View Full Version : Landscape Design for our 61-acre Learning Center

03-14-2005, 11:04 PM
I'm so glad to discover the Arbor Day Foundation. I'm *hoping* I'll be able to get some help here in planning our 61-acre Learning Center. To see pictures, you could go to:
Click on the links in the upper left-hand corner associated with Emerald Hills. Feel free to check out the photo galleries, as well as the pages marked "'Read' about Emerald Hills".

Where do I begin?

Let's take it one step at a time. Here's what we've done so far:
a) engaged the services of an architectural firm to do a master plan (marginal effectiveness; the maps you see are a result of their work, but we have *so* much work left to be done
b) invited the US Dept. of Natural Resources to send their rep. to talk to us about pond development
c) invited the Kentucky Division of Forestry to send their tree expert to do a study of the land and make recommendations
d) invited the KY Division of Wildlife to send their wildlife expert to do the same
e) prayed a lot! :-)

I have *so* many questions, I don't know where to begin. So I'm just going to start asking them, one at a time, to get the ball rolling. No particular order or priority:
1) The Forestry expert is recommending a select cut on 19 of our wooded acres where the woods is of "inferior quality". The goal would be to nurture the woods with more desirable species. My question is: Can that really happen, or will the loggers create such a mess that they'll kill more than they help?

Anybody able to reply?

03-15-2005, 09:03 AM
The woods can certainly be thinned, and then populated with more desirable species - whether or not the job is botched depends on those involved.

As I have almost 60 acres less to worry about than you do (unfortunately!), and I have the limited resources of a new homeowner, I have to do my work bit by bit. If you're not in a rush, this may work for you as well. Looks like you can get volunteers to do some of the work, which would go better if you can get one or more certified arborists to guide what needs done. I've done some volunteer work for The Nature Conservancy, which involved clearing brush (and, on other projects, girdling or felling trees), so that sort of thing isn't out of range for non-professionals. You could possibly turn some of the felled trees into firewood or other products that can be sold to help raise funds to do more work.

If you're reforesting large quantities, you're most likely not going to be planting large trees, but small seedlings. The area will take a lot of patrolling to keep weeds and other invasive things from competing with the things you want. Working with small areas at a time will also make that more manageable.

Good luck!

03-15-2005, 08:30 PM
In most cases, a select cut won't involve planting new seedlings - it's more a matter of culling out the less-desirable species and poorly formed trees, to give the species and individuals that you like more room to grow and reproduce naturally (an exception might be if your land is dominated with exotic species, in which case you'd need to re-introduce natives). It can be a way of speeding and guiding the process of succession to meet objectives such as wildlife habitat value, species diversity, aesthetics, and of course timber value.

The benefits won't be seen right away, and immediately after the cut it may look a little messy. In the long haul, however, the Learning Center will probably benefit greatly from following the advice of the forester (especially since he or she is from the state Division of Forestry, and so has no financial interest in recommending a cut that would harm your land).

You're doing the right thing by bringing in regional experts from state agencies. They'll be highly educated, and able to offer much more substantial advice than what could be given over the internet, without being there to evaluate the site. Plus, they're usually free! :)

It looks like a great project. Be sure to keep checking back to post updates, ask questions, etc.

03-15-2005, 11:02 PM
Great! Thanks Everett and "saccharum" for the replies. I think, after having digested your responses then, that we would probably just work with our forester to find a really reputable logging team with great references. We'll try to make sure they follow "best management practices" (BMPs). Which leads me to my second question.

2) Should we engage the services of an agent or forestry consultant to serve as a broker with the logging group, or is that really just optional? Our forester has said that their policy doesn't really allow them to be a consultant like that during the logging itself... though we would sign with her to mark the trees and all. She's saying that the consultant would negotiate a separate contract with us almost like a realtor... taking like... a percentage of whatever proceeds come in.

By the way, I think we'd go ahead and use a logging crew, in part, because this process would seem to me to be rather labor-intensive for volunteers. I'm afraid it would stretch over a full *year* or more. I'd rather just get it over with! :-)

Thanks for any response you might give. Again, the 2nd question:
Should we hire a paid timber consultant to oversee the logging operation, according to the option our regional forester is suggesting?


03-16-2005, 09:11 AM
If you can't find an expert to volunteer their time and efforts, I would hire one. The important thing is to have someone who knows what they're doing, what the loggers should be doing, and has your best interests in mind. If you can shop around and find that kind of expert who is willing to volunteer or work for a discounted rate, then all the better!

In weighing willingness vs. expertise, however, I would side on expertise; unfortunately, that usually costs money. You may want to consult with local (and local representatives of national) conservation groups - they may be able to provide someone or point out several good candidates.

Quirky Quercus
03-16-2005, 11:06 AM
I can't answer the question but would like to request that you take before-and-after pictures and describe the process and put it on the web site. This topic comes up from time to time on other forums and it would be useful to show the work that goes into doing something the right way.

03-16-2005, 07:08 PM
From what I've seen, an independent forestry consultant can be well worth the money. Such a person can oversee the loggers with a trained eye to make sure they're following BMPs and sticking to the plan, not causing too much damage to the residual stand, and so forth. A good forester can GREATLY reduce the stress and worry for you. I agree with ellyssian, ask around for a reputable choice, your state forester will probably know some good ones.

BTW, I suggest holding off on writing up the plan and marking trees until you also meet with the wildlife consultant - his/her suggestions may affect your forestry plans.

03-16-2005, 09:13 PM
Terrific! Thanks again for the great and thoughtful replies. [3rd question below :D ] I'll be glad to take before and after pictures. (We'd do that at our website anyway.) The Forester for our county gave us a brochure of members of the "Kentucky Chapter Association of Consulting Foresters." They basically said ... if you choose to have a paid agent working on your behalf, these individuals know what they're doing. As we get closer, we might go that direction then. But our forester also seems to be willing to get very involved with us in all but the actual dollars and cents side of things. The next step: We'll fill out the contract for her to mark the trees she'll recommend that we select cut. She's only recommending that we select cut on about 13 of our 61 acres. So it all seems pretty proactive and intentional. Thanks once more for the help.

Again, I don't know how anybody could ask for a more involved group.

OK, met with the wildlife consultant today. He gave us a great booklet on select cutting and the aftercare they're going to request -- "TSI": Timber Stand Improvement. They're looking for:
*** Increased acorn production
*** Reduced time to maturity
*** Increased timber production, volume, quality, (and revenue)
*** Option of using culled trees for firewood, to create snags, brush piles, and for woody material on the forest floor

The methods they'll look for in TSI are:
*** Cutting or Girdling to control the trees they're wanting to drop back
*** Managing vines and invasive plants
*** Retaining Soft mast and diversity
*** Creating snags
*** Excluding livestock
*** Fire breaks as necessary

They're going to help us apply for a small grant to help us recup some of the costs they say are involved in TSI.

So like I say... I have a zillion questions... and they're in no particular order. You've helped us cover the 2 "select cut" questions... so may I dive into a 3rd question?

3) We have a property line about 400' long that borders with a friendly neighbor. (He, along with others, bought lots from us to help us afford the 61 acres that our non-profit was able to retain for our training campus.) We would like to plant trees as a screen there to "insulate our view" and protect his, of course. (He's built a *very* fine house there -- 7,000 sq. ft, with a swimming pool and pond.) What are the factors we should consider in deciding which kinds of trees to plant along that border? Can we leave a 10' service road *plus* the distance of the radius of the row of adult trees, so we can get a tractor between the screen and the four-board wood fence that we co-constructed? We're considering any (or all) of the following trees for potential screen components:
*** Leyland Cypress
*** Colorado Blue Spruce
*** Giant Sequoia
*** Austrian pine
*** Loblolly pine
*** Mugo pine
*** Ponderosa pine
*** Scotch pine
*** White pine
*** American holly
*** Douglas fir
*** White fir
*** Eastern Red Cedar
*** Deodar Cedar
*** Arizona Cypress
*** Black hills spruce
*** Norway spruce
*** White spruce

Primary factors for us: a) Which species would be less scrumptuous for our mushrooming deer population? (One of our volunteers said he saw a herd of *20* crossing a meadow last week!) b) $ we're a nonprofit, trying to do this on a shoestring, c) We're located in Louisville, KY.

So again... summary...
3) For our 400' screen, which evergreen(s) should we choose and why?

Thank you for any help you can give us!!!!


03-16-2005, 09:44 PM
Just FYI... here's a low-res jpg showing one possible version of our 61-acre learning center. None of this is "frozen", necessarily, but it's a snapshot in time... a work in process. Thanks again for any help you can give.

03-17-2005, 11:14 PM
Again, just wondering if anyone can help... For our 400' screen against our neighbors property, which evergreen(s) should we choose and why? (Thanks in advance if you have an opinion!)

Quirky Quercus
03-18-2005, 09:15 AM
Again, just wondering if anyone can help... For our 400' screen against our neighbors property, which evergreen(s) should we choose and why? (Thanks in advance if you have an opinion!)

If it were me, I would choose from the Kentucky natives or the types of trees that are/were found already on the land.
Here's a list of native KY evergreens I found

There's about 4 matching species on your list.

03-18-2005, 10:16 PM
Thanks for the response, Taxodium. Great page. This really helps us with regard to native species... but I'm still a little concerned that our deer herd will have a hayday with all those little seedlings. Does anyone know if there are any species like these that the deer won't consume?

03-18-2005, 10:24 PM
From your list, I like redcedar (native to your area, proven screen tree, although may experience some deer browsing), holly (a neat native not seen too often, although it's pretty slow growing), and the doug-fir, true firs, and spruces (although I'm not sure how they'd do in your area).

The pines will tend to lose their effectiveness as they mature, because they'll be sparse and self-prune their lower branches. The exception would be mugo pine, which is very low and slow-growing - really, too much so for a good screen. Giant sequoia has disease problems outside its natural range, as does Leyland cypress (which is falling out of favor). Other cypresses and cedars are often deer-bait.

03-19-2005, 12:40 AM
Now you're talkin', Saccharum. Thanks again for your time. I like your idea of using Holly. In our situation, we might like to have a tree just a little taller though. What's more, in our area, Holly trees do seem to pick up quite a few diseases for some reason. Finally, this particular area is fairly exposed. So the strong winds in this area might not mix well with Holly trees. But you got my mind going. I started looking at the Holly and ended up looking at the Colorado Blue Spruce. Though not a native, it seems fairly hardy, ... and the advantage I see is that it grows to a height of 30-60' (double the size of the either of the above) and is known to be almost totally deer-resistant, ... maybe more so than Holly even.
for example.)

