA P.O. Box 541, Lima, New York 14485 1-800-836-3566


New Member Snapshots Nick and Elsa Steo Forest Land: 130 acres, Livingston Objectives: Hiking, Hunting, Recreation Nick and Elsa own 130 acres in southwestern Livingston County. The property is bounded on the east by Canaseraga Creek and all but approximately 4 acres is wooded. Much of the forest land is rugged with knolls and ravines cut by seasonal run-off streams. Trails, left by logging activities approximately 25 years ago, provide easy access to much of the property for walking and hiking. In addition to the beauty of the many streams and ridgelines, the Steos enjoy the peaceful solitude of the property. The many “folds” in the terrain engender a sense of remoteness from the hustle and bustle of their normal routines. Nick enjoys hunting deer as well as turkey. In addition to family members, Nick and Elsa share the property with their two yellow Labrador retrievers, Miley and Sparks. Their long-term plans include maintaining and managing the property, such that it continues to provide the benefits of a peaceful escape and hunting opportunities. Nick and Elsa work together at their company ( which provides aviation services for pipeline patrol as well as aerial mapping. Nick is an avid pilot and a proud owner of a DeHavilland Tiger Moth (open cockpit biplane). He enjoys hunting, fishing, and clay target shooting. Elsa serves as the Vice President of the development board for Happiness House ( She favors golf in the summer and paddle tennis in the winter, and also participates in community theater.


Accurate, Responsive, Professional 117 Ziegler  Road      PO  Box  328   Scotland,  CT    06264    

A forestry and land brokerage company dedicated to helping landowners achieve their goals since 1980.

Scotland Hardwoods  is  a  premier  lumber  manufacturer/sawmill  facility  located  in   N.E.  CT  and  services  the  New  England/Southern  NY  region  with:     - Veneer  logs/Saw  Logs   - Hardwood  Lumber   - Hardwood  by-­‐products  (chips,  sawdust,  all  natural  bark  mulch)   - Pallets  /  Industrial  Lumber   - Forestry  Services     We  offer  competitive  rates  and  a  staff  of  Certified  Professional  Foresters  who   will  provide  personal  forestry  consultations  which  will  help  you  meet  your   objectives.   Call  or  email  today  for  all  your  hardwood  needs:   Scotland  Hardwoods,  LLC   Toll  Free:  877-­‐209-­‐9906   SCOTLANDHARDWOODS.COM   Visit  our  website  to  find  out  all  that  we  offer.    

Brokerage Services - Forestry Services - Offices in Tupper Lake and Lake George


The New York Forest Owner 54:1 • January/February 2016


Free programs at the NY FARM SHOW

Show your support for the Association! All items display the NYFOA logo.

February 25 - 27, 2016

Got Trees? Get More from Your Woodlot! Learn and Earn More. Free programs to help landowners realize more benefits from their woodlots will be presented each day during the 2016 Farm Show in Syracuse by the New York Forest Owners Association (NYFOA). Meet with a forester from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation or speak with a Cornell trained volunteer. Visitors are encouraged to bring their questions and pause at the booth before or after attending a seminar program. DEC foresters and trained volunteers are there to help with resource materials, displays and to offer expert advice. Learn and Earn More seminars are open to all. Topics include federal cost sharing for woodlot improvements, working with foresters, improving bird habitat, heating with wood, and forest farming. Programs start on the hour and allow time for questions and discussion. The booth is on the main corridor of the Arts and Home Center and the seminars are held in the Somerset Room just steps away on the lower level of the Center. These programs are presented by the New York Forest Owners Association in cooperation with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Cornell Cooperative Extension, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and with special thanks to each of our expert speakers.

2016 Woodlot Seminar Presentations Arts and Home Center Somerset Room State Fairgrounds - Syracuse, N.Y. Thursday February 25 11 AM: You Need a Management Plan - A Compass for Your Woodlot. Kristina Ferrare, Forestry, Ag. & 4H Coordinator, Cornell Cooperative Extension Onondaga County 1 PM: Getting Federal Aid for Woodlot Improvements. Michael Fournier, US Dep’t of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service 2 PM: Improve Bird Habitat with Smart Timber Management.

1. Sweatshirt………………….....$20.00 Green M, L, XL Grey M, L, XL

Suzanne Treyger, Forest Management Specialist, Audubon New York 3 PM: Home Heating with Wood Stoves: Safety and Seasoned Wood. Guillermo Metz, Renewable Energy Specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County Friday February 26 10 AM: Working with Foresters - Find the Right One for You. Peter Smallidge, NYS Extension Forester, Cornell University 11 AM: Woodland Thinning for Health and Production. Peter Smallidge, NYS Extension Forester, Cornell University 1 PM: Watch for Insects and Diseases that Threaten Your Woods. Kim Adams, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 2 PM: New Uses for Wood Yield Options for Woodlot Management. William Smith, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 3 PM: Getting Federal Aid for Woodlot Improvements. Michael Fournier, US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service Saturday February 27 10 AM: Weed Your Woodlot to Heat your Home. Michael Kelleher, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 11 AM: Forest Farming: Mushrooms, Medicinals, and Forest Fruits. Steve Gabriel, Cornell Cooperative Extension & Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute 1 PM: Making Maple Syrup for Fun and Profit. Stephen Childs, Cornell Maple Program 2 PM: Portable Sawmills for the Woodlot Owner. David Williams, Experienced Mill OwnerOperator, Bainbridge NY 3 PM: Dos and Don’ts for a Successful Timber Sale. Hugh Canham, Emeritus Professor, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

2. Long Sleeve T-Shirt………...$14.00 Green M, L, XL Grey M, L, XL 3. Short Sleeve T-Shirt………...$10.00 Green M, L, XL Grey M, L, XL All shirts are heavy weight cotton with white lettering on the green and green lettering on the grey. 4. Baseball Style Cap………..…$14.00 Green with Tan logo, one size 5. NYFOA Member Sign…….…$ 3.00 12x12 Heavy Gauge Plastic Yellow with green lettering 6. Cutting Boards…………...….$ 5.00 Wood, 5 ½ x7 inches Item#­ Description Size Qty Price Total­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ Shipping and handling: $6.00­


