Author Topic: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?  (Read 2281 times)

webguy

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My wife and I are considering a property that sits on a 2 acre lot of which a good chunk is wooded.  I'm interested in hearing any pros and cons from mustachians who have experience living on a heavily wooded lot.

1) How much upkeep is involved (sticks, leaves, gutters, etc)?
2) How bad are the bugs - any way to mitigate them?
3) Do the pros outweigh the cons? Do you like living on a wooded lot?
4) Any advice?

We love the privacy aspect, and once I'm FIREd I think I'd enjoy the outdoor work involved in upkeeping things, but currently I'm working a lot and don't envision having a lot of spare time for a few more years.

I've attached a couple of pictures in case it's helpful at all.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Syonyk

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2017, 10:04:17 PM »
I can't speak to living on a heavily wooded lot (I can't afford the power to pump the water to irrigate my property well enough for that), but I have several friends who do.

Get a good chainsaw.  Not a cheap chainsaw.  Not a 1970s 70lb monster.  A good, modern chainsaw.  You'll need it.

Get a wood stove, if you don't have one.  Heating with wood from your own property is cheap.

And then build some covered areas to season your wood.
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teen persuasion

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2017, 06:32:16 AM »
Picking up fallen sticks and branches is constant - so you can mow, before you back out of the driveway, etc.

What is the area under the trees like - will you mow it?  Is there enough leaf mold to keep undergrowth down?  This time of year, you can see/walk thru our wooded fringes, but come Spring the raspberry canes and goldenrod pop up and make it largely impassable.  Mowing can be difficult with close trees and bumpy roots.

Don't park under trees - we had a freak straight line wind storm blow thru almost 20 years ago.  A huge branch split off the silver maple out front (really half the tree) and lay across the hood of our car, pressing the bumper to the ground.  The willow tree in a side yard fell toward the house, so that the flexible branches were splayed against our children's window (not broken, amazingly), and the trunk was across our tenants' driveway - thankfully, they weren't home, or their new car would have been crushed.  DH and a friend spent all day with chainsaws, and cut enough off the branch on our car to be able to roll it off.  The car bounced back up off the ground w/o the weight, and DH could drive it - to a dealer to trade it in.

Ice storms create more risk of tree damage.  Tips of branches tend to snap under the weight of the ice.

What types of trees are they?  Some are more sturdy, some more weedy or weak.  Some, like black walnuts, drop nuts/etc that need to be cleaned up.  Black walnut husks stain, and the tree roots put out a toxin that inhibits other plant growth (so could affect a proposed garden, for instance).

Now, don't get me wrong, I love our trees, and couldn't live on a moonscape treeless lot.  The shade in summer is welcome, and they are beautiful.  Just wanted to mention the things I've learned from experience.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2017, 06:34:19 AM by teen persuasion »

Heroes821

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2017, 06:38:01 AM »
I grew up in a similar yard in Northeast Ohio so similar to Minnesota.  I think Teen said it really well, but try to stop tall or long branches from being too close to the house. Be ready to mulch or rake a ton in the fall.  Cold winters will drop big branches, but all of that will lead to very cheap alternative heating and cooking. 

Plus the shade is great and lets you enjoy your yard in the non winter months.  Also the chainsaw advice is spot on.

SomedayStache

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2017, 07:46:37 AM »
If you replace that gorgeous house with a solid but shabby 1970s ranch you could have taken pictures of my wooded 2 acres.

So for recommendations:

Good chainsaw!  Also might want to know a few tree trimmers numbers to keep handy if there are bigger limbs or trees that need to be felled that are out of your comfort zone.  Getting a tutorial or a bit of training on how to properly chop down a tree could save you lots of time and money in the future if that's something you are comfortable learning.

Mowing under all those trees is a bitch of an obstacle course.  Looks like you might have a nice 'lawn' area segmented already and can mostly let the undergrowth go under the trees.

Bugs.  Yep, they are bad.  Snakes too.  I'd create a cleared area around the house that you can maintain as a buffer zone.

We love our trees.  A tornado a few years back knocked down about 30 and created a clearing.   I miss them, but my husband now uses the spot for gardening and it ended up saving us the effort of chopping them down ourselves to create a garden area.

