About 80 landowners attended a recent red cedar logging demonstration and workshop that took place south of Santee, highlighting potential uses for the state's fastest growing forest resource.
For decades, landowners have planted eastern red cedar trees in windbreaks across the state, but volunteer cedars have also encroached onto hundreds of thousands of acres of grazing land and into native hardwood forests.
Elimination of cedars can be a costly endeavor. Landowners and foresters have been working together in recent years to find markets and value in the growing cedar tree resource.
"We wanted to raise awareness of the current uses and potential products that exist for utilizing red cedar," says Nebraska Forest Service Northeast District forester, Steve Rasmussen. "We are trying to get landowners in contact with tree buyers and cutters to discuss opportunities for helping owners manage their cedar tree resource."
Rasmussen said the workshop at Santee displayed logging equipment in action. "This field day was set up to showcase some of the equipment that is available for harvesting and producing wood products from eastern red cedar," he says. The demonstration included a large cutting blade mounted to the front of a payloader that removed old stand trees up to 30 feet in height. Fallen trees that had a diameter of at least four inches were then de-limbed and cut into segments eight feet long with a limb-stripping machine.
The trees that were harvested will be transported to American Wood Fibers at Clarks. They are to be shaved into premium pet bedding at the company's Clarks facility, Rasmussen says.
A post-peeling machine that removed bark from red cedar logs to make more decorative posts was also demonstrated during the workshop.
"We hope to help the wood industry in Nebraska expand and develop markets for the large volume of cedar trees growing," he says. "The Nebraska Forest Service continues to encourage the use of the wood resource we have."
If you would like more information about utilizing red cedar on your farm or ranch, contact Rasmussen at 402-375-0101 or email [email protected].