NYS Sales Tax – add 8% Total:­

Name:___________________________ Address:_________________________ City:____________________________ State / Zip: ______________________ Telephone: ______________________ Form of Payment:  Check  Credit Card Credit Card No. __________________________________ Expiration Date ________V-Code______ Signature: _________________________ Make check payable to NYFOA. Send the completed form to: NYFOA, P.O. Box 541, Lima, New York 14485. Questions? Call 800-836-3566


Ask A Professional Peter Smallidge

Peter Smallidge

Landowner questions are addressed by foresters and other natural resources professionals. Landowners should be careful when interpreting answers and applying this general advice to their property because landowner objectives and property conditions will influence specific management options. When in doubt, check with your regional DEC office or other service providers. Landowners are also encouraged to be active participants in Cornell Cooperative Extension and NYFOA programs to gain additional, often site-specific, answers to questions. To submit a question, email to Peter Smallidge at with an explicit mention of “Ask a Professional.” Additional reading on various topics is available at

Aren’t they all just “pines” Question: My neighbor was talking about the “pines” in his woods, referring to the evergreens. I recognize differences among the evergreens, but don’t really know one from another. How do I identify the trees with needles? (Bill, CNY) Answer: Fall and winter are great seasons to learn about the needle-bearing trees that most people call “pines.” These trees have needles, and may also be called evergreen. Most are within the pine family (Pinaceae), but not all. These types of trees have several common features, but not all species easily fall under these labels. These species can be separated into groups and fairly easily described, but first let’s discuss some of the commonly used labels. Evergreen is commonly used to describe these trees. This label generally applies because most of the species have green foliage throughout the year. An exception is the eastern larch, or tamarack (Larix laricina). In the context of “evergreen”, it is worth noting that although some needles are green throughout the year, all species will slough or drop some needles each year. At some point you will see brown and dying needles. This is natural. Conifer is another common label for these trees. Here again this usually applies because the fruit for most of these species is a cone. However, two species in the cedar family (Cupressaceae) have a fruit 6

that to most looks like a berry. The fruit of eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) and pasture juniper (J. communis) is technically a berry-like cone, with fleshy scales that have grown together. These needle-bearing trees are within the pine and cedar families. All plants are classified by genus and species within a family. The genera within the pine family include: pine (Pinus spp.), spruce (Picea spp.), fir (Abies spp.), hemlock (Tsuga spp.), and larch or tamarack

(Larix spp.). The genera within the cedar family include: cedar (Thuja) and juniper (Juniperus). Each of these genera have distinguishing characteristics. All the species of these genera typically have more than one common name. Any good tree identification book will list the variety of common names. Similarly, full details of identification are left to a good book, such as referenced below. Pine – The most definitive feature of pines is that the needles occur in clusters of 2, 3 or 5. A cluster of pine needles is called a fascicle. One subgroup of pines are the hard pines and include Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris), jack pine (P. banksiana), black pine (P. nigra), and red pine (P. resinousa) with 2 needles per fascicle (Figure 1) and pitch pine (P. rigida) with 3 needles per fascicle. The fascicle of the hard pines is wrapped at the base with a paper-thin layer that persists for the life of the fascicle. The only soft pine in the Northeast is eastern white pine (P. strobus). The soft pines have a fascicle sheath, but it is deciduous so it sloughs off during the first growing season of the fascicle (Figure 2). Pine cones have relatively few scales when compared to other genera of Pinaceae. All of the pines are intolerant or mid-tolerant of shade, so will typically require moderate to high levels of sunlight to survive.

Figure 1. Red pine has two needles per fascicle, a persistent fascicle sheath, and a bulbous bud.

The New York Forest Owner 54:1 • January/February 2016

Figure 2. Eastern white pine, a soft pine, has a deciduous fascicle sheath. Its slender needles give the tree a soft-textured appearance.

Spruce – the distinguishing feature of all spruce is the presence of sterigmata. Sterigmata are post-like structures or projections on the stem to which the needles attach (Figure 3). These structures are most easily seen on sections of twigs closest to the main stem, after the needles

have dropped. They are visible with the naked eye at approximately 1 mm (1/32”) long. Spruce are also identified by have a four-sided needle, and needles that occur singly on the sterigmata (not clusters as do the pines). Spruce have a greater density of scales on the cone

Figure 3. The foliage of red spruce (pictured) and all spruce are connected to the twig on a sterigmata (see arrow). The sterigmata persist after needles drop and appear as peg-like

Figure 4. The cones of balsam fir are erect, and at maturity the scales break away and leave a central stalk. Photo #1218002 courtesy of Bill Cook, Michigan State University,

than do pine, and cone length helps differentiate the species. From smallest to largest cones, native spruce include: black spruce (Picea mariana), red spruce (P. rubens), and white spruce (P. glauca). From other areas and common in yards are blue spruce (P. pungens) and Norway spruce (P. abies). The odor of spruce is commonly described as pungent to fetid. The spruces tend to be more tolerant of shade than the pines, though they will grow well in sunlight. Fir – The needles of fir are similar to spruce in their singular attachment, not clustered, to the twig. One distinguishing feature of fir is that the needles are attached directly to the twig, and when they drop they leave behind a slightly raised circular pad. Another feature of the genus, and thus of New York’s one native and common fir, balsam fir, (Abies balsamea), is the 3 inch upright cone with deciduous scales (Figure 4). As the cones mature they are apparent in an upright or erect position on the branches, but when mature, the scales drop away leaving a naked cone stalk. The needles are flat, and typically two-ranked or attached on the sides of the twig as wings on a plane. The continued on page 18


