To Convert or Not to Convert, this is the Timberland Question!

To Convert or Not to Convert, this is the Timberland Question! - article image

When looking at a piece of land that you own or maybe one you are considering purchasing in the near future, you may consider converting some cutover timberland into something else. Maybe you want some pastureland for cattle or horses or perhaps you want to try your hand at farming so you consider a conversion to cultivated land. There are many reasons one might consider converting timberland into something else, even as simple as planning a homesite. But there are some things a landowner may want to take into consideration before cutting the first tree.

One of the first things to consider is the best way to clear the land for the purpose you intend to use it. While clearing options such as bulldozing or use of front-end loaders is generally quick, it may not be the best option for the topsoil. This can leave huge wholes in the ground which will need to be dealt with. The Virginia Cooperative Extension shares a resource that gives some great ideas for land clearing that are better alternatives to the above mentioned variety. These include the use of herbicides used to accelerate decomposition and is used in delayed stump removal. There is also tree and stump mulching which seems to be the new trend. This method actually removes the stumps, shrubs and other debris rather quickly while grinding it up and depositing the mulch back into the soil which ?increases soil organic matter, reduce(s) erosion, and prepares sites for planting into pasture?. According to this article the cost can be quite expensive which can definitely be a drawback in using this method. I love the third method but this isn?t a quick fix! They recommend the use of goats in clearing your land! Yes, goats! Oh my goodness, who would have thought to use goats! In today?s modern technology I?m not sure how many would resort to this method. But it is cost effective if you have time to wait for them to do the job! The article expounds more on why goats are a viable land clearing option and you can read more on that here

When converting to cultivation something to consider is if the soil is good enough to plant crops. It would be wise to get the county extension agency involved at this point. They can even test the soil before you cut your timber. Then you will know how and when you would need to add to the soil to improve it, if necessary. This advice comes from the Land Shows Dave Milton as he is interviewed by ReThink Rural in their article, How to turn a forest into a farmHe also suggests ?doing some homework? to decide what would best grow in your area. 

Another thing to consider is weed control. In an article, Turning Over A New Leaf, found in the Progressive Farmer, Boyd Kidwell lays out some detailed instructions on how to overcome weeds. It seems to be an issue that needs to be addressed each year in order to keep it under control. With careful planning and with the right help this can be handled quickly and efficiently. Read their article for more detail to help with this matter. Alternatively you may want to get in touch with the local farm extension agency for advice on the best way to control weeds in your area.

As you can see, converting timberland to a new landscape will take some careful planning in order to best suit your needs. With the right tools and information at your disposal your new pasture, or row crops, or homesite is just in sight. Below I have listed some timberland and cutover land that could be converted and put to good use as something different. Take a look and dream a little and then call us. We would love to help you invest in something that lasts. Our goal is to help you find the perfect piece of land to meet your needs and fulfill your dreams.


These are only a few of the possibilities available on our website. Take a look around and see what you can find to dream about!

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