We live sort of in the country, so no HOAs or neighbors to complain.  If we had to maintain a manicured lawn and keep it clear of leaves and make it always look pretty that would be a nightmare.  And probably require a paid landscaper!

spokey doke

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2017, 08:19:11 AM »
I think you've got the basic picture from the posts above...so I think a lot rides on your standards of tidiness and functionality, and what you are willing to do to maintain those standards.  This is particularly true for the lawn, but also for the functioning of the gutters.  Upkeep costs in either time and labor (may be yours or others), and/or equipment (not just a saw, but mower, and leaf gear).

Those second story gutters can be pretty scary, too.

« Last Edit: March 01, 2017, 08:21:53 AM by spokey doke »
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lthenderson

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2017, 08:24:09 AM »
I live on a two acre lots that has just as many trees. Yes get a good chainsaw and also a good pruner. I spend a couple days every late fall pruning trees back to provide room to mow underneath and also to remove dead bottom limbs. Our town allows me to burn the limbs two months out of the year so I pile them up and burn them during those months. Some towns don't allow this so you might have to consider a chipper or hauling them away. Be prepared to clean your gutters multiple times a year or spend some money on a good gutter guard system. I live in a ranch style home so I clean my gutters with a leaf blower. Takes me about 15 minutes about three times every year, early fall, mid fall, and early winter. If you have oak trees nearby that hang onto leaves much longer, count on another time in early spring. Get a good firepit or consider a wood burning fireplace. I have both and probably a ten year supply of firewood right now. Get a mower with a 10ga mower deck and mulching blade. I pick up any large branches but mulch the small ones into the lawn. I could pick up sticks for an hour every week and never keep up if I didn't do that. The drawback is I sharpen my blades several times during the summer.

Unlike a previous person stated, I don't think trees have anything to do with the amount of bugs flying or snakes slithering around. Compared to a 1/2 acre lot, you might have four times as many but that is a function of lot size and not due to the trees. Depending on where you live, you may have to battle woodpeckers who love trying out your siding. It was a constant battle until a few years ago when I put up cement siding and put metal soffits up instead of the painted wood ones I had. After that, they went back to the trees.

birdiegirl

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2017, 09:20:12 AM »
A lot of good suggestions in the previous posts.  Picking up sticks in the summer is never ending!  As far as the bugs go, I'm guessing your biggest concern is mosquitoes.  We have a pest control company come and spray our yard.  It makes a big difference in reducing the mosquitoes but unfortunately doesn't last the whole summer...although our lot backs up to a pond so I'm sure that makes it worse than it would be with just trees.

One thing I would recommend is to make sure to keep the trees trimmed back away from the roof.  When we moved into our house there was a tree very close to the house that had not been trimmed and the squirrels were using it as a walkway to the roof.  We'd never had a house with trees before so had no idea to even think about this....until they managed to get into the attic a few weeks after we moved in.     

Tree trimming has been the only significant expense for us. We have very tall cottonwoods and a few others kinds that are too high & too large to do ourselves.  I expect we'll have to hire tree trimmers to come out every 2-3 years to take care of those.   But again, this is probably only an issue if you have them close to the house. 

Mgmny

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2017, 01:43:53 PM »
Minnesota here as well:

I only live on a standard lot (.32 acres), but my lot has approximately 17 deciduous trees. This past fall (my first fall in the house), I was CONSTANTLY doing leaf duty. Like, I mean every chance I got I was raking, mowing, blowing, etc. Then, you need to do something with the leaves as well! Luckily for me, the waste dropoff center in my area is only like 5 minutes from my house, but still a TON of work. My next house is going to be coniferous all the way!

My in-laws have a similar looking yard, and my father in law owns a super powerful leaf blower and just blows all his leaves into the wooded area and then forgets about it.

Someone earlier mentioned chainsaw - my FIL seems to always be out in his woods chopping up fallen timber. I think he enjoys the work, but it's very time-consuming.

Dave1442397

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2017, 03:19:09 PM »
We have a lot of trees too. I find that a good cleanup in March every year takes care of all the sticks that fall over the winter.
 
