Is prescribed fire good for hardwoods?

By GrowingDeer,

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I really enjoy your weekly show. I spend all of my free time doing the same things on our family property along the Red River near Shreveport,Louisiana. We have some mature/thin/no cover bottomland hardwoods that I would like to improve. I see that you burn your hardwoods a lot but all of the forestry guys around here say that burning hardwoods is bad practice because it makes trees susceptible to disease. I would also like to burn/improve cover in the cottonwood/willow dominant woods along the river bank. It seems like cottonwood leaves suppress understory terribly. Any suggestions?



Thank you for the kind words and for watching! I’m a huge fan of using prescribed fire. However, prescribed fire under a closed canopy – where limited sun is reaching the forest floor – won’t result in much growth of forbs or grasses. Oaks and some other hardwoods are fire adapted and low intensity fire rarely results in much damage to the trees. However, fire can damage cottonwoods and willows.  It’s best to define the mission and then learn what tools/techniques are appropriate for that mission.

Thanks again!