September 20, 2018, 4:00 am
Growing Season Burning
Written by Joshua W. Hair

 

GROWING SEASON BURNDormant season burns tend to only top kill hardwoods where as growing season burns often kill the root system as well.  Winter burns also provide hardwoods with an entire growing season to recover before burning again.  Dormant season burns are good for reducing fuel loads where excesses could produce high heat.  Once the fuels are low, periodic growing season burns should be implemented.

 

Most people these days are use to instant gratification, and with growing season burns, you get that.  These burns provide a fast and economical way to produce excellent habitat for quail and turkey. Within a week after a growing season burn, grasses and legumes will begin sprouting, providing a better habitat than a desert of bracken fern, which has little wildlife value. The resultant forest type is more aesthetically pleasing due to the fast green up and flowering plant life that will inhabit.  Also, compared to other practices such as herbicides and mechanical treatments, growing season burns are considerably less expensive.

 

CLEAN UNDER STORYHerbicides can usually be applied for approximately 3 times the cost of prescribed burning.  Mechanical treatments such as drum chopping and gyro tracting can cost up to 7 times as much.  Usually, after these type treatments are applied, a prescribed burn has to be preformed to clean up the land.

 

Fires performed during the growing season are more difficult due to possibility of killing desirable trees.  Growing season burns take more planning and expertise than dormant season burns. Prescribed fire is one of the most important land managing tools, and should be used carefully to achieve landowners desired objectives.