We had a big section of a tree break off and clip the house back in 2006. It cost $2800 to have the tree taken down. I just had three more trees taken down last week, as they were just starting to fall apart and were overhanging the garage.

You might also want a backpack leaf blower. I did some research on a landscapers website and ended up buying a commercial RedMax blower, which has been worth every penny over the last fifteen years. It's also great for blow drying the cars after I wash them.



wonkette

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2017, 04:11:37 PM »
Many good suggestions! I will add, for mosquito control, consider a bat box. http://www.nwf.org/garden-for-wildlife/cover/build-a-bat-house.aspx

Rural

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2017, 04:21:26 PM »

 Why would you pick up sticks, assuming they're not large limbs blocking your driveway? Why would you have a lawn when you have trees – they would shade any grass anyway?


Serious questions here. Think about your assumptions – what do you actually want, what do you actually need to do, and what's just habit?


 For the record, we have 25 acres of old growth and absolutely no lawn, and it's totally fabulous except for the rare occasion when there's an oak tree across the driveway.

Fishindude

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2017, 09:49:13 AM »
My yard is very similar, quite a few large trees around the house.   Every spring before mowing begins I have a big day of picking up sticks that takes several hours.  Throw them in wagon behind mower then pile them up for a good fire.   After that, picking up sticks just becomes part of your routine, you see one laying there that is too big to mow, you toss it on the burn pile.  Sometimes have to get off the mower to pick them up too.

If you have walnuts, they are a pain in the rear and kind of messy.   Out in the yard, I just mow them, but up around house or in driveway we pick them up.   Also, any nut bearing trees will attract squirrels that will do their darnedest to try to invade your house and buildings.   Need to keep your house in good repair to prevent this and you may have to exterminate a few.

It's also not a bad idea to have a tree trimmer come in every five years or so and top any of the large trees close to the house or buildings.  This greatly reduces the amount of sticks falling and chances for a big limb to fall and damage your structures.  Big limbs do occasionally fall, but they don't hurt much out in the yard, we just throw them in the woods or burn them for firewood.

All in all, the beauty of the big trees, the shade and shelter that they provide and the birds and wildlife that go along with big trees make it worth the extra effort for me.

neo von retorch

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2017, 10:26:49 AM »
I saw a lot of the things I experience mentioned... lots of sticks, lots of leaves. Our grass still grows even with the leaves and shade, so we've got to clean it up. We have to blow leaves off our deck for a few months in the fall.

The biggest thing to consider are the types and variety of types of trees and which of those trees will actually affect structures, cars and, if it matters, lawn. Variety is why we kept dealing with leaves for so long - they all dropped them at different rates and periods of time. Another is sap - we have huge tulip poplars which drop sap for a solid 2-3 months starting in May, which makes our deck and cars in the driveway a big mess. (Our driveway situation is such that we either park on the street or deal with sap.) They also drop really big buds and spikes. Fortunately, no walnuts or osage oranges though! Our dogwoods are gorgeous for about 3 weeks in the spring... then the rest of the year they don't do much.

Woodpeckers love bugs, especially carpenter bees. So if you have any wood, the bees will find them, and then the woodpeckers will go drilling trying to get to the bees. When our house was inspected, they recommended spray, and the seller covered the cost of the first dose ($150.) But we're definitely considering doing it again. Woodpeckers have become pretty active in the past week, currently still just going after dead branches...

I currently have a tiny, wimpy battery-powered chainsaw. I've been trying to research what a "good" chain saw is, but it seems like anything short of a $400 Stihl has compromises. (I've always heavily researched the 5.0 Amp 56-volt Ego chainsaw with a 16" guide bar. Every time I come away thinking it's probably going to do the job, without all the noise and trouble of a gas guzzling traditional chain saw, I see a comment saying "it just doesn't have the power, Captain!" and I change my mind again.) My dad has an $800 Stihl with a 20" guide... but he's been using chain saws for 50+ years now. And this is only the third chain saw he's ever owned. (His 2nd one was a HomeLite that weighs about 25 lbs...)