OK... 3 questions done... and answered... Here goes Question #4.

On another roughly 400' stretch, we need to plant a hedge to delineate our property line.

4) What would be the best plants to use for a hedge in our situation?

03-21-2005, 01:36 AM
Hedges.... Don't have a clue.
Does anyone know the best plants to use for a hedge?

03-22-2005, 02:05 AM
Would we be able to use blue spruce as a hedge, trimming it closely? Anyone know for sure?

03-22-2005, 06:08 AM
Sorry doug, I'm not really a hedge man :) Hopefully one of the others will jump in here.

Most evergreens can be kept trimmed in a hedge, but it's somewhat labor-intensive to maintain it year after year. I worked at a place which had hedges made out of various pines, firs, and spruces, and each year we'd spend a week or so trimming them in the hot sun... not fun. And if you let it go too long, you miss the boat; with many conifers, if you have to trim down to bare branch, it'll never resprout and you'll be left with a bare spot.

But then, a broadleaf hedge will often need to be trimmed many times in a growing season, as it keeps resprouting.

Quirky Quercus
03-22-2005, 09:20 AM
I've seen hedges made out of ficus trees and austrailian pine (a prohibited species). As already mentioned, they are high maintenance. When a drunk driver crashes through the hedge, the gap is not easily fixed.

Why do something synthetic-looking like a hedge when you can create a natural screen out of shrubs and other plants?

03-22-2005, 02:19 PM
saccharum and Taxodium, you guys are the best! Thanks for your help. Taxodium, you said, "Why do something synthetic-looking like a hedge when you can create a natural screen out of shrubs and other plants?" I'm *totally* convinced... but are there any shrubs and other plants that would be deer-proof? You see.. that's my question... When 20 deer encounter these new plants for the first time, they need to be of a taste and/or odor that repulses rather than *interests* the deer.

Would you or someone else be able to suggest a row of shrubs or plants that would be low maintenance and deer-proof?

03-22-2005, 08:14 PM
Nothing is deer proof if the deer are hungry enough.

Firethorn and Mahonia are two different plants that have thorns, and can be used for a security hedge. I'm using them under some windows, but they will get taller if you let them.

You can try sprays or tablets (such as Repellex), in addition with netting or temporary fencing, to keep the deer away until the shrubs or trees get large enough to survive a nibbling or three.

03-22-2005, 09:33 PM
Great tips, ellyssian. We'll try that then.
I hope others can profit from seeing some of the answers you all have given.

OK... ready for question 5?

We're clearing 3 trails (see a rough approximation on the map above in this thread). Right now, our plan is just to sow those trails in grass of some kind. There's a tree canopy above all 3 trails.

5) Would anyone hazard a guess what kind of grass would survive the tree canopy shade, the deer trampling, and the occasional golf cart ride for a donor? (It's actually a 6-passenger Club Car 1500SE with a Kawasaki 400cc engine :-) )

In other words... what kind of grass should we sow on these trails?

Quirky Quercus
03-22-2005, 10:31 PM
Regarding the deer, since I've become a landscape/tree enthusiast, I have heard a lot about deer damage. Never experienced deer damage myself but what I can tell you is that two days ago, there was a deer on the side of the road around dusk, and where there is one, there are others. On the opposite side of the road is a private golf course subdivision that is nicely landscaped. If the deer have been feasting on those trees and shrubs there wasn't any damage evident to me but they didn't plant anything that small. Maybe the answer is to plant something bigger or wait until the size is larger. I'd just take a chance and see what happens. No risk, no reward.

I've read a lot about different types of grass and lately I've seeing a lot of what happens to turf in yards when the trees grow up (Because I've been house hunting). To sum it up I think you're going to find that it's impractical if not impossible to have a healthy lawn in heavy shade and where there are lots of roots. There are types of turf that will tolerate shade but they are usually very expensive, premium turfs that require a lot of chemical/ nutritional inputs to keep it green. Even if you had it in your budget to do it, you wouldn't want anyone to walk on it by the time you were done, much less make it a trail for Kawasakis and whatnot. If you're going to do some thinning there, why not make some mulch and use that. That might eliminate any threat of snakes where people might be walking too. And you won't have to mow it or water it so it's low maintenance and environmentally friendly. www.seedland.com has a decent comparison of many types of grass and the requirements.

03-23-2005, 08:28 AM
As for the deer, if you want, you can search on some of my other posts/comments - I know I have described my encounters with those oversized rodents more than once! :D (Suffice to say that, although they haven't tried to eat everything I've planted, they prefer what I plant over the native vegetation of the same species!)

For trails, I'd definitely second the suggestion for a mulch of some kind. You can always use some of those trees cleared from other areas - shred them and you have an instant surface to work with. Although it describes trails on a somewhat smaller home landscape scale, "Landscaping with Nature" by Jeff Cox (Rodale Press, I believe) has a number of tips for designing and making trails that won't wash away and that look natural.

I've seen similar in advice in several other landscaping books - the main thing to watch out for is designing your trails so they become streams, washing away whatever kind of material you use to build them with. I'm sure there are probably whole books - or at least state forestry manuals - devoted to just this subject.

A quick Google on trail construction revealed:

A collection of trail design and construction links:

and a trail construction and maintenance notebook from the Department of Transportation:

(I haven't looked into what either link offers in any depth, although I bookmarked them - they look promising! =)

03-23-2005, 11:22 PM
Taxodium, again I'm in your debt... and Everett, your ideas are greatly appreciated too. So here's what I did:

*** Ordered the book you recommended. Found it for $3.50 at Amazon.

*** Read the sites at the links. Quick note... I think
might be an even better link for the record... because it lists the whole table of contents instead of just one section. It's like a full-featured *book*! Great treasure-trove find.

*** Then I sent an email to the main "trail boss" (pun intended) we have heading up this trail development operation, advising him of these three resources. Excellent input.

You probably already guessed that I'd have a follow up question. :-) I'm hoping you guys aren't getting tired of me? You just seem to be a fountain of knowledge... and maybe others will jump in too?

6) We have a one-acre meadow that's simply *filled* with cedars... some 3', some 8' tall. We were thinking we might use this meadow to create an orchard of some kind. Filled with cedars, it's not too useful. Can we rent a tree transplanting machine to hook on the front of our skid-steer loader (about $350 for a full day, I believe), and an auger for the back of the tractor... and just go to town planting these cedars along one unmarked border? I haven't counted yet, but there might be 100 or 200 cedars there. We could plant them 10' apart, maybe fertilize them with something, stimulate their growth more, and utilize them as a kind of natural fence or screen?

As an example of the tool I'm describing, click here:

6) So in summary, would it work to use a tree-translplanting accessory to move 100 or 150 cedar sapling trees to a nearby land border for a natural fence/screen?

Thanks for *anyone* who can advise us on this.


03-23-2005, 11:23 PM
By the way, forgot to mention, we'll order some sample stuff from seedland.com. Great site. Thanks.

03-24-2005, 08:03 PM
So... at least... has anyone ever used one of those skidsteer tree transplanters? Thanks in advance for any feedback.


03-25-2005, 08:54 AM
Sorry, nope... my experience is on a much smaller scale.

03-25-2005, 11:20 PM
Everett, thanks for the response. I combed the rest of the forum and at least saw one fellow looking to buy one. I'll go ask him if he's used them before.

03-25-2005, 11:25 PM
Wrote this to that fellow wanting to buy a tree spade:
Hi terryenterprises. So maybe it's Terry. Either way, I don't have any inside info. on these... but we *have* considered renting a tree spade for a day or more. We'd like to move about 100 cedars from the inside of a meadow to a fence line to make a screen. Wondered... I'm assuming you've used one of these before? Maybe you have a business doing tree moving? I just wondered if they really work? Are they worth buying -- or should I rent if we don't have a ton to do on a regular basis?

Your best thoughts?

03-28-2005, 07:24 PM
OK... I guess the tree transplanters aren't that popular around here, so may I try a different question?

We're thinking we'd like to label all the trees on our 61 acres. About two-thirds of it is wooded. Would anyone recommend a way to do that? We could, for example, establish a consistent numbering scheme, assigning, for example, the number #3 to White Pine. So anywhere on the property, where we find White Pine, the tree would always be referred to as a #3. In this way, we save space and time creating labels *and* there's always a bit of memorization involved. Makes it easy to create quiz sheets and every path is keyed to a brochure describing "interesting" trees on that trail. Is that a dumb scheme?

But beyond that, what kind of material makes the best sign? What kind of stake should be used to display it? (I'm assuming we shouldn't nail signs onto the tree trunks we're trying to admire? :-) )

Question #7: Bottom line -- what are some tips for creating the best numbering scheme to showcase the trees we have on our property?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.


03-30-2005, 10:05 PM
Can someone at least point me to some examples of good labeling or numbering schemes... Maybe a project you've seen at a park or an educational forest?

Thanks for any help you can give.

Quirky Quercus
03-31-2005, 11:49 AM
I can't say that I've ever seen a "educational forest" before. :D
Why not create a printed guide so people can identify the trees themselves?
Little plaques can be nice. Also expensive. I've seen some used to designate champion trees. You should contact a reputable sign shop that can help find something that is durable outdoors. Homemade plaques don't last too long.

03-31-2005, 01:11 PM
I've seen embossed metal tags used at Mount Auburn Cemetary (Cambridge, MA) and something similar at Penn's Woods (at Bowmans Hill Wildflower Preserve in New Hope, PA).

03-31-2005, 03:00 PM
ok... those are good starts. Those are the kinds of comments I'm looking for. I've seen treated wood 1x6 boards nailed to the angled top of a treated post. Seems like a lot of trouble just to assign a number to a tree.

As to the printed guide, we can certainly do that.

Any input from anyone else regarding materials or nature of construction for the label scheme?


04-01-2005, 11:34 PM
OK... running into a dry well there... so I guess I'm ready to move on to the next question, if you'll permit. My question is --

8) When planting a row of screening trees, is it ok to mix up species... one of each tree. ... so... say 20 different species all together, side by side?


04-02-2005, 08:44 PM
I personally think the best results are a blend of several different species. I wouldn't follow strict alternation for the same reason I wouldn't want to line them up in neat rows - it won't look natural (especially if one fails and leaves a gap in the sequence/pattern.)

