Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Backyard Woods - Making a plan

Compare your objectives and inventory, and make adjustments if needed. For example, the objectives of a landowner and his family were to keep the property natural, watch wildlife, and enjoy the view from their home. After they talked with their neighbors, attended a university extension service workshop on living on a few acres, and surveyed their property, they changed their goals.
After you inventory your backyard woods you can draw your own map on graph paper. Use your inventory to plan activities that will accomplish your objectives. The order and year in which you list the activities will depend on your objectives, time, and money. Don’t try to do everything at once. Think long term and develop a 10-year plan. Your plan is flexible. Review it periodically to be sure it still meets your objectives and that you have the time and money to implement it.

Can I get help with my plan?
A county soil survey contains the soil map along with information on soil use and management for trees, wildlife, and trail building. You can obtain a soil survey from the District. Average annual precipitation amounts and plant hardiness zone maps are also available.
You will need information on what to do and how to do it. Personal education is available. Soil and Water Conservation District and Cooperative Extension Service offices are good sources of local information.

There are opportunities to get personalized assistance. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry has a Service Forester who is a wealth of information in planning your woodland. You may be able to hire a consulting forester, landscape architect, or arborist on an hourly basis to do a short "walk through" with you to give you ideas on what you might do to reach your objectives. Try to find someone who can tell you about the soil, historical land use, the health and economic value of your trees, the resident wildlife, and what the woods will look like in 20 years if you leave it alone or if you choose to apply practices to improve it. Consider talking with your neighbors about having a natural resource professional look over all of your properties.

If you don’t have the equipment, time, or skill for a project, seek local sources of help. The farm and garden supply store, weekly swap and sell guide, and local newspaper contain information on locally available services.
Whatever you do, have fun doing it. Include your family, and your neighbors if possible. A large task can be made easier with partners.

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