So I'm really open to your opinions, advice, guidance and suggestions on what a "good" chain saw is!

slugline

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2017, 03:54:37 PM »
Pay close attention to the way the house and land slopes and drains. I have a rather ordinary quarter-acre lot but half of it is dominated by several large oaks. When they're in leaf-shedding season (right now), if I haven't been diligent in removing the leaves, they can pile up and create dams that prevent stormwater from draining away from the house.

Fireball

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2017, 06:04:09 PM »
"So I'm really open to your opinions, advice, guidance and suggestions on what a "good" chain saw is!"

Stihl is pretty much the gold standard for your everyday needs, but a Husqvarna is also a great saw. A 16" bar is a good all around size.

marty998

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2017, 07:40:33 PM »
- Be vigilant about termites
- Cut overhanging branches that might do damage to your roof
- Clean your gutters regularly
- Don't play with matches (goes without saying)
- Watch out for tree roots that will damage your water/sewer pipes

OthalaFehu

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2017, 08:41:57 PM »
I have to set the boyos on a 'stick run' every week before I mow. I have to mulch and bag leaves every couples of days for a couple of weeks in fall. I have to spray for mosquitoes 4 times a summer or I can't go outside. Still I like my wooded lot.
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Poundwise

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2017, 06:40:27 AM »
Another vote for good quality gutter guards. I like the Easy On gutter guards available through Costco. We have had them for two years and they are great!!

We have a mulching mower, on the theory that we won't have to fertilize our lawn if we mulch the leaves into it. However this requires a lot of stick pickup before use.

Because your lot is bigger, it doesn't look like you will have the same problems that I do, but still the following might be a useful discussion:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/do-it-yourself-forum!/trimming-giant-trees-around-house/

Syonyk

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2017, 09:37:27 AM »
I currently have a tiny, wimpy battery-powered chainsaw. I've been trying to research what a "good" chain saw is, but it seems like anything short of a $400 Stihl has compromises. (I've always heavily researched the 5.0 Amp 56-volt Ego chainsaw with a 16" guide bar. Every time I come away thinking it's probably going to do the job, without all the noise and trouble of a gas guzzling traditional chain saw, I see a comment saying "it just doesn't have the power, Captain!" and I change my mind again.) My dad has an $800 Stihl with a 20" guide... but he's been using chain saws for 50+ years now. And this is only the third chain saw he's ever owned. (His 2nd one was a HomeLite that weighs about 25 lbs...)

So I'm really open to your opinions, advice, guidance and suggestions on what a "good" chain saw is!

What size trees are you dealing with?

I have a Stihl MS171 (or MS172... it's put away right now), and that works fine for smaller stuff, but I don't live on a heavily wooded lot - there are just a few piles of trees that were taken down to fit the house (sadly, the only place the house would fit is where the trees were).  So after that, it's a less-frequently-used tool.  I would say that's at the bottom end of anything I'd suggest if you actually lived with a lot of trees.

The electric ones are not popular around here, and apparently they're less safe, as well.  My chainsaw chaps come with a big warning that the higher torque and lower chain speed of electric saws may rip right through them, where they'll stop a gas saw just fine.

If you take care of a chainsaw, it's a lifetime tool.  But you will want the smallest one you can handle your property with, because a big saw is exhausting to use for long periods.  So is a small saw, but a bit less so.
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neo von retorch

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2017, 09:45:29 AM »
I noticed that the $150 gas saws come with huge 50cc engines (and sometimes 20"+ guide bars) where as the $300+ saw will have 35-40cc and a 16-18" guide bar. The difference? About 5lbs! (And quality.) The ~$300 Echo looks OK and the reviews are pretty good, but there are some concerns about just learning how to start a chainsaw properly and consistently, as well as chains getting loose over time, which probably happens to all saws.

The trees in my meadow and woodlands are probably 25"+ And yesterday I visited a house 2 doors down that fell a tree - we can take the wood if we want. But the pieces at the base are easily 36"+ and it's some serious hardwood (and I think the tree was still green -- they are flipping the house and just want to clear out the yard for aesthetics.) I couldn't get an 8lb maul to make a dent in that wood, so I'd probably want something beefy enough to handle that (but light enough to be useful over long periods of time - I'm not going to be doing this professionally!)

