Woodland - Winter 2019 - 34

"ANYTIME WE'RE
MANAGING TREES, WE
HAVE TO THINK LONG
TERM," SCHERF SAYS.

FAMILY FOREST OWNERS ARE KEY
by Iris Winslow
Bourbon's popularity is on the rise around
the United States. That means an equal
rise in demand for white oak. Coopers
use large, knot-free logs of this durable
hardwood to make the barrels that give the
spirit its rich flavors and amber hue. And
those barrels can be used only once for
the aging process. Combine those factors
with the species' slow growth rate, and
it's clear why white oak requires careful
management for industry today and for
future generations of toast makers.
"We're starting to see the impact [the
bourbon craze] is having on the white oak
industry," says Jeremy Scherf, a service
forester with the Ohio Department of
Natural Resources. "If we don't step
forward now and start improving how
we manage our white oaks, we could be
looking at a shortfall."
The beautiful wood is also a favorite for
high-end furniture. It doesn't rot as easily
as some other species, so you'll often find
white oak used for trailer decks and other
industrial applications.
Koral and Randy Clum, the 2018 National
Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year,
are helping to meet the demand for white
oak on their 150-acre Hepatica Falls Tree
Farm in Dover, Ohio. The Clums' forest
management practices offer valuable
examples for other tree farmers who

34 WOODLAND * Winter 2019

want to promote white oaks on their
property.
White oak is one of the most lightdemanding trees, with a large canopy that
can develop a spread of 50 to 80 feet
wide. The Clums open up space around
their oaks to let the canopies expand.
"In our past timber sales where we had
young, pole-size white oak - say, four to
10 inches - we've opened those up by
removing competing trees so we can
develop those young oaks into future
crop trees down the road," Randy says.
Whenever Randy finds a young white
oak along the farm's trails or in newergrowth areas, he'll make sure it has a
chance to develop into a crop tree. "By
using a little chainsaw therapy, putting
a little time in, I can release those young
white oaks so they'll benefit not only us
and our daughter but also someone down
the road in the future," he says.
The work doesn't end there. "Once you
open up the canopy, then yellow poplar
and black cherry grow really quickly,"
Koral explains. "They're outcompeting
the white oak."
"We like to finesse our woods," Randy
says. "Clear-cutting is a valuable
management tool to promote white
oak. On our property, I'll take the time
to release individual trees. White oak is

worth the effort. It's a valuable species
for wildlife, the quality of the lumber, and
in the cooperage industry to make barrels
for high-quality spirits or wine. It's just a
beautiful tree."
Wildlife also benefits: Many animals
prefer the tree's sweeter acorn over that
of the red oak, and several bird species
feed on its leaf buds. "The deer love white
oak," Randy says. "By opening up the
canopies to let them expand, there are
more flowers. More flowers mean more
acorns that the deer love. Our acorn crop
has really increased to hold deer there."
The Clums let their soil determine
which type of trees grow in each area of
Hepatica Falls. While they're focused on
white oak, they also make sure to figure
out where every tree will grow best.
Randy says he spends a lot of time looking
at each tree, chainsaw in hand, thinking,
"How can I help this tree grow better?
How can I help it reach its potential so it
grows fast and stays healthy?"
According to Scherf, it takes at least 80
years for a white oak to begin reaching a
harvestable point. "That doesn't mean it
has hit its value point yet," he adds. These
trees can live up to 400 years, and many
of the white oaks being harvested today
are 150 to 200 years old. Patience is a
must with this species.



Woodland - Winter 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Woodland - Winter 2019

OVERSTORY
FORESTS AND FAMILIES
FOREST INTERACTIONS Seedlings
2019 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year
Giving Back for the Forests of Tomorrow
Policies And Partnerships Go Hand In Hand For Strong Forests
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Woodland - Winter 2019 - Intro
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover1
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover2
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 3
Woodland - Winter 2019 - OVERSTORY
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 5
Woodland - Winter 2019 - FORESTS AND FAMILIES
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 7
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 8
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 9
Woodland - Winter 2019 - FOREST INTERACTIONS Seedlings
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 11
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 12
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 13
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 14
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 15
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 16
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 17
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 18
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 19
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 2019 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 21
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 22
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 23
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 24
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 25
Woodland - Winter 2019 - Giving Back for the Forests of Tomorrow
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 27
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 28
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 29
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 30
Woodland - Winter 2019 - Policies And Partnerships Go Hand In Hand For Strong Forests
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 32
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 33
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 34
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 35
Woodland - Winter 2019 - TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 37
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 38
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover3
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover4
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