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#3063432 - 12/04/12 04:23 PM Re: Beech trees [Re: BSK]
6 Point

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 863
Loc: Savannah, TN

BSK, you have me alittle worried. I hunt a friends place that was just thinned with some large beeches and quite a few beeches in the understory. I believe I have many hack and squirt days ahead in my future helping him out.
#3064996 - 12/05/12 03:57 PM Re: Beech trees [Re: primos32]
4 Point

Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 284
Loc: Berks County, PA

I guess when someone (who is considering planting Am. Beech trees) asks if Beech benefits wildlife, and then gets the answer “you don’t want Beeches, they are the scourge of deer hunters”, it comes across as an interesting response.

I know at least in PA, in regions with northern hardwoods type forest (beech-cherry-maple-birch, and no oaks), the Beechnuts are really the only mast available to deer. Even when oaks are prevalent, Beech offers diversity. Swampster says acorns are scarce in his area, so for him to plant beech seems like a good idea to me.

By BSK: I have places on my property, even underneath 80+ year-old complete canopy white oak forests, where 80+% of of the understory is small beeches. Not only will this prevent an oak forest from regenerating if I thin the oaks, but the leaves of the beech saplings block what would normally be long-distance vision in fall. Some of these big mature hardwood forests should produce 100+ yard views after leaf-fall, but the beech hold visual ranges (at treestand height) to about 15 yards.

I guess I would disagree here also.

I don’t believe long sightlines should be present in saw timber (younger pole timber yes, but not older saw timber), but this may be regional or site-specific too. Studies show that saw timber alone can support 40-50 dpfsm overwinter, which means that where these studies were done there must have been a shrub layer limiting views in 80+ old forest.

I cringe every time I see TV hunts with hunters/managers touting their “good resource management” when meanwhile the forest has no understory to speak of and field edges are lined with obvious browselines.

I have a question, is prescribed fire legal in Tennessee? It would seem to me that fire would encourage oak regen especially over beech. Fire is only starting to be used in PA.

#3065029 - 12/05/12 04:36 PM Re: Beech trees [Re: grundsow]
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind

Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65979
Loc: Nashville, TN


Deer will eat beechnuts, but not as a high-priority food. In addition, beechnuts are so small that it would take a huge number of beechnuts to feed deer--far more than the trees can produce. Beechnuts are valuable for other wildlife though, especially turkey. I've seen killed turkeys with crops full of beechnuts.

From a deer "food budget" viewpoint, I don't even consider acorns. They are a very high-value food source in fall, but acorn production can be very "iffy." I do all my winter food budget calculations using only natural browse, and consider acorn production just a "super bonus" food source when they exist.

As you mentioned diversity in habitat is the key, and I do want some of a property in long-visual-range, open-understory mature hardwoods. Visual ranges in these big oak stands can be amazing--well over a 100 yards in the most mature stands. Now I certainly don't want all or a majority of a hardwood property in this habitat, but having some is a good idea.

I want some of a property to look like this. But also notice in this picture the trees with the tan leaves. Those are all young beeches, and this is probably the lowest density of beeches I have anywhere on my property. In many locations, they completely dominate the understory:

Unfortunately, anywhere where sunlight can get under the canopy, especially where timber has been thinned or removed on a hillside, the sun can get under the canopy of the timber on the ridge-top, and beeches rapidly dominate, greatly reducing visibility. One of the habitat tactics I like to use is to create thick bedding cover along steep hillsides, but to leave the mature oaks standing on the ridge-tops. This can draw deer up from their hillside beeding areas to feed on acorns along the ridge-tops, increasing harvestability. But the beech growth eventually chokes out all visibility on those ridge-tops bordered by hillside timber cuttings.

But again, whether or not to recommend someone plant beeches who has NO beeches is very different than promoting beech in a hardwood environment. They absolutely can become a problem over time. Their shade tolerance eventually allows them to serious interfer with oak regeneration in hardwood thinnings and can cut hunting visibility to very short ranges.
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

#3066324 - 12/06/12 02:12 PM Re: Beech trees [Re: BSK]

Registered: 12/05/03
Posts: 27878
Loc: TN

IMO Beech trees are just eating for free and I cut every one i get a chance to.
#3066335 - 12/06/12 02:22 PM Re: Beech trees [Re: Winchester]
diamond hunter
6 Point

Registered: 09/16/12
Posts: 927
Loc: Goodlettsville Tennessee USA

Im in there like a hair in a biscuit.
John Hancock,diamond hunter

#3066343 - 12/06/12 02:28 PM Re: Beech trees [Re: Winchester]
8 Point

Registered: 02/09/05
Posts: 1802
Loc: Hickman County, TN

Beech understory is a problem on a good percentage of my mature woodlands also. Unless you climb 30' or higher (which I'm not going to do - I get weak-kneed over 15-18') so you can see over and down through the understory, visibility is limited to 30 yards or less in some of my favorite areas. Basically, take the picture BSK posted and triple or quadruple the beech density and you end up with pretty small and short distance shooting opportunities. I hope to find the time around spring green up to go in with a chainsaw and cut at least some lanes through them from some of my stand sites.
#3066349 - 12/06/12 02:36 PM Re: Beech trees [Re: Winchester]
Football Hunter

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 25536
Loc: Wilson Co/Perry Co

 Originally Posted By: Winchester
IMO Beech trees are just eating for free and I cut every one i get a chance to.
me too,in fact I cut 3 or 4 today
The best day to plant a tree,IS TODAY!

You wont know,if you dont go!

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