Wild Things in Your Woodlands Kristi Sullivan

Mink (Mustela vison) The mink is a semi-aquatic member of the Mustelidae family. Its relatives include weasels, martens, fishers, wolverines, badgers, and otters. The mink occurs throughout New York State in areas with suitable habitat. Adult male mink average two feet in length, including an 8-inch tail. They weigh 1.5 to 2 pounds. Female mink are slightly smaller than males and weigh up to half a pound less. Like weasels, the mink has short legs, a 6-8 inch bushy tail, a long neck and body, short head, and a pointed muzzle. A mink’s coat is thick, full and soft. The fur is dark chocolate brown on the back, blending into a slightly lighter shade on the belly. A distinguishing characteristic of mink is a small, white patch of fur on the chin. Terry L Spivey, Terry Spivey Photography,


ink are very active and inquisitive animals, with a keen sense of smell and sight. They are most active at night and in early morning. On land, they move with a quick, bounding lope, which they can continue for miles. This characteristic lope leaves paired tracks, which stand out in the winter snow along stream banks and beaver ponds. Mink are at home in the water as well, and they swim and dive with ease. Mink occupy a wide variety of wetland habitats but most commonly are found along streams and beaver dams in undeveloped rural areas. Here, they can be seen traveling from one stream bank to the other, investigating nearly every hole, crack, crevice and overhang that may hide a potential meal. Mink are best suited for areas with very good water quality, because these waters will hold the greatest concentrations and varieties of prey. Like most mustelids, they are agile and fierce fighters, killing prey with a hard bite to the back of the skull. Prey includes muskrats, mice, rabbits, 8

shrews, fish, frogs, crayfish, insects, snakes, waterfowl, and land birds. Mink are opportunists, feeding on whatever is most abundant or most easily caught. They occasionally kill more than they can eat and will cache carcasses in the winter and revisit them to feed. In turn, mink are prey for foxes, bobcats and great horned owls. In the wild, mink typically live to be two or three years old. To find enough prey, males require a home range up to three square miles, while a females use a much smaller range. Individual territories overlap, and several animals in succession may use the same den. One mink will have several dens along its hunting route. They den in abandoned woodchuck tunnels, hollow logs, vacant muskrat lodges, holes in stone piles and beneath large tree roots. Dens are usually near water and may have more than one entrance. Mink line their nests with dried grass, leaves and feathers. Overall habitat requirements for mink include an abundant food supply,

permanent water, and undeveloped shores. Woodland owners who would like to enhance habitat for mink can focus on protecting water quality, and limiting the use of pesticides on lands adjacent to water. High quality, pesticide-free water improves insect populations, which in turn provide food for animals that mink prey upon, like frogs. Woodland owners can also create riparian and wetland buffers, and protect existing buffers from development. Brush piles can be created to serve as denning sites, if naturally occurring dens are not available. A few large trees felled and left on the ground can provide future logs for feeding and denning. Dead wood protruding into the water will provide cover for prey items as well. Kristi Sullivan is Director of the New York Master Naturalist Program. More information on managing habitat for wildlife, as well as upcoming programs can be found at

The New York Forest Owner 54:1 • January/February 2016

Is It All About The Money? Carl Wiedemann


he March 2015 issue of Sawmill and Woodlot magazine included an article about the financial aspects of woodlot ownership and management. The title says it all: It’s Not All About the Money—But it’s All About the Money! It was written by Robbo Holleran, a consulting forester from Chester, Vermont. The full article can be accessed from his website: http:// The results from the current National Woodland Owners Survey support the notion that it’s not all about the money. The Forest Service asked family forest owners to rank their reasons for owning woodland. Here are the primary reasons identified by NYS woodland owners with 25 acres or more: 1. Part of home/camp 2. To enjoy beauty/scenery 3. Privacy 4. To protect nature 5. To pass on to children

next five years. Maybe it is all about the money! Think of the implications. Family forest owners own more forest land than the state and the forest products industry combined. They don’t own the land for timber production, but they sell timber if they have an opportunity. If woodlots are harvested about every 25 years or so, hundreds of thousands of acres are being cut annually. Essentially, every acre of privately owned forest land has been or will be logged. Yet landowners say timber isn’t an important reason for owning the land. If you are interested in the future of working forests this raises a question. Are they harvesting in ways that will improve future value and productivity, or just selling timber?

Timber is a renewable natural resource if properly managed. Loggers provide an important service to landowners because cutting trees is an essential management tool. Holleran writes: “Land is a significant investment, with considerable costs for maintenance and management. It is this economic consideration that leads us to grow trees to full economic maturity, and to ensure proper reforestation after harvest. Good forest stewardship also allows the real estate to accumulate value. It is income from the periodic sale of trees that allows ordinary Americans the extraordinary privilege of land ownership. (“extra-ordinary” in the sense of world history) So, culturing the forest toward commercially marketable

Figure 1. Proper harvesting increases the future value of the stand.”

Figure 2. A liquidation harvest reduces the values of the forest resource for a long time.”

continued on page 10

They don’t own the land for timber production, but they sell timber if they have an opportunity. Here is the bad news if you think working forests are valued for environmental, ecological and economic reasons. Owning woodland for timber products ranked at the bottom of the list. Remember, these are owners with at least 25 acres of woodland which is large enough for commercial timber harvesting. So, it’s not all about the money. Now here’s an interesting aspect of the survey results. While landowners said timber wasn’t an important reason for owning the land, half have sold timber in the past! Furthermore, one third of these respondents indicated that they plan to sell sawlogs or pulpwood within the


wood products is a main feature of silviculture.” Unfortunately, timber harvests can also degrade future value and productivity. Most family forest woodlots are a mix of trees of different species, sizes, and log quality. Tree values can vary from zero dollars to $100 or more per tree, even between trees of the same size. A mature stand of hardwoods may have 40 trees per acre large enough to be harvested. But in a typical un-managed woodlot most of the value is concentrated in a small number of trees. The combination of volume, species and stem quality determine value — not volume alone. If the most valuable trees are selectively cut, and replaced by lower value trees, the timber value decreases while volume growth is unaffected, or the growth is concentrated on less valuable stems. Yet there are claims that the timber resource is being sustainably managed because growth exceeds removals. Does this really define sustainable management? Here’s a real world example. Look at figure 1 (on the previous page) of our woodlot in Rensselaer County. This was taken after the most recent harvest — an improvement cut that left $800 per acre of standing timber. Logging was used to improve future value and productivity, and the next harvest is not far away. About five miles from our property an absentee owner also sold timber (see figure 2). The value of the standing timber is unknown. However, it’s clear that this was a liquidation harvest. Everything was cut. Perhaps the landowner needed the income, made an informed decision with the help of a forester, and the result was what he or she expected. The downside of such a heavy cut (see figure 2) is that the residual stand is now understocked. Many of the remaining

