Case Study Name (Landowner)

Sturgeon River Spruce Interplanting (MN DNR)

Stand Information
State or Province: 
Nearest city or town: 
Big Falls
State - Swamp Trust
MN ECS Native Plant Community System: 
Plant community or habitat classification and growth stage: 
Forest Health Threats: 
Estimated year of stand origin: 
Additional information about stand origin: 
Stand harvested in December 2011
Site Index: 
for species: 
Silviculture System: 
Brief silvicultural objective: 
Maintain white spruce component to mixed species stand dominated by aspen.
B24B—Ashlake-Suomi-Effie complex, mlra 88, 1 to 4 percent slopes. The surface layers of this complex are loam with clay loam approximately 6-8 inches below the surface.
Stand area: 
13 acres
Treatment area: 
13 acres

This aspen dominated stand of natural origin had a high white spruce component at time of harvest.  This site was especially sensitive to compaction and rutting due to the soil type and drainage into the Sturgeon River affected by local highway. 

Silviculture Objective(s)

Maintain a mixed stand with heavy conifer component including white spruce and balsam fir.  Due to the proximity to the road, white spruce was slash planted by a contract crew in the spring after a winter harvest. 

Pre-treatment stand description and condition
Stand establishment and management history: 

Stand management history is unknown, but stand is assumed to be natural in origin.

Pre-treatment species composition: 

Aspen species (70% aspen, 30% balm of Gilead) averaged 6 sticks, 10" DBH, and 10 cords/acre.  Spruce (95% white, 5% black) averaged 6 sticks, 12" DBH, 60% bolts, and 5 cords/acre.  One cord per acre of paper birch and balsam fir were sold on appraised volume.  A minimal amount of ash (3.5 cords) was added to the sale to allow equipment movement through site. 

Silviculture Prescription

This stand was harvested in December 2011 with conventional equipment.

Harvesting restrictions included:

  • Winter access only under frozen conditions.
  • Landing must be approved by Forester prior to clearing.
  • Lop and scatter slash evenly throughout the permit.
  • Reserve species include: oak, elm, ash.
  • Leave dead trees standing where safety permits.

Slash planting of white spruce 1-0 container stock from PRT nursery in Dryden, Ont occurred May 2012, by contract crew.

Post-treatment assessment

Regeneration survey performed November 2015, 1/100th acre plots.

  • white spruce 100% stocking, 317/acre
  • balsam fir 67% stocking, 392/acre
  • paper birch 42% stocking, 200/acre
  • aspen 75% stocking, 7575/acre
  • balm of Gilead 75% stocking, 1667/acre
  • black ash 67% stocking, 917/acre
  • Brush release is needed and scheduled for Fall 2016
  • Residual basal area equals 9 sqft/acre and is mostly ash
Plans for future treatments

Brush release around planted and natural white spruce Fall 2016.

Costs and economic considerations

Approximate seedling cost $48/acre. 

Cost per acre of contract planting crew $50.78/acre.

Photo showing reserve ash trees scattered through white spruce interplanting site.White spruce seedings surrounded by aspen, year 3, planted in aspen dominated stand.2010 infrared aerial photo of interplanting site before 2011 harvest.2014 color aerial photo of reforestation site showing eastern reserve islands and ash reserve trees.Bundle of 25 white spruce 1-0 container seedlings such as those interplanted on this site.
Angela Yuska
Photo of Angela Yuska
Program Forester
PO Box 127
Big Falls , MN 56627 ,
Phone Number: 
(218) 276-2237