Sturgeon River Spruce Interplanting (MN DNR)

State or Province
Nearest city or town
Big Falls
Describe the location
Big Falls District, Littlefork Forestry Area, Pine Island 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
Stand harvested in December 2011
Site index
65 feet
for species
Brief silvicultural objective
Maintain white spruce component to mixed species stand dominated by aspen.
Site preparation method
Soil texture
Soil details
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

48.219279, -94.022102


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 the 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. 

Figure 1: 2010 infrared aerial photo of interplanting site before 2011 harvest.

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.

Figure 2: Bundle of 25 white spruce 1-0 container seedlings such as those interplanted on this site.

Figure 3: Photo showing reserve ash trees scattered through white spruce interplanting site.

Figure 4: White spruce seedlings surrounded by aspen, year 3, planted in aspen-dominated stand.

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

Figure 5: 2014 color aerial photo of reforestation site showing eastern reserve islands and ash reserve trees.

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.