trees are of poor quality and low value species. They’ll eventually grow to timber size – but it will take many years before another sale is possible, and it won’t bring a high price. Whoever owns the land will be paying taxes without the possibility of timber income for decades. This type of cutting is one of the main reasons that forestry was introduced in the United States just over a century ago. Sustainable woodlot management means maintaining and improving the resource for future generations. However, since landowners bear the expense of ownership, they should decide how their woods are managed. They may decide to sell all the timber. But the decision should be based on a good understanding of the costs and benefits. A consulting forester can provide those insights — if one is used. But more often than not, landowners don’t use foresters when they sell timber in New York State. If you refer to the survey below from the National Woodland Owners, the results show that 60% of the landowners who harvested sawlogs did not use a forester. They own millions of acres, and they plan to do more cutting in the future. How much silviculture is applied when a landowner sells timber without hiring a forester, and how sustainable is woodlot management without silviculture? Holleran writes: “How many landowners enter into a project without information? Some engage in selling timber, perhaps to the highest bidder, or just to the first “reasonable” offer. Then they are surprised when they have a messy job with inaccessible trails, tops and debris that are unsightly, damage to remaining trees, or perhaps a lot of cull trees standing. If the logger was hired to cut and haul merchantable timber, and that is all, then they got what they asked for…. In my opinion, well-informed

NYS Family Forest Owners With 25 acres or More of Forest Land

Number of Owners Number of Acres Owned 10

Harvested Sawlogs in the past

Did Not Use a Forester

Plan a Timber Harvest in the Next 5 Years







Well informed landowners make the best decisions. landowners will make the best decisions.” Most timber harvests on private land probably fall somewhere in between long term sustainable management and short term exploitation. The challenge is to move closer to sustainable management and away from exploitation. The commercial value of New York’s timber resource would be higher, the forest products industry would be more viable, working forests would have a better chance to survive, and forests would be healthier and more productive. The mission of the New York Forest Owners Association is to promote sustainable forestry practices and improved stewardship on privately owned woodlands. The most consequential management activity by landowners is logging. Cutting trees can improve forest health, biodiversity, economic value, regeneration, and productivity. Hundreds of thousands of acres are being cut annually, but we can only speculate to what extent the impact is positive or negative. There is very little information at the state level about what’s actually happening in the woods. To what extent is the commercial timber resource in New York State being sustainably managed? We know that growth exceeds removals, but that’s not enough to proclaim that forests are sustainably managed. How many acres are cut annually? Where is it harvested? What’s the condition of residual stands after logging? How are the health, composition and value of the timber resource affected by logging, either positively or negatively? This basic information, which could be used to improve the effectiveness of forestry outreach efforts and inform public policy, doesn’t exist. If business as usual qualifies as good forestry, then the timber from family forests is sustainably harvested. But to the extent that timber is being cut for short term profit and without a forester, it’s not about forestry or sustainable management — which means it’s really all about the money. Carl Wiedemann is a member of NYFOA.

The New York Forest Owner 54:1 • January/February 2016

Proposed Amendments to NYFOA Bylaws NYFOA is updating its bylaws to comply with current law and to make governance of the organization more efficient. Since its founding in 1963 as a membership organization governed by its members, NYFOA has grown and changed over the years, adding office support staff and becoming a non-profit corporation in 2006, when it merged with NY Woodland Stewards (and was then governed by a board of directors). It is common for grassroots organizations to start off as a membership organization, and as they mature and hire staff, transition into an organization led by directors. The NYS Non-Profit Revitalization Act of 2013, which took effect on July 1, 2014, removes some of the regulatory burdens imposed on the non-profit sector, while improving oversight and governance. Having reviewed NYFOA’s bylaws for compliance with the new law, your Board of Directors is recommending the following changes to NYFOA’s bylaws: Amendment #1: Repeal Article III, Membership and Membership Meetings in its entirety. Reason: To bring NYFOA’s bylaws into compliance with current NYS NonProfit Law and make governance of the organization more efficient. Our current bylaws state that governance of the organization is vested in a Board

of Directors, but members vote to elect the board of directors and to approve any changes to the bylaws. Under current law, a quorum for an organization of NYFOA’s size is 100, not 35 as stated in our current bylaws. Despite sending ballots via the Forest Owner to all NYFOA members, very few members vote, well below the quorum of 100 set by current law, either by mailing in their ballots or at the Annual Meeting. Voting membership makes governance of the organization very cumbersome due to: 1) difficulty in obtaining the required quorum of 100 for voting for directorsat-large and amending bylaws; and 2) the long lead-time (~ 3 months) required for written notification in the Forest Owner of membership meetings and elections.  Given the very low participation rate of voting members and the difficulty in achieving the required quorum of 100 under the new law, we recommend the proposed change. Although NYFOA members will no longer have voting authority at the Annual Meeting, they will still continue to have representation on the Board of Directors via their Chapter-designated directors and will continue to enjoy the same membership benefits such as receiving the Forest Owner magazine and Chapter newsletters; access to all Chapter and state-level meetings, programs, woodswalks and events; and discounts on posted signs, Northern Woodlands subscriptions and other member discounts. Member and Chapter involvement in state level operations,

including the nominating process, will continue to be encouraged. The Board of Directors recommends you vote FOR Amendment #1. Amendment #2: Repeal Article VIII, Fiscal Management, Section 3. Annual Audit, which requires an audit be conducted annually. Reason: Effective July 1, 2014 the NYS Non-Profit Revitalization Act of 2013 eliminated the audit requirement for organizations whose revenue and support is below $500,000/year and raised the threshold requiring financial statements review to $250,000. NYFOA’s annual revenue is approximately $100,000, well below either of these thresholds. Eliminating the audit requirement is expected to save NYFOA~$3000/year in accounting costs. Financial oversight is provided through independent CPA review of NYFOA’s financial statements during the year, NYFOA’s budget process, and filing the required Federal and NYS non-profit corporation tax returns. The Board of Directors recommends you vote FOR Amendment #2. Please VOTE using the proxy ballot below. You may view NYFOA’s current bylaws on our website at NYFOABy-Laws2006.pdf.

