Five Mile Spruce (MN DNR)

State or Province
Nearest city or town
Big Falls
Describe the location
Big Falls District, Littlefork Forestry Area, Koochiching State Forest
State - Swamp Trust
Cover type
Forest health threats
Adaptive silviculture options
Silviculture system
Estimated year of stand origin
Additional information about stand origin
Aerial seeded Spring 2006
Site index
36 feet
for species
black spruce
Brief silvicultural objective
Reforest a healthy black spruce even-aged stand that is 95% stocked at 1500 trees per acre after a clearcut.
Site preparation method
Soil texture
Soil details
B277A - Greenwood soils, 0-1 percent slope. From the USDA soil survey - The Greenwood series consists of very deep ,very poorly drained soils formed in organic deposits more than 51 inches thick on outwash plains, till floored lake plains, or lake plains.
Stand area
65 acres
Treatment area
65 acres

48.261111, -93.755583


This stand represents a typical lowland harvest of spruce in the Littlefork DNR Forestry Area. 

Silviculture Objective(s)

Regeneration is considered a success in the lowland black spruce sites on State DNR forestry lands when 95% of a stand is stocked with desirable crop species 5 years after harvest with an acceptable number of trees per acre (1500 for black spruce).  In black spruce, an additional concern is spread of dwarf mistletoe, which is evaluated at the stand level and may include additional treatment.

Pre-treatment stand description and condition

Stand establishment and management history: 

Stand was natural in origin and had unknown management history.

Pre-treatment species composition: 

Stand was approximately 142 years old with 25 cords per acre black spruce at the time of clearcutting.  Spruce averaged 4 sticks and 6 inch diameter.  Scattered tamarack were present and averaged 0.3 cords/acre.

Pre-treatment forest health issues: 

Dwarf mistletoe was present in stand and surrounding stands.

Silviculture Prescription

Stand was harvested with conventional equipment in winter 2005-2006.

Harvest restrictions included:

  • winter access only on frozen ground
  • harvest operations will be halted if rutting occurs
  • pile any slash or tops on landing
  • fell all live black spruce 5 feet and taller for mistletoe control

Site was aerial seeded using a helicopter in Spring 2006 with 1 oz/acre of black spruce seed.  Seed was supplied by the Badoura State Nursery.

Figure 1: 2010 Infrared Aerial Photo of 65 Acre Reforested Lowland Black Spruce that was Aerial Seeded

Figure 2: Buckets of seed supplied for aerial seeding by Badoura State Forest Nursery.

Figure 3: The contents of the buckets used for aerial seeding that includes seed and carrier.

Post-treatment assessment

Regeneration check was completed in May 2013 with 1/500 acre plots.

  • Black spruce, 95% stocking, 3250/acre
  • Tamarack 37% stocking, 237/acre
  • Aspen 69% stocking, 2070/acre

Figure 4: Black spruce, tamarack, and aspen regeneration of lowland black spruce stand, 9 years after harvest and aerial seeding (photo taken November 6, 2015).

Figure 5: Another view of aerial seeded black spruce regeneration 9 years post-treatment (photo taken Nov. 6, 2015).

Plans for future treatments

Potential site for Christmas tree harvesting due to high spruce stocking and proximity to road.

Costs and economic considerations

Cost of contract helicopter to perform aerial seeding equaled $547.30.

Cost of seed supplied by state forest nursery equaled $609.38.

Total cost to reforest 65 acre lowland stand with 1 oz/acre black spruce seed in 2006 by aerial seeding equaled $1,156.68.