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Posts by Peter Smallidge

Peter Smallidge, NYS Extension Forester and Director, Arnot Teaching and Research Forest, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Ithaca, NY 14853.   
Brush saws can be used to clear subcanopy trees and shrubs.

Clearing a Woodland Understory

By Peter Smallidge / April 5, 2021

Question:  I was visiting a friend’s woodlot last fall. They had logged much of the ash due to Emerald Ash borer and expanded those openings into patches to allow for replanting with walnut. The understory was mostly buckthorn, ironwood, hornbeam and other scrubby species. They cleared the understory, in anticipation of planting, by either scraping…

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Features of Trees Useful for Identification

By Peter Smallidge / January 11, 2021

Learning to identify the trees on your property will help you enjoy and better manage your land.  Woodland owners who learn how to identify the trees and other vegetation on their property are better able to enjoy their land, and will make more informed decisions about their management actions. The terminology associated with dendrology, the study of trees, can be…

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The Benefit of Markets for Managing Low-Grade Trees

By Peter Smallidge / April 6, 2020

Low-grade trees may be aesthetically attractive and have other than economic benefits. Considerable attention is given to high-value trees, particularly how to grow them and their value when harvested. The harvest of just the high-value trees from a woodland is known as high-grade harvesting, selective cutting, or simply “high-grading.” This unsustainable practice has also been discussed because it diminishes the ecological and financial value of a woodlot. In…

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low grade trees figure 4

The Benefit of Markets for Managing Low-Grade Trees

By Peter Smallidge / January 13, 2020

Low-grade trees may be aesthetically attractive and have other than economic benefits.  Considerable attention is given to high-value trees, particularly how to grow them and their value when harvested. The harvest of just the high-value trees from a woodland is known as high-grade harvesting, selective cutting, or simply “high-grading.” This unsustainable practice has also been discussed because it diminishes the ecological and financial value of a woodlot. In…

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downed tree

Managing Woodlands to Improve Wildlife Habitat

By Peter Smallidge / October 7, 2019

Manipulations of the trees can create new and varied habitats for wildlife. Most landowners own their land for a variety of reasons, though at any point in time one objective might be of more interest than other objectives. For many woodland owners, they are interested in seeing more wildlife, whether as birds or game species,…

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Aren’t They All Just Pines? How to ID Needle-Bearing Trees

By Peter Smallidge / February 11, 2019

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…

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Managing Small Woodlot Parcels

By Peter Smallidge / July 2, 2018

In New York and most of the Eastern states, the greatest proportion of woodland owners have relatively small parcels.  A “small” parcel size is not defined, but often considered to be less than 10 acres, or less than 50 acres.   The USDA National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS) offers a feature to make tables and charts about owner attributes and…

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Managing Small Woodlot Parcels

By Peter Smallidge / June 28, 2018

In New York and most of the Eastern states, the greatest proportion of woodland owners have relatively small parcels.  A “small” parcel size is not defined, but often considered to be less than 10 acres, or less than 50 acres.   The USDA National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS) offers a feature to make tables and charts about owner attributes and…

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Low-Cost Fence Designs to Limit Deer Impacts in Woodlands and Sugarbushes

By Peter Smallidge / January 8, 2018

The  white-tailed  deer  (Odocoileus  virginianus)  can  significantly  influence  the  diversity,  longevity  and  sustainability  of  rural  woodlands,  forests  and  maple  syrup  sugarbushes.  As  selective  browsers,  deer  will  eat  some  plants  more  readily  than  they  eat  other  plants.  Many  of  the  tree  species  deer  prefer  to  consume  are  valued  by  owners  as  sources  of  timber,  maple  syrup, …

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Strategies to Control Undesirable and Interfering Vegetation in Your Forest

By Peter Smallidge / October 3, 2011

On most wooded properties, the owner will recognize the presence of at least a few undesired plants species. In some cases, these plants become sufficiently abundant and interfere with the owner’s objectives.  Interference might include the development of a beech or fern understory that impedes oak or pine regeneration; hardwoods that interfere with the establishment…

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