New York Forest Owners Association PROXY BALLOT – Proposed Bylaw Amendments 2016 I, the undersigned, being a Member of the New York Forest Owners Association, hereby appoint Jerry Michael, Secretary as my proxy to attend on my behalf the annual meeting of the Members to be held on April 16, 2016. My Proxy is authorized to vote on my behalf on any matters that may come before the meeting. Name(s)_______________________________________________ Signature___________________________________________Date_______________ Address_________________________________ City/Town______________________ State____________ Zipcode_________Chapter _____________ The Board of Directors recommends you vote FOR the following amendments to the bylaws: Amendment #1: Repeal Article III, Membership and Membership Meetings in its entirety. ( ) FOR ( ) AGAINST Amendment #2: Repeal Article VIII, Fiscal Management, Section 3. Annual Audit, which requires that an audit be conducted annually. ( ) FOR ( ) AGAINST It is understood that if you submit the ballot without otherwise marking it will be voted as recommended by the Board of Directors on all matters to be considered at the meeting. Detach and Mail proxy before April 4, 2016 to: NYFOA, P.O. Box 541, Lima, NY 14485


NYFOA Board of Director Candidates The Nominating Committee of NYFOA presents the following slate of three nominees to fill the four openings on the statewide Board of Directors. Each opening is for a three-year term as provided by the Bylaws of NYFOA. Please complete the ballot below and mail to NYFOA by April 4, 2016. Renee Bouplon - Cambridge, NY Renee J. Bouplon is the Associate Director of the Agricultural Stewardship Association, a nonprofit land trust that conserves working farm and forest lands in Washington and Rensselaer counties. She is active with the Capital District Chapter and previously served as a NYFOA state director from 2004-2010. Renee is a volunteer with the Master Forest Owner program and is currently President of the Greater Greenwich Chamber of Commerce. She holds a B.A. in geology from Hamilton College and a Master’s in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. Renee resides in Cambridge, NY and can usually be found on her family farm walking in the woods or checking on the beef cattle. Jerry Michael – Binghamton, NY Jerry joined NYFOA in 1989 and has served as Program Chair and newsletter Editor for the Southern Tier Chapter since joining. He has been a Master Forest Owner Volunteer since 1995 and serves as MFO Coordinator for the Southern Tier. Jerry served two terms as an at-large Director on the NYFOA State Board, and as Treasurer, from 2000 - 2006. He currently is a member of the Restore New York Woodlands and the Policy and Legislative Affairs Committees. David H. Newman, Manlius, NY Dr. Newman is the Chair of the Department of Forest and Natural Resource Management at SUNY-ESF in Syracuse, NY. He was previously the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Forest Resource Economics and Policy at the Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. His primary research areas have been the economics of public policy related to timber supply, land use change, landowner decision making, and forest taxation. He and his wife are currently absentee timberland owners, having owned 100 acres in Georgia for more than 20 years. Since coming to New York, he has been the ESF representative to the CFRO at Forestry Awareness Day at the Capitol.

Detach and Complete

Mail Before April 4, 2016

Election Form Vote for Three (3) Candidates

Renee Bouplon ( ) David H. Newman ( )

Jerry Michael ( ) ___________________ ( )

Name(s) _____________________________________________________________________________ Address _____________________________________________________________________________ City _____________________________________ State _______________ Zip ______________ Chapter / Affiliation ________________________________ Send ballot to: NYFOA, P.O. Box 541, Lima, New York 14485 12

The New York Forest Owner 54:1 • January/February 2016

NY Forest Owners Association 54rd Annual Spring Program, Saturday, April 16, 2016 Sustaining Family Forests Marshall Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 8:15 a.m.

Registration and refreshments. Check out the displays from NYFOA Chapters and forestry oriented exhibits in Nifkin Lounge.

9:00 a.m.

Welcome: Charles Stackhouse, President NYFOA and David Newman, Chair, Faculty of Forestry, SUNY ESF.

9:15 a.m.

The Green Lie: Problem Plants in Forest Regeneration and a Process to Manage Them. Peter Smallidge, NYS Extension Forester, Cornell University.

10:00 a.m.

Keynote Speaker: America’s Third Phase of Forest Conservation: Family Forests. Brett Butler, Research Forester, US Forest Service.

11:00 a.m.

Status of the Young Forest Initiative. Katherine Yard and Sandra Van Vranken, Wildlife Biologists, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

12:00 p.m.

NYFOA Annual Membership Meeting

12:30 p.m.

Luncheon and NYFOA Annual Awards Banquet

2:30 p.m.

NYFOA Board of Directors Meeting

Prepared by Conference Chairperson Rich Taber, CNY Chapter and with input from the NYFOA Board of Directors

Please Register by April 4, 2016


Returning This Form to Address Below

Name: ___________________________________ Address: _______________________________________________ City: _____________________________________ State: _______________ Zip:_______________ Chapter Affiliation: ________________________ Email: ___________________________________ Registration Fee: $20 per person $15 for students. Please make checks payable to NYFOA or pay by credit card. Number Attending: ________________

Total enclosed: $_________________

Names of Additional People Attending: __________________________________________


Form of Payment: o Check o Credit Card Credit Card No. _____________________________________________Expiration Date ________V-Code______ Signature: __________________________________________________ Send the completed form to: NYFOA, PO Box 541, Lima, NY 14485 Map, Directions and Parking information are available online at



Welcome New Members We welcome the following new members (who joined since the publishing of the last issue) to NYFOA and thank them for their interest in, and support of, the organization:


Name Chapter Name Chapter Jim Carey


Jessica Nelson

Bruce E. Cushing


Tom Pavlesich

David Dentico


James Povero & Sandy Yahner SOT

Kingbird Farm


Jon & Margie Prasek

Peter McKnight


– No Trespassing – Hunting, Fishing or Entry by Written Permission Only

SOT Name & Address - Owner or Lessee

CDC Use this form to order the sign shown above. The signs are orange with black printing. SIGN COST NUMBER MATERIAL PER SIGN ORDERED* COST Plastic (.024 gauge) $.60



Aluminum (.012 gauge) $.90



Add Name and Address to Sign Set up cost per address


Plus $.05 per sign



Shipping and Handling Cost $10.00 per order SUBTOTAL

$10.00 $_______

NYS Sales Tax – add 8% $_______ TOTAL COST OF ORDER $_______

Please specify Name and Address to be printed on signs: Name:______________________________ Address: ____________________________ Limited to two lines of type (abbreviate where possible). Type is about 5/16 inches high.