So all that being said, the MS171/172 might be just on the small side for my needs. I'd probably need something in the 2x line.

Syonyk

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2017, 09:54:58 AM »
Yeah, I wouldn't want to tackle stuff that size with mine.

One thing you might consider is getting a few different bars - if you have a solid power unit, you can get different bars/chains for it and have your shorter saw for small stuff, and a long bar for dealing with the hard 36" freebies.

Oh, and get a chain sharpening file, and learn to use it.  I have two chains I rotate through.
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Fishindude

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2017, 09:56:27 AM »
Best all around chain saw is 16" to 18" bar, my preferred brand would be Stihl or Husquavarna. 
You can cut some big logs with these saws by working your way around the log.

If this is something you are only going to use for a day once a year, I wouldn't own one, just rent as needed. 
Sitting idle for long periods is hard on them and they won't start when you need it to.

 


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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2017, 10:05:02 AM »
It costs almost as much to rent a chainsaw for a week as it does to buy one, at least where I live.

Sitting idle isn't that bad as long as you drain the tank and run it dry before storing it.  And avoid the ethanol gas - if you can't get proper gasoline, buy the premixed stuff.  It's expensive, but it beats screwing up carbs annually.
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caracarn

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2017, 02:11:11 PM »
NE Ohio here.  So we have about 1/2 an acre and have a lot of trees in the back.  We are also on a hill, so between the shade and runoff it is very difficult to get grass growing in the cleared area.  It is very sparse compared to the front yard.  We have a nice deck in the back so it works out.  We love the shade, and the added bonus that I have not heard from anyone (I did not read every post to maybe someone mentioned it), is that in the fall we just blow the leaves into the woods, so we save hundreds a year in those goofy lawn bags, but we do have about a 3-5 foot high wall of leaves around 270 degree of property.  It's all gone by the spring. 

We get deer walking through the yard and is terrific for other wildlife.  We love sitting out on the deck and just enjoying the quiet.  The tree create a barrier between us and the neighbors so it feels like you are just in your own little world even though we are in a subdivision.  Obviously in the winter with all the leaves gone and the ground cover less green we can easily see everyone's house but for the other half of the year, it is one of the coolest yards I've had of any house I've owned. 

We pick up sticks in the spring and very little the remainder of the year.  We are allowed to have a fire pit in our township to I just chop things up with a chainsaw (I have an electric and it works great and it avoids the gas problems and lack of use people mentioned) and have never felt like I needed anything else.  Sure the cord is a little more work but with 100 foot extension cord I've been able to get to everything I need.  On a much bigger lot I could see that this might not work.  We did have one tree literally get sheared in half this winter during a storm and luckily it fell straight down and is just leaning on itself.  The part in the ground is about 40-50 tall and the remaining piece that ripped of (looks like a 75 degree angle of so on the trunk and a good 15-20 vertical feet from one side to the other) is probably a good 60-75 feet with all the branches.   It's on the side of the house between me and one of the neighbors so we'll need to figure out what we do with it.  Can't really cut it as I think it would be dangerous falling and I believe it will get caught on other trees as it falls over over time.  Most of our trees are tall and thin like yours (I'm not very good at identifying trees, so not sure what kind).  We do have some very large and thick, I guess oaks (they drop acorns), spread around and those are on the side of the house so I am concerned if one of those fall our way they can do some real damage, but they look very healthy so hoping that will not happen. 

neo von retorch

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2017, 03:23:36 PM »
*snipped*

Sounds so much like our property in a lot of ways!


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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2017, 10:36:06 PM »
I have almost an acre, mostly in the back. Some trees in the yard portion but then a good area of woods that lead downhill to a creek that lines my property. I love it. People underestimate the psychological benefits of being able to sit outside and see more trees than people.

I enjoy having a home and improving it, but I'm not much for keeping things pristine or "manicured".

Mosquitoes are the worst. I do what I can to keep away standing water and encourage bats but alas, it's a losing battle with the creek nearby. Getting my yard sprayed regularly during the summer is worth every penny, it's virtually unusable if I don't.