I like offset groups of three or five (odd numbered patterns seem more natural than even numbered ones), something like:


I have done these clusters (which vary in size and orientation) with Norway Spruce and Eastern Hemlock. Since I have a limited space, I only have four clusters: EH-EH-EH, EH-NS-EH, NS-EH-EH, and NS-NS-NS.

04-02-2005, 08:48 PM
I agree with ellyssian on all counts :)

04-02-2005, 11:23 PM
This is great stuff. I *definitely* believe that this message board is having a great and positive effect on our campus. Those trees would have gone in straight rows, if it were to have been up to me, just because I wouldn't have had a good model otherwise! So thanks a million!

That's exactly what we'll do then... stagger, group, etc.

We're ready to order some saplings... so we can put these ideas straight to work.


04-02-2005, 11:27 PM
I've been trying to find some good basic training tools for our campus. I mean... we have to start at the very basics. Here's one resource I found that looked interesting. I realize it's pretty specialized in some ways, but it seemed pretty fundamental in others.

#9) Does anybody have any feedback on these principles... if we were to pick them up and try to apply them at our campus? Would they be effective, as far as you can see?

Adapted from:

Matthew J. Pantera is the chair of Sport Management & Recreation at Springfield, Mass.-based Springfield College, and Daniel Queen is a graduate student at the college.

Keys: The maintenance variables that differentiated award-winning gold medal departments, professional teams and the top 49 golf courses from non-gold medal departments and YMCAs.

Always adheres to accepted safety standards.
Pays attention to detail; facilities and areas should look continually fresh as if they were new.
Invests in back-up systems and parts so that the customer is never inconvenienced.
Always pre-plans for good and inclement weather.
Quantifies personnel outputs and shares with the staff daily.
Purchases high-quality durable equipment at the best possible rate.
Purchases high-quality durable materials at the best possible rate.
Eliminates avoidable maintenance.
Clean and neat everyday — all day.
Immediately repairs vandalized sites.
Protects the environment.
Features earth colors for all man-made sites and facility structures.
Uses visual/digital pictures of sites for public relations and budget development presentations.
Knows when in-house capabilities are limited and relies on experts for help.
Workers do it right the first time.
Features a mix of in-house, privatized, and mixed teams to accomplish goals and objectives efficiently.
Cultivates “Friends Groups.”
Individuals are persons of their word who demonstrate uncompromising integrity.
The department funds lifelong learning and continuing education courses.
The employees respect the fact that a complaint is a gift, and they turn the complaint into a positive marketing weapon,
The department maximizes output with the use of computers, CAD and GPS systems.
The department participates in recycling programs.
The department participates in native species planting.
Adequate staffing levels are in place.
Your idea — Example: Wireless hour reader meters on tractors that flag and create work orders are posted on kiosks for maintenance staff.

04-03-2005, 06:07 AM
For the most part, they seem common sense, such as adhering to safety standards, and so forth. Some of the others, such as using native plants and using earth colors for man-made structures seem to indicate a desire to work in harmony with the natural surroundings. Others definitely sound like they could come from any number of the management or teamwork courses I've taken.

The list certainly wouldn't be a bad place to start. You could tweak it for your particular needs just by changing some of the language, such as: "they turn the complaint into a positive marketing weapon" to something a bit more welcoming and friendly: "they turn the complain into a positive change" (or something even more creative! =)

04-05-2005, 08:03 PM
OK, ellyssian, thanks. We'll start with those and build then.

All right... guess we're ready for Question #10: The Forester we invited to our property identified a problem on 6 or 7 of our trees called "Hypoxylon canker." She basically said all we had to do was maybe fell the trees that have it, then remove them. But I wasn't totally clear on whether or not it would spread -- or already had the possibility of spreading -- to other neighboring trees. Does anyone have any experience with this problem?


04-05-2005, 11:36 PM

Intresting mesages

Gave you a good day!

04-06-2005, 07:59 AM
Boy there are a lot of bushes around. I'm mixing up some Purple leaf plum and Red Barbaries in a line. I like the contrast of their darker foliage. The forsynthias are putting on a show right now. I haven't been around them much before but Pieries Japonica and some members of the Mahonia family look like good specimins in 1 gallon pots. The right hollies are another evergreen choice.

04-07-2005, 11:23 PM
Thanks, Toronado3800, for the response. These sound like great options... but are we sure they're deer-resistant?

04-07-2005, 11:25 PM
So no one had experience with the "Hypoxylon canker" ?

I'm looking forward to visiting Bernheim Forest this Saturday for the grand opening of their new visitors center.

Check out
for more information.

I guess I'm lucky, in that I live less than an hour's drive away.

04-09-2005, 09:03 AM
Hi Doug,

Do you happen to know what species of tree had the Hypoxylon canker?

It's a native disease, and as such is only likely to cause problems for trees that are stressed or declining for other reasons. Diseases play an important role in forest ecosystems, thinning out weaker trees so the healthy ones have more resources. It will not spread through a stand killing otherwise healthy, vigorous trees.

If you're thinning anyway, it makes sense to mark the diseased trees for removal (especially if they are in a high-traffic area where they might eventually pose a hazard). But if you're concerned about the other trees, don't worry about it. The hypoxylon fungus is ubiquitous in the environment, and leaving the infected trees won't make much difference. As a forest pathologist I know often says, "The fact that you have Hypoxylon [or whatever native pathogen] is a good sign - it means you're not living on the moon."

04-10-2005, 09:07 PM
Whoa that makes me feel better, saccharum.
So we'll fell them... and not worry as much about the other trees in the stand. Shew! :-)

This board has been a great help to us so far. More than anything else, makes me feel as if I have a place to turn for help... a "panic button"! :-)

#11: Is there anyone here with experience in sinkholes, or at least... rapidly eroding ravines? We have a couple of ravines that have eroded to the point that it looks like a cave might be forming! No limestone visible though -- just plane "dropping soils". It' silt-loam kind of soil. Is there anything we can do to restore those areas? Can we, for example, dig out a little more of the dirt, install a kind of French drain system in the bottom, then, put coarse gravel, then medium, then fine, then top soil on top?

04-11-2005, 07:40 AM
We've had a lot of sink holes opening around here lately - houses, highway bridges, a stream, and at least one car have been swallowed in the past year alone - but I haven't had any direct experience with them. To the best of my knowledge, the ones they've "fixed", they've done so by pouring in obscene amounts of concrete (i.e. triple-digit truck loads, at least in one of them)

Quirky Quercus
04-11-2005, 08:03 AM
Thinking the most effective way to get a mound of dirt to stay put is to cover it with sod/grass. Something deep rooted or some other groundcovers might do the trick.

04-12-2005, 01:20 AM
Thanks Taxodium and ellyssian! Ok... so we'll try the French (curtain) drain, with gravel fill, then lots of top soil, then some deep-rooting grasses. Thanks for the feedback.

#12: I've been reading "Landscaping with Nature". Great book (just came today). Loving it... and thanks for recommending it. I notice the author suggests a lot of effects that include species that wouldn't be native to a particular area. By contrast, other input (including implications of recommendations here on the forum) has seemed to indicate that we should use only native species. If it were up to you, which approach would you suggest to us?


04-12-2005, 07:35 AM
I definitely like to plant native trees, taking advantage of the fact that they already live in the area, and are adapted to it. In the heavily wooded sections of my property, I won't plant anything that is not a native.

However, along the foundations, and at other points in the yard, I will plant non-natives that have not proven to be invasive. Most of these come from a similar habitat in other parts of the world, but a few (such as the eucalyptus) are stretches, and a bit of an experiment on my part.

Saccharum posted a link to a great essay (http://www.doaks.org/Nature/natur002.pdf) in response to another discussion (http://forums.arborday.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=93&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=&sid=96a280406436ec430cd7f41b674b8540) on the forum.

If I were in your position - maintaining a substantial acreage - I would stick with native-only plants. The grounds can than serve an additional purpose, as they help in conserving local species!

I would even go so far as to find some species that are threatened or endangered in your area and attempt to grow them, where possible. I'm making a point of doing this with American Holly and Bleeding Heart (Dicentra exemia) - both of which are on the list of PA natives that are disappearing. Caveat - as pointed out in "Landscaping with Nature" - don't collect from the wild, or buy from sources that collect from the wild, or you will be contributing to the disappearance instead of helping repopulate the plant!

Quirky Quercus
04-12-2005, 08:45 AM
There's also different degrees of planting native.
There's planting only what was found growing on your land. There's planting only what's found in your county or general area even though it might be a different habitat. There's planting what's native to your state. Or there's planting what's native to North America.

It's probably better to replace the plants that were removed for construction but in rare instances that doesn't always leave you with choices that interest you or are adequate for the amount of space that you have. Where I live now the wooded areas consist mainly of magnolia, pine and holly. If I go 5 miles to the east, it would be entirely different species (wetland species) and if I go 10 miles to the west, I've got an entirely different set of trees. County-wide I have a ton of native choices but many wouldn't consider anything beyond that native because of man-made imaginary boundaries such as city limits.

I thought this was really only an issue for Florida but as it turns out this is an issue for many places such as prairies in the midwestern states and the entire southwest too. Sometimes you have to go beyond your are to find what you need and that's why I haven't been able to stay 100% native.

04-12-2005, 05:40 PM
The others have given good responses, I'll just give some embellishments.

At the least, you should make sure that any plants you're using are not invasive. This is especially important in your case, since you'll be managing natural areas on the property. I do think that there are reasons that you might want to use non-invasive species that are not native to your area - for example, the local species might be poorly suited to serve a specific purpose (such as your screen trees).

I think that you should emphasize natives in your landscaping, if nothing else, as a way of extending your nature paths into the rest of the property. Landscape plants are an opportunity to bring in specimens of locally native species that for whatever reason are not abundant in your woods, providing extra opportunites for education.

Although ellyssian is definitely right that you shouldn't gather rare plants or seeds from their wild locations, there's nothing wrong with collecting seeds from common species on or near your property, and growing them into trees for planting on the property - in fact, doing so preserves the local genotypes from being dilluted by commercial strains. It's also another opportunity for fun educational projects (send the kids home with a tree seedling).

04-13-2005, 11:52 PM
Whoa... these are very thoughtful and convincing arguments. Sounds like good logic. I'm hearing a real consensus. Thanks. So... that's what we'll try to do. It's that simple.

#13) We've finished the initial set of preliminary plans that will not allow for the road to be cut through the central part of our campus. In one particular stretch, we'll run adjacent to an amazingly beautiful yellow poplar tree. It's an incredible giant... maybe -- I'd have to measure to be sure... but maybe 7 or 8' in diameter. Huge tree. Will we avoid damage to this tree as long as we stay out from under it's "drip ring"? (in other words, if the sun were directly overhead at noontime, we'd want to stay out of the "shade" that is cast by it's leaves, right? Otherwise, we can safely cut the road in as close to that drip ring as we'd like -- and avoid damage, correct?