Mailing Address

(UPS Shipping Address if different from mailing address) Name:______________________________ Address: ___________________________ ___________________________

Make checks payable to NYFOA.

Toll Free (877)-HALEFOR or (814)367-5916 email

Mail form to NYFOA at: PO Box 541, Lima, NY 14485 For more information Call 1-800-836-3566 * Minimum order is 50 signs with additional signs in increments of 25.


The New York Forest Owner 54:1 • January/February 2016

Renewable Heat NY Qualified


Woodland Health A column focusing on topics that might limit the health, vigor and productivity of our private or public woodlands

Coordinated by Mark Whitmore

Let’s Pitch in to Save the Hemlocks! By Mark Whitmore and Caroline Marschner


s engaged woodland owners, you are likely already aware of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA), the invasive insect killing hemlocks through much of southern New York. If you’ve been to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and seen the standing dead hemlocks there, it’s all too easy to picture what could happen here in New York, where hemlocks are the third most common tree species. Forest owners throughout New York should be on the lookout for this pest, and the next few months are the ideal time to find it. With funding provided by the USDA Forest Service we’ve started an initiative in the Finger Lakes to develop a regional response to HWA, and we want to eventually expand this initiative to work with woodland owners across the state to conserve New York’s hemlock resources.

HWA on eastern hemlock at Cayuga Lake.


Ecologically, hemlocks are a foundation species in our forests; they create habitat that is critical to the survival of many other species. Hemlocks are shade tolerant trees and are capable of growing on shallow, rocky soils. They often grow in gorges and valleys, stabilizing steep slopes, and minimizing siltation and nutrient overloads in streams. As evergreens, hemlocks use less water than deciduous trees in the summertime; snow also melts more slowly under the dense hemlock canopy, providing cool water to streams later into the spring. As a result, streams in hemlock dominated valleys are cooler and more likely to flow year round than those in hardwooddominated valleys. Cool, perennial streams are necessary for reproductive success of cold-water fish like our native Brook trout and Atlantic salmon. Atlantic salmon have been recently become re-established in the Salmon River and Lake Ontario since being extirpated in the 19th century and their survival is now threatened. Hemlocks also provide winter habitat and shelter for a wide range of species, including migrating songbirds. HWA feeds on hemlock twigs near the base of hemlock needles. A heavily infested tree has sometimes two or more HWA at the base of every needle. The hemlock’s response to the wounds caused by the straw-like piercing-sucking mouthparts of HWA is to chemically wall them off, which restricts sap flow through the twig. With heavy infestation the tree is unable to support growth of new buds, and the tree weakens and dies when it is unable to produce new buds and existing needles finally senesce. The problem in the Eastern United States is that there are no native HWA predators and we’ve not found resistant

eastern hemlocks. Long-term options for management address both of these variables. Resistance may have appeared in a stand in the Delaware Water Gap which has survived much longer than expected and is being studied to see if trees have HWA resistance that can be inherited. Resistance is definitely part of a long-term solution for maintaining eastern hemlocks in the landscape, but as we have seen with American chestnut and American elm, this solution can take a long time. To conserve our existing hemlocks, we need to now focus on biological control and systemic insecticides. The most feasible long-term solution for HWA control at this time rests with biological control, or the use of predators. In the Pacific Northwest where HWA is native there are over 20 different predators. There are several HWA biological controls currently being used in the East, some from the Pacific Northwest and some from Asia. These insects have been through years of rigorous testing to ensure that they eat only HWA before they are approved for release. We hope that by establishing several predator species in the eastern US there will eventually be enough control of HWA that healthy trees can survive indefinitely even when infested, as they do where HWA is a native species. The two species currently being released in New York are Laricobius nigrinus (Lari), and silver flies (Leucopis argenticollis). Lari has been released in several locations, but establishment has been slow. The limiting factor with this, and other species, is supply; lab-reared L. nigrinus are prohibitively expensive, and collection from wild populations is timeconsuming and unpredictable. In order for Lari to be a viable biocontrol in New York, we need to establish local sources. Like all good predators Lari follows the prey and when it is released in a stand of large trees they wind up in tree crowns where they are difficult to collect. It would be ideal if we could easily collect Lari in places where they have been released and then spread them to places where they are needed. Hemlocks pruned as hedges have branches that are easily reached for collecting Lari. We need to find hemlock hedges in landscaping situations across the state where we can release Lari so we can then return and collect their progeny to spread around to priority areas. Biological controls take years to become

The New York Forest Owner 54:1 • January/February 2016

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid distribution map

established and grow to the point where they are effective. In the meantime stands currently infested by HWA are threatened. To save genetically and aesthetically important trees, pesticides are the only current option. Saving the genetic heritage of hemlock in our state is one of the most important goals of the Hemlock Initiative. Large, old hemlock trees are important because they represent those individuals which have withstood the test of time in that location. They should be cherished at this time. We are fortunate to have available in New York effective, inexpensive, and environmentally responsible systemic insecticides; insecticides that are effective for many years with a single application. A detailed discussion of insecticide treatment can be found in the reference included at the end of this article. Without insecticide treatments we would have already lost hemlocks in some of New York’s most iconic state parks and old growth hemlock stands. Landowners can purchase products to treat trees themselves, and we note the legal obligation to read and follow the pesticide label. We also recommend you consult with Cornell Cooperative Extension or a local certified arborist before attempting HWA control yourself. The Hemlock Initiative has recently received funding through the Finger Lakes National Forest and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to organize an HWA response plan that includes five basic steps:

1. Engage stakeholders and volunteers 2. Locate valuable hemlock stands and map the current extent of HWA 3. Prioritize hemlock stands, identifying those that conserve genetic diversity, maintain critical ecological functions, conserve culturally important landscapes, and meet other criteria defined by constituents 4. Develop best management practices for HWA and implement strategies to monitor efficacy over time 5. Locate/plant hemlock hedges for predator release and engage volunteers to monitor HWA and predator development