As far as trees- if you have any silver maples near your house, you may want to consider getting rid of them. Commonly referred to as "trash trees"- they grow fast and look nice so people like to plant them near houses but are really brittle. I had a limb go through my roof last summer during a freak straight wind storm.

Leaves- I got a mulching kit ($40ish) for my mower and it's been fabulous. For leaves on non-grassy areas, I suck them up with a leaf blower/mulcher and collect the shredded leaves in a big trash can to dump on flower beds- not the prettiest mulch, but the price can't be beat. As for sticks- I'm training my dog to pick up sticks and pine cones. Border collies FTW.

Critters- Thus far, I have had mice, a snake, and some curious beetles that have some sort of chemical warfare going on. I got a pest control guy to go over the house with me and point out points of entry so I could seal it up well. Set out some mouse traps and got a several and haven't had a problem since. I'm fine with snakes if they are outside and not venomous (we have copperheads and cottonmouths around here in central VA). I've heard black snakes keep copperheads away, so if I see any, I just walk away and wish him well. I just try to not put out the welcome mat- don't leave tarps lying around because that's a guaranteed invitation for a snake, etc. Keep the grass mowed. Don't poison mice because then your birds of prey eat them and die and then they won't be around to eat the snakes. Feed your local opossum (they are resistant to snake venom, sometimes eat them, and almost never get rabies). Some may disagree with that but I like my opossum who lives under my shed.

I don't know if these are more than regional, but Flip Gutters are worth looking into. I hope to put some on my house at some point but am having a hard time justifying replacing perfectly good gutters right now. They literally flip over- they give you a pole that fits into the gutter and you flip it! Sounds like a gimmick but I have two friends whose opinions I value who have them and think they are the greatest things in the world.

teen persuasion

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2017, 09:12:37 AM »
With our sudden return to actual winter weather, I'm reminded of an advantage of treed lots: the wind break.  We are in a farm area, so there are sections of open fields interspersed with treed lots.  The open fields allow blowing and drifting snow to cross the road, creating poor road conditions during and even after snow storms.  Our wooded 2 acres block the wind driven snow.

I'm not sure if it is just coincidental or not, but the wicked wind storm last week here (80+ mph wind gusts) broke 3 power poles in a row just south of our property line in an open farm field, but none in front of our property.  We were 48 hours w/o electric, but made out much better than my co-worker - a tree fell on her kitchen roof, injuring her and doing extensive damage to part of the house.  She has a tiny village lot, though, with nowhere else for a tree to fall safely.

Spork

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2017, 09:37:07 AM »

 Why would you pick up sticks, assuming they're not large limbs blocking your driveway? Why would you have a lawn when you have trees – they would shade any grass anyway?


Serious questions here. Think about your assumptions – what do you actually want, what do you actually need to do, and what's just habit?


 For the record, we have 25 acres of old growth and absolutely no lawn, and it's totally fabulous except for the rare occasion when there's an oak tree across the driveway.

And this is what I was going to say -- though we're only on about 7-8 acres of land.

We have a very, very minimal lawn in front.  We cut down a few trees close to the house and keep enough "grass" to keep the soil in place.  (I use the term "grass" loosely.  It's mostly something from the grass family.)  And we have a little bit in back for dogs to run ... mostly fruit trees back there.  Otherwise, we live in the woods.  In the summer, you cannot see neighbors or even the road.  To me this is a huge plus.

We rarely ever cut down trees.  We only do it when they're dying and likely to hit something of value.  Otherwise, we let them stand for the wood peckers.  That said, we have enough decent wood fall most winters to heat the house off of a wood stove. 

For chainsaws: I've been through a few.  Buy a Stihl.  Don't think about anything else. 
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

lthenderson

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2017, 09:42:38 AM »
We cut down a few trees close to the house and keep enough "grass" to keep the soil in place.  (I use the term "grass" loosely.  It's mostly something from the grass family.) 

I have the exact same lawn. I also live right next door to the most expensive house in the county and my neighbor probably spends tens of thousands of dollars in hired labor, chemicals and fertilizers to maintain her 4 acre shady lawn so that it looks like a golf course. Thus far she still seems friendly to me, occasionally baking me cookies and never mentions my choice of "lawn care".