04-17-2005, 03:27 PM
Sounds like a great tree! I love a big Liriodendron.

Its roots will actually extend quite a bit further than the dripline (commonly absorbing roots extend at least twice the diameter of a broad-canopy tree), but that's often given as a rule of thumb. Generally you will at least minimize damage to the structural roots that way, and a vigorous tree can tolerate the loss of some of its absorbing roots. There are a number of other factors that can go into determining the Root Protection Zone (RPZ). There are actually formulas that are sometimes used that take into account the species tolerance to root disturbance, age of the tree, and trunk diameter to determine the RPZ.

If your tree has a form with a broad canopy for its height (as opposed to a tall tree with a narrow canopy), the dripline is a pretty decent guide, especially if you're only going to be working on one side of the tree.

04-17-2005, 11:04 PM
Yes, saccharum, it would be just on one side. "RPZ" -- love it.

Any other feedback from others, before we move on?

Thanks again.

04-28-2005, 09:36 PM
Thanks again for all the help. By the way, has anyone ever seen a technique whereby one could literally label the identification for literally every tree in forest? Think of something along the lines of convention delegates with those badges that hand on their necks. Is there any kind of labeling system that we could hang on their trunks?

Quirky Quercus
04-29-2005, 02:37 PM
Doug, I am working on developing something nice along the lines of a permanent tree plaque that can either hang from a branch or be staked in front of the tree. It would be weatherproof. Can you tell me what your budget is per tree and how many trees you have and also how many plaques would be identical and I will give you some ideas.

04-29-2005, 09:11 PM
Personally, I would prefer something that was mounted on a stake or post in front of the tree, to eliminate the possibility of harm to the tree.

I hope you'll post your ideas, Treehugr!

Quirky Quercus
04-29-2005, 09:49 PM
I've been working on it for some time. I wanted something nice to showcase my own tree collection that would last outdoors. I didn't want to post anything to the trunk (like they do with some champion trees!) and thought hanging from the branches would be an option but still not the best idea.

04-30-2005, 11:03 PM
Hello Taxiodium (and saccharum). Thanks for the brainstorming. I dare say we'd have hundreds of trees, but maybe we could just focus on a more manageable number (within financial reason) to begin with. So let's say we started with 100 trees along a 1.6 mi. trail. What would that kind of thing set us back, using your system?


Quirky Quercus
05-01-2005, 10:06 AM
There are few kinds of "plaques". One is printed on aluminum, one is a multi-layered acrylic plastic and PVC and one is corrugated plastic. They are all permanently attached (with screws) to a black steel stake, with the exception of the corrugated plastic which uses a more economical wire stake that looks like the letter "H". What I was trying to do was bend the little signs so they are angled at 30 degrees or so that way they can be read more easily by people walking by. But that's optional.

These could range in price anywhere from $2.00 up to $25.00 each depending on how many different phrases there are. And to know if it's even possible, I'd have to know how much text you want to put on there. But here's an example.
An example of what you could get would be 30 identical tree tags for 6 different trees that are 4"x6" and have copy similar to the image above. The plaques themselves if printed on metal would be about $1.00 each and if you do them on corrugated plastic would be $0.66 each. That's for a one color imprint on one side and doesn't include the stake. It will cost a little bit more to number them but not much more and I do remember numbering was something you were interested in. I don't know how many different trees you have but that can drastically impact the cost of producing them. I can tell you exactly what it will cost if you have a better idea of how many identical tags you will need and how many trees.

Some other options would be to round the corners and drill holes if necessary. The background could be black too to match the stakes and blend in a little better with the surroundings. It's more costly to do that on the real small ones. Speaking of size, if you want to have more text on there than what's shown, you'd need to go with a larger size and they can be a lot larger if that's what you are looking for. The black stakes start at about $6 each.

As for deciding which material to use, the metal is going to last longer and look nicer. If quantity was more important and keeping the cost down, corrugated plastic will last a long time too and can be used with more economical wire stakes which range in price from $0.49 to $0.99 each.

I don't know where the threshold is regarding business messages and acceptable use on this forum but if we're starting to cross the line, I'd be happy to discuss this with you by email or phone and can provide you with lot of additional information.

05-02-2005, 12:56 AM
This is *sooooooo* exactly what I was looking for. I would hope that the moderators of this forum would realize that you didn't "spam" the list, but responded to a real need by a forum member who was asking for it. Your answer gave information relative to the question asked... but didn't go beyond that.

And by the way, you've also won a customer! How do I proceed? I'll attempt to send you a private message and we'll take our discussion of particulars to a one-on-one interchange, but we'll thank the forum for enabling exactly this kind of help to happen!!!


05-02-2005, 01:19 AM
OK... sent the private message. So we'll follow up on the business side off the forum. But just a big of a follow-up on how we hope to proceed then... To anyone who has input...

So our plan would be to number each tree invidually. There are probably hundreds, maybe a few thousand?... I don't exactly know right now, on our whole 61 acres, two-thirds of which is wooded. But either way, this individual numbering scheme would allow us to give individual attention to each tree's needs. (I'm *so* going to be labeled a tree-hugger now. :-) ) But seriously, let's say we've identified that have that canker... and say it's trees #35, 42 and 26. We might actually remove those trees and retire those numbers. But make notes that trees 15, 26, and 18 are in the vicinity and look suspicious -- so we'd have to keep an eye on them. We'd use some kind of simple database to track the exact location of each tree by its number... and we wouldn't try to arrange the numbers necessarily in any order (e.g., from the South of the property to the North or whatever), but instead would allow the tree numbers to occur randomly as we identify them.

For visitors who have palm devices, we could make available ppc files in some kind of simple format ... like that Mobile DB described at:
so the trees would be searchable, and uniquely located by points on a particular trail, and/or by some kind of grid system yet to be devised. So for example, if a visitor wants to see our champion yellow poplar (the largest yellow poplar on the property), the directions could be stated in two or three ways:
"Go to the Freedom Barn and look off to the left"
"Grid B-17"
"Trail #2, at 'milemarker' 0.1"

As other technologies become more prevalent, we could try using RFD tags, GPS location guidance, or whatever.

Either way, once they arrive, they'll find Taxodium's tag identifying the tree. As time goes on, maybe we also order secondary tags that give more "anecdotal" information about the tree... e.g., the fact that it's rare, or that this is a particularly large sample, or whatever.

So ... what do you think? Am I at least headed in the right direction?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.


05-02-2005, 01:32 AM
By the way, think I'll stash this link here just so it doesn't get lost... but will write a more generic item about it out at the "General Discussion" area. Found a *great* resource to guide us regarding so many features of planting, care, and planning. See it at:

It's a PDF - but I'm assuming all users will have installed a PDF reader... but if not, get the free reader from Adobe at:

There are a few other resources available at the Athens-Clarke County page...
Just do a ctrl-F "find" on that page for "Landscape Management" and you'll see the list of documents.

It's a great resource. Hope something there can help others too.


Quirky Quercus
05-02-2005, 12:53 PM
Woah, it sounds like you have this down to a science! I will check my PM box.

05-02-2005, 05:03 PM
Hey Tax, those placards look excellent, and they're a lot less expensive than I would have thought!

One nitpick: when printing Latin names, the genus is capitalized and the species is all lower-case. The general convention is that this rule trumps other formatting.

Quirky Quercus
05-02-2005, 05:41 PM
Thanks Jeff I was wondering about that. I know the common name is supposed to be lower case but wasn't sure about the latin name.

Acer rubrum would be correct, not Acer Rubrum. Right?

Just the genus right? Thanks for the compliments on the design. I hope they will be happy with the samples.

05-02-2005, 06:31 PM
Thanks Jeff I was wondering about that. I know the common name is supposed to be lower case but wasn't sure about the latin name.

Acer rubrum would be correct, not Acer Rubrum. Right?

Just the genus right? Thanks for the compliments on the design. I hope they will be happy with the samples.
Right, just the genus. And the common name follows normal capitalization rules - no caps required unless it contains a proper noun (such as "American elm" or "Bradford pear" but no caps on "red maple."). It would be acceptable to capitalize the common names on a sign (just as you might capitalize a title to a book, or whatever) - but stick with the rules on the Latin or you'll irritate the sticklers ;).

05-02-2005, 06:50 PM
BTW Doug, a GPS unit paired with computer mapping software (such as ArcView) would make mapping out your stand much easier! A decent GPS receiver can be had for fairly cheap, I wonder if there's a paired-down mapping program out there for the non-scientist (i.e. without all the quantitative analysis tools).

Quirky Quercus
05-03-2005, 11:26 AM
Sac has a good idea there with the GPS, but sometimes they no worky so good under heavy tree canopies or will be accurate to 80 feet instead of 15 feet. Even still theres some good FREE software that I use that will track positions and mark waypoints on both a topographical map and satellite aerial photo. (Topo would be of more use to you) Let me know if you want to know where to get it.

05-03-2005, 06:23 PM
Good point, especially with a handheld unit you'd need an extended antenna to get the kind of precision you're looking for.

I can tell you though, it's pretty tough to work accurately on a coordinate system to do tree mapping. I've done it before on 20-meter wide transects, but a whole stand would be tricky!

05-03-2005, 06:54 PM
You're right in every way -- I've been trying GPS under our canopy and it's pretty hopeless.

We *do* have highly detailed topographical maps from the county though... and we're very motivated :-)... so we're willing to plot, even if we have to use surveying equipment to do so.

A volunteer in Evansville has *talked* about helping us use his fancy GPS unit to map the exact locations of the *trails*. Maybe that would give us a head start.


PS. Worked on the surveying for the road today. Really fun. :-) Rented a "Total Station" by Nikon. Can't wait to see the whole project gelling.

05-14-2005, 12:09 AM
Just an update on our progress....

*** We've been looking into "carsonite" stakes to hold information about our trees and hiking trails. See this site for samples:
Have seen these carsonite stakes at state parks nearby and they seem lightweight, durable, and long-lasting. They get the material up to waist height and make it easier to read, I think, than a stake at ground level.

*** We've about concluded that our best bet for "screen" trees would be to transplant several cedar trees from an open meadow, where they seem to be competing with one another for light and moisture anyway. Our current plan is to rent a tree spade from a nearby Bobcat rental store. We talked about the tree spade in the thread, above, and it seems like it would enable us to transplant more of the trees in less time.