Woodland owners will be critical partners in all of these steps. You are the experts on hemlock and HWA distribution on your lands; that information will be vital to create an accurate infestation map, which is the first step for prioritization and planning. You can help define prioritization of stands that others may never have seen. Owners of hemlock hedges are sorely needed for helping to establish Lari source populations. Volunteers are also needed to assist in monitoring the effectiveness of management decisions. The Hemlock Initiative will be meeting with MFO volunteers and other groups this winter and spring; if you have information on HWA in your area, please consider sharing it. Working together, we may be able to conserve our hemlocks and the many other species they support for future generations to enjoy as we have had the privilege to do. For more information or to get involved, please visit the Hemlock Initiative at http:// or contact Caroline Marschner at

Caroline Marschner is an Extension Associate at Cornell University.

Mark Whitmore is a forest entomologist in the Cornell University Department of Natural Resources and the chair of the NY Forest Health Advisory Council.

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Ask a Professional (continued)

Figure 5. The two-ranked foliage of eastern hemlock includes dwarfed needles arranged on the upper side of the twig.

odor of firs is often that of citrus, though the odor of balsam has a less pronounced citric component than other species. Balsam fir up to a few inches in stem diameter have resin blisters on the stem that contain a sticky and aromatic pitch. Balsam fir is tolerant of shade and often grows in the understory. Hemlock – Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and Carolina hemlock (T. caroliniana) both occur in New York though the former is significantly more

common. Hemlock will resemble balsam fir except for three distinguishing characteristics. First, the cones of hemlock are marble-sized, pendant, and the scales remain attached. Second, the foliage has a “piney” (actually “hemlocky”) odor, but not any hint of citrus. Third, the needles, especially on eastern hemlock, are tworanked, but also include miniature-sized needles that are attached sporadically on the upper side of the twig (Figure 5). The central leader often droops, and a purplish

Figure 7. Foliage of northern white cedar is glossy and succulent in appearance.


Figure 6. Eastern larch with foliage on spur shoots. Photo courtesy of Joseph O’Brien, USDA Forest Service,

zone separates the layers of bark. Much notoriety surrounds hemlock because of the introduced hemlock woolly adelgid. Hemlock, like balsam fir, is tolerant of the shade. Larch – As mentioned, eastern larch (Larix laricina) is distinctive for its deciduous foliage. Like black spruce it may be found growing in the saturated soils of bogs. The foliage may appear to be clustered on stubs, known as spur shoots (Figure 6). However, the clustered foliage is a result of a branch that does not extend; the foliage that would be otherwise arranged singly on the stem are compressed into a cluster on the spur. The cones are approximately the size of those on eastern hemlock, but are held erect. Many plantations of larch occur on former farms throughout New York, but those plantations are most commonly European larch (L. decidua) or Japanese larch (L. kaempferi), both having much larger cones than the native species. Cedar – Northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis), as all members of the cedar family, are distinguished from the pine family by the modified needles. The modified needles are described as keeled, meaning the outer edge is folded (Figure 7). A written description that provides visualization is challenging; perhaps consider a dense strand of green waxy beads, melted and pressed flat. The cones are distinctive, and to some appear as miniature wooden roses. Northern white-cedar is common in bogs and on

The New York Forest Owner 54:1 • January/February 2016

Figure 8. The foliage of redcedar may be scalelike as the upper-end of the left branch, or awllike. This foliage is smaller than most redcedar branches, but illustrates the two types of needle structures.

dry ground, and is tolerant of shade. It may grow in dense stands that provide winter cover for deer, and is browsed heavily by deer. The wood is light and the most rot resistant of the conifers. Atlantic white-cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) is restricted to coastal areas of the state.

Juniper – The junipers have two types of needle structures, one is linear and awl-like and the other is scale-like (Figure 8). Juvenile and vigorous shoots tend to have awl-like foliage. Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) will attain tree size and occurs in most counties of the eastern United States. Pasture juniper (J. communis) only occurs as a shrub, usually on infertile soils, and only has the awl-like foliage and in whorls of three. The berrylike cone of pasture juniper may be twice the size of that of eastern redcedar. Tree identification can provide countless hours of fun, and maybe a bit of frustration. Start with a good book, practice on specimens you know, and make a collection of numbered twigs to test yourself and friends that come to visit. Other resources 1. Numerous publications are available via A social network is also accessible for owners at www.CornellForestConnect.ning. com and includes an events page,

blogs, questions and answers, and a place to post pictures of what you are doing in your woods. 2. Archives of tree identification webinars are available at com/ForestConnect Search for “identification.” 3. A free online book “Know Your Trees” published by Cornell Cooperative Extension is at http://cortland.cce. or an update version may be purchased at 4. Donald J. Leopold, Trees of New York State: Native and Naturalized. 2003. Syracuse University Press. 322 pages. Response by: Peter J Smallidge, NY Extension Forester, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Department of Natural Resources, Ithaca, NY., 607/5923640. Support for ForestConnect is provided by USDA NIFA and the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.




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The New York Forest Owner 54:1 • January/February 2016

Member Profile: Gary Blough Briana Binkerd-Dale


ary Blough came to the University of Rochester in 1985 from Michigan and never moved back. After receiving his Masters and PhD degrees in Optics, he co-founded Photon Gear, Inc. in 2000. Located in Ontario, Wayne County, the now 11 person company specializes in the manufacture of precision optical lens assemblies for bio-medical, semiconductor, and various research and industrial applications. In 2004, Gary and his wife Billie bought an 80 acre farm next to her family land in the Town of Ontario, then went on to purchase the original farm from Billie’s parents in 2007. Since then, they have acquired four other small adjoining parcels that provide access to the land off of three roads. Located about 1.5 miles south of Lake Ontario on the lake plain, there are 40 acres of overgrown apple orchard, 20 acres of fields, seven acres of tree plantings and the rest is forested. There are three small ponds, a small swamp, a couple of drainage ditches and some slightly rolling hills, but the majority of the land is essentially flat. The 160 acres of the two main farm

parcels has a few small hickories and beech, while one of the smaller parcels has quite a few hickories. There is a mixture of sugar and silver maple, some large tulip and hemlock, Norway spruce and scattered white pine and cherry on the rest of the of the forested land. Gary is proudest, however, of his seven acres of tree plantations which are planted with approximately ten different varieties of oaks, spruce and white pine and chestnuts. “There are hundreds of oaks, chestnuts and many great trees for wildlife,” he stated, while prior to Billie and Gary’s purchase of the land there were only yard oaks on the land. They also put in 5-6 acres of food plots (primarily corn and clover) for deer and turkeys. The biggest recreational use of the land is hunting — they used to ride horses quite a bit, but the horses are now too old to ride. Gary was inspired to get involved in tree planting and forest management by a friend from Idaho, Hunt Hatch, who attended SUNY-ESF and the University of Idaho and went on to become a commercial airline pilot and just “kept buying land and

