Mid-November Update

Hickory Ridge Forestry will be working at a shearing project south of Thurman, IA for the rest of November.  This site brings HRF back face to face with the dreaded honey locust tree.  The thorns are certainly menacing, but it is the perfect site for the tree shear coupled with the newly fabricated spray system.

After the shearing project HRF plans to finish the cedar eradication project near Magnolia.  Hopefully if all goes well these projects will bring us to the holiday season and some well deserved rest.  Please check back from time to time as we hope to update the site with photos of these new projects.  Time will tell if these photos  will be filled with snow or not!

Newest Additions

Hickory Ridge Forestry is happy to announce that Wes has passed all coursework, field training, and the arduous pack test to attain his Type II Wildland Firefighter status.  With this new certification he will be able to assist on prescribed burning operations in western Iowa including the loess hills and areas in between.  With added experience, Wes is looking to help add to the acres needed for burning in western Iowa, and eventually be available to assist on fire suppression activities in the western United States for certain periods of time.

HRF also recently purchased a Timberline HT tree shear by Sidney Manufacturing.  This shear is easily capable of shearing dense hardwoods up to 14″ DBH in a single pass.  It is very effective in land clearing operations, and when coupled with a compact track loader many acres can be covered rapidly.  The shear is in the shop receiving modifications to add a spraying unit to the shear allowing the operator to apply herbicide to the cut stump directly after the tree has been sheared.  This modification will make sure that stumps do not get missed during the course of the project and that the stumps will be treated in a quick and effective manner.

Hickory Ridge Forestry, Fall ’09

This fall is going to be an exciting time for HRF.  There are a number of interesting and exciting projects to look forward to.  Please visit from time to time as HRF will be updating projects and photo galleries.  Projects including savannah restoration, brush management and property clearing, cedar eradication, pasture clearing for future tree planting, edge-feathering for the improvement of quail habitat, and an assortment of other really interesting projects will get underway soon.

As 4-5 inches of snow fell on October 10th we’re all wondering when winter might really arrive and show it’s teeth.  Hopefully this was only an odd occurrence and we’ll all get to enjoy some nice autumn weather and colors for several more weeks.  One thing is certain, there are many property owners who are enjoying the value of their land, are seeking to improve it in multiple ways, and are excited about the overall rehabilitation of our great western Iowa resources.  It’s wonderful to meet all of you and a privilege to have the opportunity to help you realize your goals.


After an incredible weekend up at the LSSR it’s back to work for HRF.  September has brought many more acres of cedar encroachment removal.  What amazes HRF is looking at the growth rings on some of the felled cedar trees.  It’s very easy to see how in only 10-15 years what looks like very small cedar seedlings can completely overtake a site and grow quite large.

The first area has many open grown trees.  This may make it seem as though progress would be very quick.  The unfortunate reality is that although lesser in numbers, their outward growth is ridiculous in some cases.  Branches by the dozens can literally snake out horizontally as far as the tree is tall.  Therein lies the consumption of time.  One needs to cut and clear a path just to reach the tree itself.

On the other hand the second area is densely populated and naturally pruned.  There are many more trees but they should be easier to access and hopefully easier to fall as well.  All in all it makes for a nice project, and with some prescribed burning in the future, these areas will become useful once more.

LSSR – New York Says Thank You

Over the upcoming Labor Day weekend the fantastic organization New York Says Thank You will be at the Little Sioux Scout Ranch near Little Sioux, IA.  Over the weekend hundreds of volunteers including several firefighters, police officers, and other rescue personnel will be there lending a hand to help the scouts with various projects.

One of the main projects over the weekend is the rebuilding of the chapel that was destroyed during the tornado of 2008.  This splendid chapel will be built using cedar trees from nearby areas.

HRF highly recommends taking a look at when you get a few spare moments to learn the history of the organization and how they’ve helped several communities over the past few years devastated by disaster.  It’s phenomenal to think that all of this was started with the dream of a 5 year old boy who wanted to help other children in need.