*** Our trails are so beautiful these days. Our trees have leafed out... the major perimeter service roads are done. Life is good.

Next challenge -- get water, electricity, telephone, and data to our barn... and get the septic hooked up.

Again... thanks for your ongoing help in getting us up and running!

Quirky Quercus
05-14-2005, 02:15 PM
Those gas line markers would be convenient because you could inexpensively make labels for them but maybe a little eyesore-ish? They are supposed to be noticeable... Not sure if you want these bright things sticking up all over the woods there. At any rate, I apologize we have been unable to connect. I returned your call when I got back from Atlanta. Now I'm packing it all up and should be back online and ready to work in a week or two if you still need help.

05-14-2005, 09:46 PM
No problem, Taxodium. I was actually thinking of still relying on you for the labels... but using the Carsonite posts primarily because they'd be up in people's vision more than the little signs on stakes. I'm half afraid some of those will soon be covered over by understory. But honestly, if you think those carsonite stakes are ugly, we'll reconsider. They're $10 and your metal stakes were going to be $6. But the carsonite deals last forever, and I was afraid your metal stakes would rust?

Quirky Quercus
05-14-2005, 10:18 PM
I actually saw something neat at a hotel here in Orlando last week. I was once again at this hotel called the Gaylord Palms which has an incredible amount of trees and plants growing indoors including bald cypress if you can believe that (even if you can't I have photos of them!). Anyway they had a single piece metal sign at various plants which serves as the sign and the stake. And it was bent at an angle like we had talked about. They weren't very tall but they looked nice. I took some pictures of them with someone else's camera. They were going to send me the pictures but in the midst of all my moving preparations I forgot about it.

As for the carsonite stakes, I don't think they are ugly, they are just going to be the focal point of the forest because they are bright colored (I've only seen them in white or yellow or fluorescent red- traffic delineator version). All of the stakes I had suggested using so far are galvanized steel and won't rust for at least a few eons. But, If you can get the carsonite stakes in brown or green I have to say that would be pretty nice. You could have the decals printed on reflective self-adhesive film that applies directly to the stake so in low light conditions, you could find them easily with a spot light or bright flashlight.

If you want, I can send you a to-scale photo to show how both would look side-by-side in a wooded setting to see which looks better to you. If you don't hear from me next week, it's because I haven't got any broadband yet at the new location but I'll be back.

By the way I might be able to get you a better price on those carsonite stakes. I have to check with a vendor when I get my filing cabinet back.

05-15-2005, 09:45 PM
The carsonite stakes we saw were indeed brown... and they mixed well with the forest. If you can possibly get them cheaper, we'd rejoice. Could we still use you for printing the labels on the vinyl medium that you mentioned? (Reflective or otherwise) (BTW, will the vinyl last quite a while before fading?)

You're right... orange would stick out. We wouldn't opt for that. But Brown was good.

The smaller metal stake/signs sound interesting... but again... it just feels like they'll be obscured by understory in certain cases.

Today I visited the University of Kentucky's arboretum. See their site at:

The grounds were as interesting as they could get... everything well-mulched, well-mowed, very well designed and spaced... but alas, the tree labels that they *did* have were all simply laser-printed on plain-old-cardstock... so the rain and UV light were causing the logical effect one might expect... fading, condensation, mildew, discoloration, and worse, missing signs. May our advisors help us do better. :-) But we'd have to work very hard to out-do them on the grounds!

It was interesting though... that many trees had a wire loop attached to the lowest limb, complete with an aluminum bar-code tag. :-) That would make a great database tracking system, wouldn't it.

So ... please do send us the pictures you mentioned (comparing the signs). We'd love that!

Thanks again!

05-23-2005, 08:12 PM
Remember our 61-acre Prayer, Retreat, and Learning Center? (here's a shot of one of our wooded views)
Well good news:
The barn is pretty much sealed in! There's some trim work left to do... and the workers will return after some missing pieces come in. But for the most part, we can now go to work in it! That means tomorrow, we'll hope to move our tractor in there... and the new "Club Car" 6-person golf cart... and we'll go to work framing up the office, rest rooms, and utility room.

Here's a recent view. Check out that giant Tulip Tree just west of the building.


05-30-2005, 08:06 PM
Still at work on our site. I've been reading more about sustainability these days and I'm *reeeeally* looking forward to planting some new trees. Just for fun, here's an aerial view of our site that I took this morning from a Saratoga Piper 6-seater plane. (Thanks to "Keith", the pilot, who volunteered his services!)


(Note that I've superimposed lines approximating the borders for our 61 acres. Later I'll annotate more the dreams we have for what we hope can become a showcase for the beauty of our planet, a celebration of trees, and a retreat center for those who want to enjoy them.)

Here's a link to get a larger view of the above icon:

But first things first... we've got to finish that road first of all.

I'll keep you posted.


05-30-2005, 08:55 PM
Looks great, Doug! I especially love that wooded view in your previous post... now that's what I call a retreat!

05-30-2005, 09:46 PM
Thanks for the encouragement, saccharum. How 'bout that healthy understory, eh? :-) We're really enjoying putting into practice the principles we're learning on sites like this one, too.

Thanks again!

Quirky Quercus
05-31-2005, 10:39 AM
So what kind of stuff ya got in there?
Behind my new house I've got a smorgasbord of trees. The tallest trees which I estimate to be 80-90 or so feet are mostly yellow/tulip poplar. There's an oak that's yet to be identified and a sweetgum. Some pine too way in the back. I can see there's a lot of different types of medium sized trees. One of these days I'm going to have time to go exploring. In between my house and the woods there is a retention pond. There are hundreds of seedlings coming up where it was cleared around the pond so I guess it won't be too long before the woods get even closer.

06-02-2005, 12:31 AM
Taxodium, sounds great behind your house. I can really resonate with you when you say that "one of these days you're going to have time to go exploring." I feel as if I'm having to spend some foundational time on infrastructure right now (the barn, the road, the electrical grid, the water, etc.). But I long for the day when we'll be setting up a really cool hiking trail and we'll hook people up with a way to learn more about the beauty of the creation in front of them -- and to thank the creator for making it so cool.

Quirky Quercus
06-02-2005, 12:57 AM
Oooh. Grid and water. My favorites. Any chance you can find an excuse to put in any kind of solar system? Rainwater collection? And skip the local telco, go with VoIP if you have broadband. These aren't always practical, easy or inexpensive but it would be keeping with your "green", renewable resources genre.

06-03-2005, 08:49 AM
Whoa... those are great ideas. We'll go to work on them!!! Rainwater collection is a great idea! (We'll have city water... but your idea of renewable is great.) We can at least recycle all the rainwater we can into our 2 little lakes. VoIP would be great too. With the distances though... I guess we'd have to go fiber optic? (1400' between buildings, for example.)

Solar -- that would be so grand. We're right now finishing up that barn. Is there a simple solar hot water heater set up that anyone can recommend? I'm sure a web search would turn up numerous options, but I was hoping I could get someone's positive review firsthand?

Thanks again for the help here at Arbor Day! We talk about all *kinds* of sustainable stuff! :-)


Quirky Quercus
06-03-2005, 10:19 AM
Traditional water heaters are not very efficient and would require a much larger capacity alternative energy system. So you'd want to find the most efficient appliances and fixtures. There are numerous tankless water heaters and those that can easily be hooked up to sinks that just heat the water when you're using it. I had a cheap one in a sink in my old shop and it worked ok. Depending on what the use is for your water heater this might be a way to go. Here's some info on tankless water heaters http://www.controlledenergy.com/

And also depending on what your need is for telephone, the least costly and easiest to setup right now is consumer VoIP like Vonage. You can use any telephone that way and fax too. My business phone bills used to be around $400-$600 per month. Now they are less than $80. I haven't had any problems with it and have been using for over a year. Maybe a wireless network could bridge the gap between the two buildings. If you have a lot of users or don't have reliable broadband this wouldn't be the way to go.

06-06-2005, 10:33 PM
Thanks, again, for the tips. They're great, as usual.

Tomorrow we begin working on the interior of the barn. We'll start trying to organize the framing for a small maintenance office, showers/rest rooms for girls and guys, and the utility room.


Quirky Quercus
06-07-2005, 08:42 AM
Is that Miracle Truss?

06-07-2005, 09:42 PM
Miracle Truss: Nope... It's Kentucky Steel Truss.

Here's a close-up of one of the trusses being dropped into place:

It's a great structure for a learning center that hopes to major in the environment as well as in getting to know the peoples of the world.

Thursday it's back to work on that road -- with a CASE D6 bulldozer, one week rental. No trees will be dropped. The entire road is being created in the clear. We'll use some of that geotextile fabric in any wet zones. And it's all going to be gravel so there won't be any impervious surfaces.

Quirky Quercus
06-09-2005, 08:55 PM
The reason I asked is because it looks like the same design as Miracle truss. I had compared them all some years back when I was going to build a metal building. At any rate it looked like the best design for a building that size.

Those are some great pics.

06-09-2005, 11:14 PM
Sounds like a similar technology. So far, we really like it.

Tomorrow's a big day. We're hoping to begin bringing in gravel for our main road, remove items from the white farmhouse so we can remove it from the site totally. If everything goes well, by this time next week, the front of the property should look a *whole* lot better than it does now.

I'm carefully monitoring the bulldozing activity on our road to make sure we try to keep it out of the dripline for our trees. That big yellow poplar (tulip treee) needs a lot of guardianship! :-)


PS. Check out this link to some pictures of our property, including a huge turtle - maybe a snapping turtle

Quirky Quercus
06-10-2005, 08:58 AM
I don't think that's a snapping turtle. Snapping turtles have very big heads and claws. And they are mostly aquatic and don't tend to venture out to bask in the sun although June is their peak egg laying season. Would be surprised if they were that far west too. At any rate, if it was a snapping turtle, your buddy would be missing some toes right now. :lol: Not sure what that turtle could be but it's best to keep some distance because other kinds of turtles can be also be aggressive or emit foul odors like skunks.

06-10-2005, 10:51 AM
At that size, I'm not sure what other kind of turtle it could be - the aligator snapping turtle is found in Kentucky (according to this: http://www.kdfwr.state.ky.us/Reptiles.asp), but it doesn't look nasty enough for that. According to another link (http://www.tortoise.org/archives/snapping.html) the common snapping turtle can be found all across the country.