The trees on the left are chestnut oaks and on the right side are white pines. The two partially dead trees in the middle are the experimental sequoias.

Gary and his son Christy during timber contest measuring 2014.

planting trees.” Mr. Hatch planted several hundred acres of trees over a few years in his late 60’s and early 70’s and now owns more than 1,500 acres of timber land. Gary asked him at one point why he planted so many trees when he wouldn’t see them mature — Hunt responded “You’ll never see a tree mature if you plant it; they are multi-generational. Your heirs will see the trees mature.” One winter Hunt bagged 45 deer in an effort to protect his plantings. Now 83 and in a nursing home, Mr. Hatch is still full of conviction — when told recently that he had lost one of his tree plantations to a wildfire, his response was simply “How soon can we replant it?” Billie, Gary and their family have put in the majority of the work involved in the planting and management of their tree plantations. Their son Christy helped the most over the years but is now in college and isn’t available much, while their daughter Bailey has graduated from college and now lives in Boston. “When the majority of the trees were planted in 2007 and 2008, Billie and the kids provided a lot of assistance, although I can’t say they always enjoyed it,” Gary said. “They do enjoy watching the progress of twigs turning into trees though.” Gary makes the majority of management decisions, although he let Christy and Bailey pick tree types continued on page 22


A view from a tree stand shows primarily Norway spruce with white pines, swamp white oaks and pin oaks behind the fence on the left.

that they wanted to plant. “We learned sequoias don’t grow well in upstate NY,” Gary chuckled. Much of the information he needed he acquired through Internet research. He has also worked with Mark Gooding, the DEC’s region 8 forester, who set Gary up with their Forest Land Enhancement Program (FLEP). Gary started with FLEP in 2007, planting

Michigan pecan purchased from Oikos Tree Crops. It is a cold tolerant pecan that should yield nuts in warm years.


about 2500 trees that year. His neighbor Dave Aman was a huge help in that effort — a former curly willow farmer who has just retired, Dave had a tractor with a tree planting attachment that allowed them to plant all of the trees in just two days. FLEP paid about 25% of the costs of the 2007 planting, including all the necessary supplies and the clearing of the land (done via tractor and backhoe, with a Round-Up application afterwards). He plants with the contours of the land rather than in straight lines to make it feel less orchard-like. All of the planted trees get 3’x 3’ ground mats (which were supposed to last 3-5 years but are still going strong at 8). All species except for the spruces are either fenced or have tree protectors. After a few years, Gary ended up getting a Ferris zero turn mower, which has been a “savior” for mowing around trees and is also a huge help in beating back multiflora rose and briars, sometimes with the help of the herbicide Crossbow which is registered in NY. Gary’s biggest challenge has been protecting trees from deer. He started with classic yellow tree covers, but after a trip to Idaho came back to find 200-300 of those ripped off. The following year, he put up light polymer fencing that turned out to not be durable enough. Occasionally he protects single trees with four foot high metal fence, but the deer will often knock those down even with 1” oak stakes (0.5”- 0.75” bamboo stakes are best). He now has seven foot heavy polymer fencing around most of the larger plots, but still finds himself

constantly repairing it. Last year he lost 20 trees that were 10 feet tall or higher that were behind the 7’ fence, but the deer broke into the enclosure and rubbed the bark. In the last few years, he has focused on removing as many deer as possible to try to help the trees grow and survive, taking 1012 a year with many on DEC DMAP (deer management assistance program) permits. So far though, he has not seen much of a reduction in damage: “Selecting and procuring trees is the easy part — taking care of them and keeping the deer from ruining them is the tough part. I’ve learned a lot about deer protection options.” Selecting the proper trees for the site does matter. At one point he planted blue spruce in a site that was too wet, and they all ended up dying. However, Gary has had particular success with his chestnut oaks, which are drought resistant and live up to their name. After trying a few different sources for his seedlings, he settled on Lawyer Nursery in Montana: “They have very high quality trees — once I got some from them I didn’t want to purchase from anywhere else.” Caring for the seedlings is important too — between watering them during the first year or so, trimming, mowing, fixing the fence, and spraying a little bit, Gary stays pretty busy. Gary joined NYFOA through the NYFOA Gift Membership effort, which is an ongoing option with more than 150 new members to its credit. Once in NYFOA, Gary and his family quickly became active in the Northeast Timber Growing Contest ( Gary has already spent a lot of time trimming the smaller trees, but the Timber Contest was a fun family activity and opened his eyes to the need to thin the forest to improve growth rates of trees. The family is eager for next summer to see how fast their trees are growing. He also very much enjoys the woods walks of their WFL NYFOA chapter. He says what he most enjoys about being a forest owner is “watching a twig grow into a tree, and seeing the first batch of nuts on new oaks and chestnuts.” He is more than happy to share what he has learned over the years with anyone who is interested. Briana Binkerd-Dale is a student in Environmental Biology and Applied Ecology at Cornell University. If you are interested in being featured in a member profile, please email Jeff Joseph at jeffjosephwoodworker@

The New York Forest Owner 54:1 • January/February 2016

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The New York Forest Owner - Volume 54 Number 1  

January/February 2016 issue of The New York Forest Owner. Published by the New York Forest Owners Association; P.O. Box 541; Lima, NY 14485;...

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