All volunteer help is greatly appreciated for the weekend and if you are able, please come to lend a healing hand.  These boys are heroes, and now heroes from around the country come to their aid.  Help be a hero.

July Updates

July has been an unseasonably cool and wet month.  Although it is not normal we’ll gladly welcome this weather with open arms.  Everything is looking green and lush.  With any luck we’ll head into August with these phenomenal conditions also.

HRF has added new photos to two galleries.

There are now updated photos of the quail habitat project showcasing the changes in the site after all the debris has been piled and now awaits a drying period before burning.  The JCB 190T paired with a Gregory Grapple by Sidney Manufacturing worked extremely well.  It was an excellent match of power and versatility.

Photos have also been updated under the Tree Shelter/Prairie Restoration project.  Photos display the difference in prairie before and after areas of small diameter cottonwood have been felled to eliminate area seed source.  There are a few photos of a heavy thunderstorm that swallowed up the area moments before it hit.

Timber Falling, Tree Shearing, Quail Habitat???

Sometimes we wonder…how can chainsaws, tree shears, and track loaders help provide habitat for such a small game bird.  This is what’s going on.

HRF is steadily working away on the quail acres down south.  Chainsaw work was completed on the largest of the honeylocust trees.  Although heavily guarded by intimidating thorns, care was taken to avoid any serious injury.  With all the largest trees felled, bucked, and in certain cased girdled, time came for the tree shear work.

HRF used the Timberline 14″ tree shear from Sidney Manufacturing.  The shear was coupled with the very versatile JCB 180 T compact track loader.  This combination was highly effective and efficient.  The shear easily handled the very dense honeylocust up to 14″ and in certain cases it was able to handle trees slightly larger.  The 180T is very agile and made maneuvering in tight locations effortless.

The next step in the progression of this project is the piling of all debris for later burning and the final step of herbicide application.  The landscape is experiencing a dramatic change…but it’s certainly changing and benefiting for the future.

Quail Habitat Improvement

HRF is pleased to say that the spring tree planting season has come to a close and all planting projects were successful.  Now it’s time to change gears and head back to the woods.

HRF will be spending the majority of June near the Iowa/Missouri border south of Shenendoah.  This is an extensive multi-faceted project with the hopeful end result of an improvement of quail habitat.  The first step is the removal of many acres of nearly solid honeylocust on old pasture ground.  The second phase involves several acres of edge feathering to help create a transition zone from grasses and forbes to woody land.  Studies have shown the great benefits of edge feathering and population gains in quail coveys.  The final phase is a large amount of specialized CRP plantings  created specifically for quail.

This is a great project and HRF is really excited to be a part of it.  These initial steps are going to help establish some truly phenomenal properties and create a haven for new quail in southwest Iowa.  New photos will be posted soon to show progress as the project gets underway.

May Reforestation

Tree planting is going well this spring.  Three new plantings are in the ground with one more to plant before the end of the month.  The early plantings are already starting to bud with adequate soil moisture and moderate temperatures.  HRF will move near Hancock, IA for the final mechanical planting of the spring.  HRF is also excited to get back in the woods as TSI gets going again.  We’ll be thinning an oak stand and completing a reforestation hand planting near Mineola, IA.

Spring Rains

We are being blessed with perfectly timed rain showers so far this spring.  Our most recent plantings have had great moisture to get a jump start on seedling growth.  Plantings are in full swing right now with just over a month left in our spring planting season.  We’re holding a forestry/prairie field day on Friday May15th just east of Carson, IA.  HRF is assisting on the day along with IA DNR Forestry, National Wild Turkey Federation, County Conservation, and Iowa State Forestry Extension.  For more information please feel free to contact at any time.  We will be talking and viewing chances for timber stand improvement, woodland natural regeneration, wildlife enhancement, prairie reconstruction, and prescribed burning.  Please join us for a great afternoon.