I did some quick googling of the different turtles on the KY page, but nothing really looked exactly like it - disclaimer: I only looked at the first page of results for each turtle, so a more extensive search might return a match.

Quirky Quercus
06-10-2005, 04:21 PM
I think the more likely scenario is a painted turtle or box turtle or water turtle. But the shell looks kind of plain and grey. It could be covered in mud though. As for the snapping turtle, it should have several keels on it with the ones towards the rear being serrated.

The snapping turtle I was thinking of/describing is Chelydra serpentina. The alligator snapping turtle is Macrochelys temminckii. So they are a bit different. Strange that the web site I looked showed the snapping turtle but not the snapping turtle. Looks like the alligator snapping turtle has webbed rear feet. They both look very unfriendly though.

06-10-2005, 04:30 PM
Box turtle is a bit, well, boxy... this one seemed a bit flatter... I'm not familiar with the map/false map ones at all - it very well might be one of those. I didn't check into sizes, but the whole lot that I did look at were all (snapping excepted) quite small - that could be because people would rather post pictures of baby turtles, though! =)

06-10-2005, 06:23 PM
Sure looks like a common snapping turtle to me! Up North (almost everything's Up North from here) I used to see them outside of the water pretty frequently. Sometimes huge! Definitely not a box, slider or painted.

06-11-2005, 01:24 AM
You guys are so great to jump in and care about my pictures... and creatures! :-) You're great!

The day was going pretty smoothly... with about 1/2 of our road graveled, when the 2" rain came and shut us down. I'm hoping it'll dry out enough to restart tomorrow (today, I mean :-) ). Our volunteer bulldozer operated pledged to show up at 7:30am.

Saw a very thick 5' snake today. Wish I'd had the camera with me. Didn't kill him, but then, with all the children likely to be on our property, kind of wished I had. I didn't recognize the pattern... mostly browns and earth tones. Either way, nasty looking guy.

Better hit the sack and hope to leave by 7:45am to head back out there in the woods. Be there all day.

Good night.

Quirky Quercus
06-11-2005, 08:45 AM
Speaking of Snapping turtles, I saw on CNN last night a report on turtles in Florida building their nests higher and higher lately because the theory is they know hurricanes are a comin' and they are trying to keep the nests above water. They showed a snapping turtle with a big head and claws. The native animals down there can also sense when storms are coming and head for shelter, even in zoos. So Saccharum, do you see any wildlife today with Arlene heading that way?

06-11-2005, 10:12 AM
:) Nothing much here that I've seen, but we're just getting some light showers. Arlene looks to be a non-event for central FL.

06-15-2005, 12:32 AM
OK... so I admit it. I'm feeling guilty about a big maple tree that our master plan has slated for removal. Here's a picture that should give you an idea of what we're up against...

We've already removed the trees that were "split" by the utility workers cutting limbs for the power lines. But behind those trees and back to the left (you can look carefully at the picture above and see) is another maple that hasn't been sliced. Trouble is, it's so far off the road here in this area. And you know... this is the only flat space on our ground. So we need this area badly for a "great lawn" area to play football, soccer, etc.

So here's what I'm asking: Should I feel terrible for taking out that final maple? :-( (Yes I'm feeling guilty.)

I know you're aware we'll be planting *hundreds* of trees in its place at other locations. In fact, the entire "great lawn" will be ringed with cedars. What do you think?


Quirky Quercus
06-15-2005, 08:48 AM
I'm not going to give you a guilt trip for taking it out... I just wanted wanted to say that although I don't know if the tree was pruned correctly but pruning the trees like wishbones is supposed to the right way to do it for powerlines even though it looks strange. That doesn't look like a wishbone though and looks like more was removed than needed.

As for removing trees, personally what bothers me most is clearing naturally established, wooded land completely when it's not necessary to do so. I think that's such a waste. Especially when the trees planted after the construction are not the same ones that were removed. Removing one "urban" tree that may be a great tree but in a bad place like under a powerline is not the same thing.

06-17-2005, 04:38 AM
OK... that makes me feel a little better. :-) You can see the remaining 2 trees (ok... 1 1/2 trees) here.

The debris was completely removed as of yesterday.

Thanks again for helping me live with myself. We haven't gotten up the nerve to remove the tree yet. We might even leave it until the athletic field is developed. Until then, the tree isn't going to hurt anything.

By the way, does anyone know if there's any treatment prescribed if a 3" tree root is exposed at ground level (exposed by a dozer helping us put in the road. The root is about 20' outside the drip ring, proof that trees don't follow the myth of "stay outside the drip ring and you'll be fine". Do we have to seal it or do anything else before we gravel the road?

06-20-2005, 11:40 PM
So did I already tell you about the little fawn I found the other morning...
I couldn't tell how old he was, but my amateur guess was that he hadn't been around very many days.

I believe our road-building volunteer was just about wrapping things up tonight. He supposedly has a donor who is considering providing free asphalt for our 1400' main road on our campus. Anyone have an opinion of how "tree-friendly" it is to do paving compared to gravel? I'm assuming gravel is more desirable, because the water can percolate through the gravel better? Should I turn down the gift of free asphalting, if it indeed is offered?

Thanks for any help you can give.


06-21-2005, 05:48 AM
A bit after the fact, but IMO it's just as well that you removed that tree. Now take that lesson with you, and never plant anything that grows tall under the lines! I hate it when people do that. Commercial landscapers do it all the time, it's like they never look "up!"

In truth, tree roots generally have no trouble growing and finding water under pavement, although they can later damage the pavement as they grow larger. The protected soil under the pavement is often moister than exposed soil, and most paving materials develop small cracks and are reasonably porous. A bigger issue is the damage done to the roots of established trees during the road construction, as you're already aware.

Quirky Quercus
06-21-2005, 12:13 PM
I went for my first walk in the woods behind the new house. I saw that they pretty much scooped away the land along a straight line without any regard to root systems. There's a very tall tree (70 or 80 feet tall) where one entire side of the root system was bulldozed away right at the base of the tree. I am worried that the effects of doing this will be felt in the not-too-distant future. When I get a chance I will take some photos but it looks really bad.

**edit** OK, I got a chance ot take some photos. What do you think about this excavation job?

Here's the canopy.
Did I tell you it was tall?

06-21-2005, 09:02 PM
Whoa, Taxodium, ... no wonder contractors take such a bum rap... if they turn in work like that very often. May we never be found guilty of that. :-(

06-21-2005, 09:04 PM
Wow saccharum, so it's not so bad then, to go asphalt. We're trying to be careful with most of the roots, but like I say, our guys did damage one of the major roots during the excavation of our barn pad. :-( OK -- we'll try to be careful from here on out.

Thanks again!

06-27-2005, 09:55 AM
Good progress on our barn building over the weekend. Remember this will be the building from which we stage all the rest of the campus. You can see here the office, utility room, men's and women's rest rooms and showers, and the storage loft shaping up on top of it all.
Visible to the left (in the above picture) is the group of volunteers from Tower Hill, IL, taking a dinner break. So far, all the work you see her has been donated by volunteers. We're hoping our learning center can include a lot of this kind of "sweat equity".

Quirky Quercus
07-03-2005, 07:58 PM
Lookin good Doug!

A couple of hours ago, I saw a HeeUGE snapping turtle behind my house. When it walked, it looked like an alligator with a turtle shell strapped on! I didn't get too close, just looked at it through the window with a spotter scope. Big head, big claws and big tail.

07-04-2005, 10:19 PM
By your description, it sounds *exactly* like the one on our property. :-)

If all goes well, we'll put the finishing touches on our road tomorrow night. We have another volunteer work team coming in this Thursday night. Maybe we'll have them transplant some trees Friday. Sure wish we had one of those Bobcat tree spades.

Does anyone know how well cedar trees do when transplanting? In this dry weather, it's probably pretty stressful on them. :-( Is there any kind of rule of thumb... like... if the tree is 6' tall, the rootball should be 2' wide, or whatever?

07-07-2005, 12:11 PM
Tonight we have another group of volunteers coming in to camp out for 3 days. Lord willing, they'll completely clean up that site where we tore down the old house, so we can level that dirt out and sow it in grass. Is there any kind of grass that will grow in this Kentucky heat/dryness? Since we don't yet have water on the property, we have limited options for irrigation.


07-16-2005, 12:56 AM
http://www.teamexpansion.org/images/emerald_hills/DSC01566web-res.jpg The Northern Hills volunteers did a great job taking us one step further. In particular, they brought along a city parks planner/constructor (seen here on far left; that's me in the driver's seat, by the way :-) ). He had a great broad-stroke view of our situation and yielded good brainstorming knowledge about the "big picture" of our 61 acres. He was also quite a craftsman in framing, too. He put together the dormer effect we were hoping for in our Freedom Barn building.

This group also helped clean up the site where the white farmhouse was previously sitting.

Next step -- water, electric, and firm decision on a sewerage treatment plant for the property. We want to make good decisions that treat our trees with the utmost respect, taking out only those that are necessary for the best of the property.

Today we pretty much decided *not* to do a selective cutting/harvest of our "North Woods" area, even though our area forester (Kentucky Division of Forestry) recommended it, simply because we believe it will result in a few logging roads and a few misunderstandings from our neighbors. We *would*, however, consider selective *kills*, leaving the trees standing to become wildlife dens and compost. We'll ask her if she'll help us manage the stand using that approach. At least that's what we're thinking unless someone here wants to persuade us otherwise. :-)


Quirky Quercus
07-19-2005, 08:48 PM
Very exciting. Looks like you're getting all your ducks in a row. Keep those pictures coming.

07-25-2005, 10:01 PM
Tomorrow begins the trench for the electric line... infrastructure stuff is like *major* on a site like this, we're learning.

Tomorrow we're also beginning with the engineer who we hope will draw our sewer plant for the entire 61 acres and the guest housing for 150 people when they stay on the property for retreats and training sessions.

More later...

07-29-2005, 12:46 AM
Today we got a call from an Eagle Scout candidate wanting a project. This could be a good source of some volunteer labor that's conservation oriented. He's going to try to tackle cleaning up one of our trails, the one to which we refer as the "North Woods Passage." He'll mark it better (with downed trees along the sides of the trail, for example), clean up stubby stumps still sticking up along the trailbed, and hopefully even build a nice little bridge across a small ravine we cross. We'll let you know how this turns out. Sounds like a win-win situation: eagle scout badge for him, improved trail for us.

08-07-2005, 09:21 PM
The electrical trench (for the high voltage) is done . . . and the Louisville Gas & Electric subcontractor (Fishall) worked hard so they wouldn't damage any of our trees. Next, the LG&E contractors bring in the transformers, then energize us.

