Timber volume extracted from oak and beech has exceeded all my expectations
It is now 19 years since I first planted 40 hectares on my home farm in Meath and the volume of timber extracted from the oak and beech following thinning has exceeded all expectations.
I did not expect to get anything similar to the return one could expect from conifers but, in general, broadleaf growth rates have been remarkable.
This only further proves that the management practices used in other countries are not always appropriate for Ireland.
Not all planted areas on my farm, however, are as good as one would wish. There is an area of oak that grew so poorly, I intend to remove all bar a few good specimens next winter and replant, possibly with Italian alder which grows rapidly on heavy soil.
Italian alder (Alnus cordata) makes good firewood and the few specimens I planted around 15 years ago have grown faster than any other species on the farm.
The Common alder that was part of the original planting has performed poorly, however, so despite its origin in sunny climes, it appears the Italian variety has to be the best choice for here. I will also include a light mix of conifers to see what is also suited to this difficult section.
Matching site to species is of primary importance and it is pointless planting broadleaves where they will not thrive.
There really is no substitute for putting in a few small groups of varying species to find out what is best for your own farmland.