Spork

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2017, 03:48:42 PM »
We cut down a few trees close to the house and keep enough "grass" to keep the soil in place.  (I use the term "grass" loosely.  It's mostly something from the grass family.) 

I have the exact same lawn. I also live right next door to the most expensive house in the county and my neighbor probably spends tens of thousands of dollars in hired labor, chemicals and fertilizers to maintain her 4 acre shady lawn so that it looks like a golf course. Thus far she still seems friendly to me, occasionally baking me cookies and never mentions my choice of "lawn care".

The crackheads next door were literally doing donuts in their own front yard in their pick-em-up truck yesterday.  I don't think they're going to complain.  This is also why I celebrate in the summer when the woods are thick enough that I can't see my neighbors.
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

big_owl

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2017, 06:47:08 PM »
I'm going to go a bit against the grain here...

I also live on a heavily wooded lot.  Just over two acres of which maybe 1/4 of it is cleared off for the house and areas immediately surrounding.  The rest is old growth and secondary growth.  Judging from your pictures  I'm not sure you have much to worry about with trees falling.  In 15 years of hurricanes, tornados, derechos, thunderstorms, and nor'easters I've never had a tree fall that actually caused any problems.  If they fall in the woods, who cares - better for nature.

I think the whole chainsaw thing is a bit overblown in your case.  Personally I inherited an electric chainsaw that has held up just as good as any gas chainsaw that I've ever heard of.  It's virtually silent, makes torque at any speed, requires almost zero maintenance aside from some oil for the chain, and is extremely lightweight.  Sure you have to manage a cord as you navigate, but given the size of your yard I don't think that'll be an issue.  Hell I even had to cut over 30 railroad ties in half with my saw and it had no issues...nothing in nature will exceed that.  I don't think I've ever had to use it on an actual tree that fell.

Aside from that, I end up using my bow saw more than anything when dealing with branches.  It's about as fast as a chainsaw for small to medium sized branches and gives a half-decent workout.  Not to mention its dead-nuts simple. 

I second the call for good gutter guards.  We've had mastershield guards for at least ten years now and never clogged once.  Prior to that it was an annual thing to clean the gutters which was very dangerous three stories up. 

Also learn to embrace moss as a replacement for lawn.  In shaded areas it looks gorgeous and is pretty much zero maintenance.  I love it. 


Slinky

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Re: Got wood? ...What should I know about living on a heavily wooded lot?
« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2017, 03:47:26 PM »
1) How much upkeep is involved (sticks, leaves, gutters, etc)?
If we've had large sticks or branches come down, we usually just take an extra 30 seconds or so when we are leaving the house or walking the dog to drag one over to the burn pile. Make a habit of that and sticks don't really get to be a problem.  Preemptive trimming of deadites also helps. Leaf blower + mulching mower takes care of pretty much everything small that drops from our trees. We do have to clean our gutters more often. Get a lightweight properly sized ladder.

2) How bad are the bugs - any way to mitigate them?
I haven't noticed they are worse at our place than elsewhere. We put tiki torches with citronella up around the patio. We don't always light them.

3) Do the pros outweigh the cons? Do you like living on a wooded lot?
Cons: There's a 50' tree down in our yard right now. We have to clean it up. Pros: So. Much. Wood. We have a wood burning fireplace, a fire bowl for the patio, and all of our friends adore coming over for bonfires, which takes care of the deadfall, branches, brush, etc. So it also provides cheap entertainment and social opportunities! :) And definitely exercise if you have 50' trees to delimb, cut, split, and stack. Would not trade our wooded lot for anything else.

4) Any advice?
Nthing Stihl. That's what we have for our chainsaw. We also have their multitool, which we love. Same engine/body, but you can attach different tools. We have the leaf blower, weed whacker, chainsaw on a stick, etc. We also bought a lawn tractor rather than a mower. Our favorite accessory is definitely the trailer. Load up all your tools, haul back all the refuse and dump it off. We budgeted for lawn care tools when we bought the place and acquired over time as needed. The lawn tractor we bought our first spring in the house and got for a discount as someone had bought it and brought it back. He didn't like how it went up hills.