This week, we meet with the civil engineer to begin planning the sewerage pipe runs through the woods. We'll try to use small excavators (like the Bobcat 723 Backhoe excavator) to avoid as much peripheral damage as possible.

We should receive a bid this week for the installation of our major water infrastructural spine.

Step by step...

08-16-2005, 08:44 PM
The bid came back for the main water line down through the spine of the property. Together with all the cut-offs for future buildings, it's like $7000. Gulp!

The meeting with the civil engineer went well. He seemed to have a great appreciation for the environment and said he'd get us a quote for the drawings of the sewer system.

Quick question: Virginia Pines are said to be native to our area. Would it be better for us to use Virginia Pines instead of White pines for evergreen screens, for example, between us and a neighbor house? Will we be giving up height, growth rate, cover, etc? Is it worth it for the native species?

Thanks for any help.


Quirky Quercus
08-17-2005, 01:00 AM
Is it worth it for the native species?

Some benefits of using native trees that would apply to you are that natives are more adapted to your environment and it's pests. Don't need fertilizer or water. And especially in your case, they promote biodiversity. Native organisms depend on the native trees for food & shelter.

With that said, you still gotta put the right tree in the right place as they say so just because it's native doesn't automatically make it the best tree to use.

08-18-2005, 08:04 PM
Makes sense Taxodium!
So I think we'll revert to the original idea then of transplanting cedars from a meadow we have in the back of the North Woods. Then the state of Kentucky will give us free soft mass orchard trees to replant in that meadow, to attract wildlife.


09-01-2005, 12:19 AM
Hello to the group. I'm curious... Is it normal for one limb to die off like this low one did? (Check out the limb in question, above all the deer.)


(It had already died off before we built the barn.) This is a great champion Tulip Tree (Yellow) Poplar; we *reeeeeally* would rather not lose it.

Any advice?

By the way, great progress on the barn and the rest of the property. See the whole story at:



09-11-2005, 11:15 PM
Guidance on transplanting:
We've discussed our goal of transplanting trees where possible, to avoid the cost of buying new seedlings, while at the same time making use of more mature trees on our very same property which aren't perfectly positioned in their current locations.

Does anyone have recommendations for any existing webpages that might mentor us on the best practices for tree transplanting?

As mentioned above, we're especially interested in transplanting some 5' tall cedars to the edges of our property to use as screens. I'm most interested in knowing best time of year to transplant, depth of new location hole, etc.

Thanks again.

Quirky Quercus
09-12-2005, 10:11 AM
I'd go straight for American holly if you can get it or if it grows in your area. I assume that it does. Dark green leaves. Maybe some small red berries too.

09-12-2005, 10:49 PM
Hello Taxodium!
Are you sure the American Holly message was intended for me? If so, which question was it answering?

Yes we can get American Holly in our area. Did you perhaps intend those hollies as a screen (so ... maybe you were saying, don't mess around with transplanting the cedars?)???

Just wanting to understand before answering; :-)

09-21-2005, 10:11 PM
Just wondering out loud, again, Does anyone have recommendations for any existing webpages that might mentor us on the best practices for tree transplanting?

Quirky Quercus
09-23-2005, 08:41 AM
I think the rule of thumb is to take 1 foot for every inch in diameter but I'd take as much of the roots as I could. If you're not able to water them, do it during a time of the year when you're getting rain.

Cedars and hollies should transplant with pretty good success. I think I was suggesting to use holly in addition to whatever else you have for your screen. Just so it doesn't look like a screen.

09-24-2005, 01:44 PM
Cedars -- ok... so we should tackle this in October or Nov. then... Great! And the holly thing is a great idea. I'll try to find some on our property... and if not, maybe we can pick up a few as you've suggested. Thanks again!

It was a grand day yesterday when we had water on the property for the first time! Yahooo! :-)


Quirky Quercus
09-24-2005, 09:43 PM
I've already begun my fall planting. I'm going to have to water them though since from the looks of things I don't think it's ever going to rain here again. Ideally it might be better to wait 2 or 3 more weeks but the early bird gets the worm and I snatched up some hard to find trees while the nurseries have been virtually empty, no crowds. Great sales too.

09-28-2005, 11:37 PM
Well Taxodium, actually it works out great to wait two or three more weeks. It'll give me time to shop for a rental on one of those "tree spades"! Thanks!

PS. Took a group for a tour today. I enjoyed pointing out to them a box turtle, 4 deer, and a forest full of beautifully mighty trees, waiting for them to camp or hike in the near future.

10-04-2005, 07:22 PM
Hey doug, sorry I haven't been checking this thread lately... A bit late, but an answer: Yes, it's normal for lower branches to die off like that.

10-04-2005, 09:30 PM
saccharum, I'm *sooo* glad it's normal. I was so scared we had already harmed this tree! :-) It's so beautiful! :-)

So here we are in October now... and I'm thinking I should get on the stick and transplant some cedars... even if they're only trial balloons. I forget if I've already asked -- is there a perfect size tree to transplant? ... or ... If I can dig it, it will transplant?

Thanks for your feedback -- we appreciate you!

10-05-2005, 05:00 PM
Shoot, thanks! :oops: :)

Not sure I could say that there's a perfect size, but in term of the long-term good health and root structure: generally the smaller, the better. Because there's less root loss and root/shoot imbalance involved in the transplant, smaller trees will often outperform larger transplants in terms of survival, health, and growth - there have been a number of studies showing that very young transplants or seed-grown trees will often end up growing larger than older transplants within a few years, when planted at the same time.

The only downside to starting small is that it's a test of patience and foresight :wink:

...oh yeah, and they can be more vulnerable to herbivores and such.

Quirky Quercus
10-05-2005, 09:01 PM
Plus, young red cedars and white cedars are adorable and cuddly. :lol:

10-15-2005, 09:36 AM
fascinating! OK... we'll start with the medium-sized small ones then. This is the perfect time, too. We're on it! :-) Thanks for the interesting responses! :-)

10-19-2005, 10:43 PM
Hello to the group. I was wondering... in one particular area of the property, we're looking at the prospects of planting cedar trees on a bank between the "Great Lawn" and a parking area. This bank could easily be a 30% grade. Is there anything wrong with planting young cedars on that kind of slant? I assume we go ahead and point them straight up, even though that will mean the root ball will be planted on an angle (compared to its original orientation). Anything special we should know about transplanting these trees in at an angle like that?

Thanks for any help you might give...


Quirky Quercus
10-20-2005, 09:30 AM
I don't see any reason why not but as far as how to plant on a slope, one side of the rootball should be even with the ground (or slightly above) on the higher side of the hill and the rootball will be exposed on the lower side of the hill which you can lightly cover with some soil but don't bury the whole rootball.

Either the first one or the third one in this illustration.

10-25-2005, 07:36 PM
Whoa... that's pretty radical, Dude! :-) Hey.... thanks for the illustrations, too. I never would have guessed this. Again, thanks for taking time to respond. We'll follow your instructions.

By the way-- anyone know? -- when clumping together cedar trees during replanting, should they be separated by about 10' each, to allow for future growth? Or can we bunch them closer -- to hopefully form a kind of tall hedge... like .. as close as 6 or 8'? Is there an ideal width to allow for adequate root/water absorption while still maintaining the screen?

Thanks again for any help anyone can offer


11-14-2005, 09:34 PM
Just wondering... in preparation for our cedar tree transplanting.. when clumping together cedar trees during transplanting, should they be separated by about 10' each, to allow for future growth? Or can we bunch them closer -- to hopefully form a kind of tall hedge... like .. as close as 6 or 8'? Is there an ideal width to allow for adequate root/water absorption while still maintaining the screen?

Thanks again for any help anyone can offer

11-28-2005, 10:12 PM
If you get a chance, check out the beautiful tree scenes on our 61-acre campus at:

We're making step-by-step incremental progress... Hope to hook up the GeoThermal heating in the barn on Thursday. We hope that by heating with "earth-heat" we'll be kinder and gentler to the environment.

Quirky Quercus
11-29-2005, 01:03 PM
Did you take those aerial photos towards the end with the genie lift? They look really good!

Me thinks a covered bridge would be cool over the culvert. What do you say?

12-01-2005, 10:23 PM
Whoa... I never even dreamed of a covered bridge there before. What a grand idea! That's why I love this forum! :-)

So... I'm stymied over how to start. Unless you have a favorite site to tell me about covered bridges, I'll just have to start from scratch, studying them on the Internet ... to get some kind of design going in my head.

Thanks again!

PS. Anybody have a favorite "How to build a covered bridge" site? :-)

12-01-2005, 10:28 PM
On Monday, the bulldozer guy comes to try to make this site...

look more like a "Great Lawn" that could work for a football field or soccer field. He's suggesting we'll be able to plant winter wheat after he's done and that it'll still grow in Louisville over the winter. Does anyone have any experience with winter wheat? Will it still grow this late? With the field being just barely crowned enough to drain, when he's done, it shouldn't wash... but if there's no ground cover throughout the winter, it sure won't be a pretty sight. :-)


Quirky Quercus
12-02-2005, 12:31 PM
I can't imagine it would be too hard to find a book showing the covered bridges of Vermont or NH, where they are common. Maybe that will give you some ideas but I can't imagine it would be too terribly difficult since the ground is already there. It's not like it had to hold any weight.

As for the winter lawn, unless you absolutely need to have an athletic field in the winter... that stuff might grow but whether it will germinate is the question. If it were me, I'd spend some time preparing the site so that it's perfect and you can dormant-seed with a grass type or a mixture that is suitable for the kind of traffic that playing fields have. Most likely where you are, that would involve a cool season grass that looks the nicest and grows best during the cooler months but needs a lot of water in the warmer months or it will turn brown and go dormant. This is the kind of project where you can excite a lot of people on a lawn care forum and get a lot of more detailed advice about what's best for your area.

The risk associated with planting a temporary ground cover is that sometimes there's a lot of weed seed in there and you'd have that to contend with once you want to plant your permanent ground cover.

12-04-2005, 09:52 PM
OK... I'll go to work looking for model covered bridges. Do you think we'll be able to capture the "look and feel" even though the bridge surface will be gravel rather than a wooden deck?

On the ground cover, I'm being told that nothing will grow now that it's winter. I was just looking for something to hold the soil so it wouldn't wash and/or look unsightly. You're right about weeds though. :-( Rats. It's a lose-lose situation. :-) I *think* it might be worth the chance to plant winter wheat though, right?... if for no other reason than to keep winter rains from creating ruts?

