On Saturday, June 22, Oakes Investment LLC hosted a Neighbor
to Neighbor tour to celebrate its selection as the 2018 Oregon Tree Farmer of
the Year. We had the opportunity to see what the Carr-Oakes family has been up
to on their tree farm over the past year.
We took a drive along the excellent forest roads where we
had the opportunity to get a sense of the past history of farming with sheep,
goats and pigs in the early 1900’s. Their new acquisition of an adjacent 227
acres has diversified their age class of trees (12 years old) to allow for the
younger generation of the family to have stands they can manage and
harvest. We took a look at a 16 acre
site logged in 2018 that yielded almost 1 million board feet. Some of these
logs were sent to Hull-Oakes because they were over 28” diameter, but at only
about an 11% lower price, with a shorter haul.
Family members from three generations showed us a planting
site where each of the six families took responsibility for planting a section.
They emphasized how important it was to build a sense of individual ownership
by allowing each family member to participate in their own way, whether making
signs, encouraging wildlife, marking, thinning or logging.
A walk along “Kayla’s Trail” led us to a small pond where
Kayla has worked to enhance the population of red-legged frogs and has
introduced Oregon chub with the help of Oregon Dept of Fish & Wildlife.
Kayla shared her enthusiasm for this small native minnow that was listed as
endangered in Oregon in 1993 and then, in 2015, became the first fish to be successfully
We visited a Douglas fir stand with Mike Cloughesy from
Oregon Forest Resources Institute (the sponsor of the tour). Mike led an
informative discussion of how to assess the condition of the stand and its need
for thinning. He showed us how to use the stand density table developed by OSU
Extension (EM9206 June 2018) to determine the level of crowding and competition
in a stand of trees and determine when to thin the stand.
Marsha Carr, one of the six children of Don and Donna Oakes,
was active in the Benton Co Chapter prior to her passing in September 2018.
Marsha developed their forest management plan and endeavored to bring all four
generations of her family together around management of their forest land. It
was clear to me that Marsha’s legacy lives on in the Carr-Oakes Family and
Benton County Chapter has revived our popular “discussion group tours” or
“twilight tours” where we visit each other’s properties and discuss forest
management ideas. It’s an opportunity to see what/how others are doing things,
show off our accomplishments, make suggestions, ask questions, discuss issues
and problems and just have a general learning experience. No formal agenda,
just sort of an in-the-woods discussion session.
the morning of March 30th, the discussion group visited my place. We
have about 285 acres on the Marys River in Wren, where we have lived for about
35 years. Our land is a mixture of conifer forest, oak woodland and prairie. We
have planted thousands of western red cedar and Douglas fir over the years –
that now need some serious thinning. We took a look at a few of these stands
and discussed whether it was time to thin the 20-30 year old western red cedar
stands, why some of our Douglas firs are dying, whether to thin an older stand
of grand fir and how to approach thinning our mixed hardwood/fir stands. We
came away from the discussion with some great input and ideas.
western red cedars display a fair bit of variability in diameter within the
stand that was planted on a 10-12’ spacing, but with a number of older fir and
oak trees scattered throughout, retained from a harvest about 50 years ago. We
cored a couple of the trees to get a sense of whether some had slowed in their
growth, but found that the annual growth was relatively consistent and did not
show any recent slow-down. We discussed how cedar, with its greater shade
tolerance, was able to sustain growth without thinning for longer than fir.
However, it was suggested that the rate of growth might increase if we thinned.
It was also suggested that unless we have a specific market or need for the
cedar, we might want to leave it for now or do a test area and see if we
observe any increase in growth rate.
looked at an area where 40-50 year old Doug firs are dying, particularly along
the outer edges of stands. It was theorized that because the soils are
relatively wet and of higher clay content, the firs don’t extend their roots
very deeply. Then, when there is even a short droughty period, the trees are
more likely to experience stress.
we were walking through the forest, one of the participants with a forest
pathology background noticed a needle fungus on our Douglas firs. He identified
the fungus as Rhizoctoniabutinii, and the disease as web blight.
The hyphal threads grow from needle to needle, on the outside of the needles,
webbing them together. It is apparently native to our area, widespread but not
really common. Some years it is more visible than others, but even in a bad
year it doesn’t do much beyond a little growth loss. Sometimes it ruins the
appearance of Christmas trees.
rounded out the tour with a visit to an older established stand dominated by
Grand fir and located on a bench high above the Marys River. The tree spacing
is irregular but dense and the trees appear healthy. We discussed whether it
would make sense to thin the stand. We learned something from one of the tour
participants – that Grand fir have notably thin bark and that retained trees
are easily damaged during a thinning operation. It was suggested that it might
be best just to leave this stand alone.
next “twilight tour” will be hosted by Sarah and Ken Edwardsson in the evening on
Friday, August 23rd(see
Schedule of Upcoming Events). Sarah & Ken have been actively logging to
improve their oak woodlands, so it should be another interesting event. Bring
your own drinks and snacks, if you wish, and dress for the weather.
of the “twilight tours” are sent to BCSWA members via email and are posted on
our Chapter page of the OSWA.org website. If you know of other landowners,
family members or anyone else who would be interested, or would benefit from
this event, by all means, invite them along.
Thank you to Mark and his wife for sharing their time and knowledge today. I learned about OSWA at their open house, realized how much I have to learn, met a number of friendly sharing members, so joined OSWA tonight. My journey commences.