Planting and Caring for Watershed Trees

Planting and Caring for Watershed Trees

The Best Methods of Setting Out the Trees—The Weevil Pest— Should the Cost Be Charged to Capital or to Expense Account?

THE care of the forests of the watershed is a vital problem that many water works have to face. The planting and maintenance of the trees, the guarding them from pests and disease, and the proper cutting and thinning are all questions which require knowledge and judgment. Mr. Bristol has given the subject much study and the facts he presents will be found of considerable interest to water works superintendents who have watersheds to care for:

Theodore L. Bristol, President, Ansonia Water Co.

The story of the Ansonia Water Company’s forestation is about as follows: In 1904, we consulted the Yale School of Forestry. A preliminary report was made which suggested that we have a careful survey made and working plans prepared. Professor R. C. Hawley was engaged to furnish the working plans which he did in 1909. This covered the following items:

Area covered.

Classification of lands.

A forest map.

Estimate of the standing wood.

Estimated annual growth.

Plan of management covering treatment by types.

  1. Mixed hardwood types.
  2. Old field types.
  3. White pine and chestnut plantation.
  4. Farmland.

Work advised for the next 10 years.


Financial returns from forest management.

Methods Adopted in Planting

Our property consists of over 2,000 acres, some wooded, some pasture, some brush, some meadow and some swamp land. The brush and pasture land were planted first, then the poorer meadows. The planting was done 6 ft. by 6 ft., that is. the rows are 6 ft. apart and the plants 6 ft. apart in the row, using about 1,200 plants per acre. The spaces where the brush was too thick, we skipped, planting only the open spaces.

The first planting was done in 1906 using two year white pine seedlings. From 1906 to 1914 inclusive, a total of 227,107 white pine seedlings or transplants were set out, practically all three years old. In 1914, we began planting red pine using three years seedlings or transplants, preferring the transplants, and have planted to 1924 inclusive 104,145 red pine.

In 1915, we planted 26.090 white pine three year transplants, the last of same we had grown in our own nursery. Our experience with our own nursery was not satisfactory, although we think a nursery can be run successfully by some one who knows how. Our total production in our nursery was about 100,000 white pine seedlings and transplants.

In all, we planted 253,197 white pine and 104,145 red pine, a total of 357,342, and 43,478 of these were replants because of failures or burns which reduces our total to 313,864 plants.

Trouble with the Weevil Pest

The reason for change from white pine to red pine was the damage done to the white pine by the weevil which began to infect our trees of this variety in 1913. For several years we tried to eliminate the weevil by cutting off the infected leaders and burning them, but have quit after spending over $800 for this purpose. As yet no white pine blister rust has appeared.

In 1908 and 1909 we planted chestnuts and chestnut seedlings but the blight has killed the original plants. Sprouts have grown from these but after a few years these are in turn infected and die. Our total investment in forestation is $5,046.98 which indicates a cost per M. of $16.08 or $19.30 per acre.

Protecting Roots from Air and Keeping Moist

We found it very necessary to be sure that the roots of the plants were kept moist and that planting was done in such a way that no air could reach the roots and that grass should be removed so as not to shade the plants. Our experience has been that about 60 per cent, of the trees planted are living at the present time.

I have recently received a pamphlet entitled, “Early Developments of White and Red Pine Plantations,” by Prof. R. C. Hawley, of the Yale School of Forestry. This is a reprint from the Journal of Forestry, March, 1924, and describes the experience of the New Haven Water Company of New Haven, Conn., with plantation of about 2,000 acres. It is very interesting.

Whether Charged to Capital or Expense Account

The question whether the cost of forestation should be charged to capital or expense account presents a problem that is worth considering. It is a comparatively new problem for public water supply systems. It seems that forestation could be considered a capital expenditure because it is an improvement to property, the same as a building or any other works with this difference, that its value should increase rather than decrease.

(Continued on page 392)

“The question whether the cost of forestation should be charged to capital or expense account presents a problem that is worth considering. It is a comparatively new problem for public water supply systems. I should like to hear what others of your readers have to say on this subject.”

Planting and Caring for Watershed Trees

(Continued from page 368)

White or red pine has been planted in the majority of cases at an outlay of say $20 per acre including stock, labor, etc. If the estimates of foresters are correct, this should be worth in 50 years $200 per acre, estimating a yield of 25,000 bd. ft. per acre, worth $8 per M. bd. ft. If history repeats itself it is very probable that white or red pine trees or stumpage as it is called by lumbermen, will bring more than $8 per M. bd. ft. standing 50 years from the time it is planted.

Planting and Cutting Certain Area per Year

The usual practice is to plant a certain area per year; also at maturity to cut a certain area per year, leaving seed trees enough to restock the cut-over land. Suppose that 500 acres is planted over a period of 50 years at the rate of 10 acres per year. The investment at a cost of $20 per acre would amount to $10,000. The annual growth would approximate 500 bd. ft. per acre planted. At the end of 50 years if nothing had been cut or destroyed by fires or disease, the approximate amount of bd. ft. including that large enough to cut and that not large enough to cut, would be half of 25,000 ft. per acre or 12,500 ft. per acre, which has a potential value at $8 per M. bd. ft. or $100 per acre or a total of $50,000.

The question whether cost should be charged to capital account or expense account is debatable. I should like to hear what others of your readers have to say on this subject.

(Excerpts from paper read before the January meeting of the New England Water Works Association.)

No posts to display