Quirky Quercus
12-04-2005, 11:21 PM
Maybe just putting mulch down would be a quick fix.

As for the bridge, I think a scaled down mini version of a New England bridge would be ree-hee-heally cool regardless of whether the ground is gravel or not. But why can't you build a deck there anyway? Maybe embedded RR ties or something like that will work.

Found a cool website for ya.

No need to buy a book.

I like the style that has some openings at the side walls, so you can see through it. Look at the "chiselville" one to see what I'm talking about.

When you get done building that, do you have somewhere to put a water wheel?
See this site for some inspiration...

There's a bunch of these old water wheels near me and I love them. Especially when they have a dilapidated old cabin nestled in the shady woods.

12-05-2005, 12:12 AM
You've sold me on the covered bridge. If not here, then in another spot we have... (I'll get a picture of it and show it here later.) Great site you found... and the water wheel would indeed add a lot. We'll try to build it into the master plan right here on the very site pictured above. (We're calling this stream "Indian Creek".) Great input... *Exactly* the kind for which we're looking.

Mulch.. .Yikes... but it's 50 yards by 100 yards. That's a lot of mulch. :-)


12-18-2005, 05:33 PM
Here's a question about a picnic pavilion we're building. See our plan at:

Now here's the question: If you were going to build this pavilion (25'x50'), would you suggest a preengineered metal building, so we damage fewer trees? ... or would you suggest a treated wood design so it has the rich look of the forest? What's the current thinking on this?

Thanks and forgive my ignorance for asking these basic questions. Just trying to get the big picture and I'm convinced this is the best place.


12-25-2005, 11:02 PM
Get this... for Christmas, the team of workers that I lead (about 25 staff in our International Services division) purchased for me a $120 gift certificate for Lied Lodge and Arbor Day Farm... So I guess I can hopefully stay over night in the lodge, and even take in the "Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure." (Eager to learn what that is, exactly. :-) ) I understand there's a "Lied Greenhouse" (free tree! :-) ), a simulated forest in the Woodland Pavilion, and even hike the Treehouse Trail.

I'll admit that, with my interest, I'm probably just as eager as anything to take a tour of the Lied Lodge & Conference Center (as you can imagine). As one might expect, apparently they've got quite a sustainable design going on there.

Anybody done all that? Am I right that I should wait 'til like... March? ... to get the most out of it? I'm kind of eager to apply whatever I learn to the planning of our Center... so I'd love to go sooner rather than later.

Thanks for any insight from those who have been there.


Quirky Quercus
12-26-2005, 11:00 AM
Sounds like a lot of fun.

Regarding the pavillion, the lumber you buy comes from trees that are grown specifically for lumber or cleared land from development. If that's what you meant. Sure it's not good to waste lumber but I don't think metal is in infinite supply either.

12-26-2005, 07:14 PM
So sounds like lumber is the best bet. Thanks for the insight. So now I'm on a quest for a great design for a 25'x50' picnic pavilion that shows off the lumber and looks creative. If anybody ever sees a website with choices, I'll be googling! :-)


12-28-2005, 11:00 PM
I'm loving this Cedar Forest Products company that I found in IL. Check out their webpage at:

I'm thinking we go with the 24x52 Standard Low Pitch Beam Shelter at:

What do you think?

01-07-2006, 09:55 PM
OK... I'm noticing again how thick our "North Woods" is (like a cedar grove or even cedar *thicket*). Do I need to go back and get professional advice from a forester about which trees to "ring" or selectively kill off? ... or can I just pick myself? Do I basically just look for the biggest and tallest cedars, then ring the bark off the competitors? Tell me the truth if I'm better off asking the forester to come in.

By the way, check out our new website about the property, if you get a chance, by clicking to:

01-08-2006, 03:25 PM
I'm not a forester, but I'd wing it myself...

I'd bring in professional help only if something became really critical - specifically, where the trees could fall and damage something. Middle of a thick woods, though, I'd definitely pick and choose myself.

I say this with the complete confidence of one who is letting natural selection choose what stands and falls in my own woods. At some point, I'll start thinning some of the oaks, but for the most part they seem to be self-selecting fairly well.

01-08-2006, 10:17 PM
Natural selection -- so, ellyssian, you're not bothered that some of the cedars might not be reaching peak growth, because they're too thick? You'd just let them continue as a thicket? Just trying to understand the best approach to forestry health here. Eariler in the thread, we battled the idea of logging, and based on advice given here, decided against it bsaed on the "look and feel" that it would suggest on our retreat center property for the next couple of years. But just leaving them standing as "den trees" by taking out a ring of bark seemed less severe, right?

01-08-2006, 11:00 PM
In my case, they're not too thick... at least not the larger ones. I am actively hacking out new oak and red maple - there's always three or four much larger trees within arms reach. If I felt they were not battling it out on an even keel - or, perhaps, that an exceptionally good specimen was in danger - that's when I would personally get involved.

If I was in you're situation, I might choose to thin out cedars that are too small, leaving the healthier ones to continue to grow that way. If two were in equal straits, I'd probably leave them to duke it out.

01-10-2006, 09:20 AM
Another thing to consider: although a particular area might have some struggling trees, other plants and creatures might be flourishing there.

01-21-2006, 12:13 AM
You make some great points . . . Enough to make me re-think whether or not it's actually advisable to "ring" those cedars. Thanks.

Please do stop by our site as we continue to develop the 61 acres. We'd love to hear advice if you see a practice headed off in the wrong direction, unintentionally. Just browse to:




01-28-2006, 10:25 PM
By the way, just wanted to make sure you all knew you were invited to the dedication of our first building on the property, the Freedom Barn. For more information, see:

It's scheduled for Feb. 18th at 1pm. During the build-up of the campus, the Freedom Barn will serve as:

Rustic Retreat Center
Staging Center
Training Center
Rallying Point in Bad Weather
Construction office

It's fun to finally have a place to get in out of the weather.

02-14-2006, 09:00 PM
As we head toward the dedication of our first building at Emerald Hills (the Freedom Barn -- this Saturday at 1pm), we're trying to do everything we can to spruce up the place. This little ornamental tree set us back $250, but the goal was to plant something that wouldn't outgrow the entrance in a couple of years. Hope it works well!


03-19-2006, 10:28 PM
I'm *sooooo* looking forward to visiting Arbor Day Farm, Lied Lodge & Conference Center (I'll be staying there one week from tonight), and "The Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure". (OK... I admit that some people think I'm like a kid about this, looking forward to it... but hey... the folks in the office got me this trip, including a night's stay in the lodge, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Plus -- I'm hoping to learn all kinds of things (on the tours) that I can put to use back at our 61-acre Learning Center.

In other news... the lumber package for our first outdoor pavilion arrives Tuesday. We opted for the Cedar Forest Products package:
http://www.cedarforestproducts.com/lowpitchbeam.html, of the Standard Low Pitch Beam Shelter style, in a 24' x 36' configuration. We'll hope to add a fireplace/chimney on one end.

Wish us luck laying it out tomorrow, digging footers for it on Tuesday.

We'd like to use http://www.kvoindustries.com for the signage expaining our Cause.

God bless your day!

04-14-2006, 01:52 AM
Well I'm sorry to report that... on the Monday I was supposed to visit Arbor Day, it snowed like a foot deep in Nebraska! So I bowed out a couple of days ahead of time. Figured I should wait 'til the leaves came out anyway. (I'll report back when I go.)

In other news... In our continuing efforts to bring the people to the trees at our Emerald Hills Prayer, Retreat, and Learning Center, we've devised a plan whereby we'll be setting up some 29 "Prayer Shelters" along what will eventually be about 7 miles of walking (prayer) trails. Check out the full proposal at:


Thanks for any input you can offer!

04-21-2006, 10:28 PM
Received (finally) the building permit for the Prayer Pavilion today. See the parts in some pictures at:


Also, we've decided to use gazebos from:


We hope to order, by June 26th, literally 28 of their 10' gazebos, as rest stops (useful for prayer and meditation areas) along our 7 miles of trails. I guess that would mean we might have a gazebo positioned every 500-1000 feet. We'll use simple 10' vinyl gazebos, laebling each one and creating a special landscaped enrivonment throughout the entire 61 acres. We hope to use tablet computers for each pair of visitors along our prayer trails.

Thanks for any input you might have to offer.


11-07-2006, 01:08 AM
Just FYI... finally made time to get back out to ArborDay Farm. I'll leave early tomorrow morning. Looking forward to seeing the Lied Lodge, the barns, the Timber Bridge, the Apple Orchard, Lied Greenhouse, ... the works. Thanks again to my office staff back in Louisville for getting me this very special opportunity as my 2005 Christmas gift.

Plans are still progresing for our 61-acre Learning Center. We have about $250,000 raised for it so far. So about 1/3 done with fund-raising for the first major building -- the Prayer Center. The first Prayer Pavilion is all but done. The first Prayer Shelter goes up November 20th with the help of a local church from West Chester, OH.

We have a full-time Facility Manager on staff now. He'll be heading up our actual building efforts as well as maintenance of the forest and the center.

As for answers to our questions about trees & landscaping, we'll hope to continue to count on Arbor Day Foundation and our friends here on the Message Board. Thanks again for all the help.


11-07-2006, 11:44 PM
It's fun tonight to stay in the Lied Lodge. Tomorrow I'll try to cover Arbor Day Farm. Went for a walk along Timber Bridge Trail tonight at 10pm. It was awesome. More tomorrow.

11-11-2006, 02:51 AM
I just read a portion of the opening post, and also see that this is an older thread.

Did the person who looked at your forest, ever talk to you about leaving CWD (coarse woody debris) in the wooded area to benefit the area and add to the forest nature of it?

That's if space allows, but it sounds like you have space.

There is a lot of info on the internet about coarse woody debris. I put several comments about it on this page here, about half way down...


I bolded some words, so the section should be noticeable if you don't have time for the whole page and need to scroll.

But if you remove some trees, there can be good benefits to dropping and leaving the logs. Even planting in and around them.

11-13-2006, 09:15 PM
Thanks for the response, M.D. Yes, she did in fact tell us about trees for wildlife, mulch, and more. So that's the approach we've been taking. But your page provided *soooo* much more detail on this topic. Thanks.

By the way, I had a great time at Arbor Day Farm. See my post and all the photos at:


I like the differentiation -- trees are renewable... but forests aren't -- in a lifetime, anyway. Great stuff.