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shelter belt help-come on you guys/girls

Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 7:43 pm
by Chuckie
i have an older shelter belt that i'm not sure what to do to maintain; you all can help, just get your heads out of borders/r-calf/etc. see: post in ranch talk. love ya'all! please reply--need input!

Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:15 pm
by rancher
Mow or till down the rows, leave the old grass if you want for birds and such. Tried to post awhile ago and it wouldn't go through.

Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:21 pm
by Chuckie
rancher, you're one of a kind (!), but if you saw this shelterbelt, you would FORGET the mowing nonsense--it would take a bulldozer!! i'm just rying to figure out what to save, what to pull out and burn and what to coddle....what's good to save, what to "euthanize"?

Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:23 pm
by Kato
What kind and size of trees do you have?

Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:25 pm
by rancher
If it is alive keep it, in my country any tree is a good tree. The drought is taking a toll on my cottonwoods. You could get the BLM to do a back fire, they need lots of practice. Every back fire I have seen has burnt more than the orginal fire. So number the trees, put in a hat and pull out numbers for the trees you want to keep. Hell I don't know, call your extension agent. :lol:

Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:28 pm
by Kato
Or put up an ad in town offering free firewood! :lol:

Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:04 pm
by Chuckie
well,geez you guys! if i let the BLM/volunteer FD have at it, i wonder if my property insurance covers it? free firewood: i'd have no shelterbelt at all (and this one is on the north side), so forget that. i'm thinking i like oldtimers idea of goats to clean it up (and make MONEY!!)--i'm no worse than a cattle feeder, right??!! lol

Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:06 pm
by ~SH~
Sorry Chuckie,

Without more information on the current status of your belt it's hard to say.

We had an old shelterbelt with standing dead chinese elm trees throughout it. As long as these dead trees are standing they still provide windbreak.

What we did was take out the outside row of caraganas, towards the prevailing wind, and replace it with a row of Rocky Mountain Junipers and added another row of Rocky Mountain Junipers where the fence used to be.

Once these trees grow up enough to provide adequate windbreak, we will take out two more rows and replant them with another row of RMJ's and a row of Hackberrys.

If you are from NE nebraska, I would plant nothing but Rocky Mountain Junipers for windbreak.

Put them in fabric too and ask your conservation district about cost share on the fabric. They will grow so much faster. I planted RMJs 7 years ago that are now 8' tall.


Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:15 pm
by rancher
SH, what do you mean on the fabric, a ground cover?

Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:22 pm
by ~SH~
No, I am talking about using the fabric mesh that is made out of the same material as the old black plastic baler twine. It's 6' wide and blocks the weed growth. After you plant the trees, you roll the fabric over the trees. Then you take a knife and slit the fabric and pull the trees through. Don't get too far ahead of yourself if you are planting on a hot day as the trees can bake under the hot fabric. This fabric not only blocks weed growth for 3' on both sides of the tree but pulls moisture from the ground to the surface.

Also pay attention to tree spacing and row spacing. I would allow at least 18' between rows to give the snow room to dump and I would plant the RMJs at least 8' apart. Old tree spacing recommendations figured half the trees would die. Nowdays, a 90% take on new plantings of RMJs is very common.


Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:25 pm
by Chuckie
i'll have to get a tree book and ID what i have in there--there's not the first evergreen, the oldest (biggest) trees are 50' tall at least, not dead, but the undergrowth is what is worrying me the most--see-you all are already helping me define the problem.
how does this RMJ take partial shade? and is it as prolific as the cedar and mulberry around here? ie, once it gets a hold, you can't stop it spreading? is hackberry a bush or tree? i haven't messed with this shelterbelt simply because it gives shelter to both turkeys and pheasants and i don't want to screw it up for them. BTW, liberty belle-no hunting on my huge acreage..! the dogs would get 'em!

Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 10:15 pm
by ~SH~
What locals call "cedar trees" are mostly Rocky Mountain Juniper.

Hackberrys are a medium heigth hardwood tree

Not sure how RMJs would take partial shade.