Madison County Soil Conservation District 

Serving to Conserve Madison County's Soil & Related Natural Resources Since 1941


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Forestry


 

Trees are the largest land use in Madison County. According to the U.S. Forest Service data there is an estimated 160,000 acres of trees in Madison County, covering some 45 percent of the county.  All but approximately 5,000 acres are located on private lands. The heaviest stands are in the eastern and south central part of the county and along the floodplain of the South Forked Deer River with patches of trees scattered through the county. Most of the tree stands are on the steeper slopes or on wetter sites. Trees commonly found growing in Madison County are Oaks, Pines, Beech, Cheery, Hickories, Ash, Willows, Birch, Poplars, Cottonwoods, Elms, Cedars, Cypress, Hollies, Persimmons, Sweetgums, Sycamore, Mulberries, Sassafras, Locusts, Pecans, Walnuts, Maples, Boxelder, and Dogwoods. Click here to see a PDF file of the Forest Productivity Index for various trees grown on the various soil types in Madison county.

Many species of trees growing in Madison County can be viewed at The West Tennessee Agriculture Research and Education in Jackson. In 2006 it was certified as a level II Arboretum by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council. In 2006 it had over 60 species of trees. It now has over 140 trees marked and identified on the grounds of its campus. From its website you can take an on line tour of the Arboretum.

 

There is debate over clear cutting timber stands and select cutting timber stands. One argument for clear cutting is that by leaving some trees for the purpose of future harvest can be a costly mistake because many of the trees in a stand can be severely stunted, are old and small, and if left never will grow much larger. Below is a picture taken at the Milan No-till field day.

As shown in the picture below taken at a forestry exhibit at the Milan No-till Field Day: the tree on the left is 39 years old and has a 4 inch diameter while the tree on the right is 11 years old and has a 5.6 inch diameter - 28 years younger yet a 1.4 times larger diameter (same species same soil). Many foresters agree that if the stunted tree was left and exposed to more light it would not grow significantly larger in another 20 year.