Cover Image

ECHOs are fine saws and Huskys are on par with STIHL but the truth is you are never going to see a 20-30 year old ECHO sell for the same STIHLs do. My local STIHL dealer sells 90s era mid range pro saws for more than a new ECHO.

STIHL is number one in chainsaws in my opinion, but there are some good Echo & Husqvarna saws out there and in most circumstances they hold their own. You should never compare a Stihl to an ECHO. Echo makes some great saws, but the comparision is like saying a Honda is the same as a BMW, the scale is way off.

A lot of people look at a STIHL and see the price first and don't even consider the quality. Then they see that they only give you a 1 year consumer warranty, factory defect only. ECHO offers a 5 year consumer warranty, also factory defect only. However, you can purchase a 6-pack of the STIHL ultra synthetic oil blend to extend it to 2 years.

But those are just numbers and a saw that is used day in day out is going to have problems. But, you can limit them. Make sure that you do not run it with a dull chain since this will kill any saw. Don't overheat it (limb it). And no matter what you do, always make sure that you use good quality fuel and keep up on maintenance.

Fuel is a biggy. And that is why the warranty (anywarranty) does not cover fuel related issues.

No matter what saw you choose it is important to invest in proper safety gear. Make sure you read the manuals, and watch and talk with the pros that you can find before you get to work. It can be exciting to get started, but you're never fully prepared.

Cover Image

I firmly believe that WMAs should be used as much as possible for all allowable purposes, because more demand creates a push for more supply. Camping for many though takes things too far. Nobody wants a bunch of drunk kids running around. And hunters will in general get pissed.

It is important to contact your local DNR office and ask them what is permitted and where.

They will be happy to give you info on each particular area you're interested in.

From my experience I made sure I checked with the DNR first. Some WMA's might allow having a fire if you follow proper "leave no trace" rules, which of course should be followed no matter where you camp. But most will have an issue with it.

Definitely go into your counties DNR office though and talk to them in person, they'll be happy to help. At least they were when I went in to the office.

And for those of you who are serious, here is the link to the DNR recreation Atlas online map. You can use it to find these areas in, well, your area.

Cover Image

Pruning lemon trees can be a fun task. For many a lemon tree is exotic and has the sense of mystery around it. But clarification is the key to any task. And the more you learn, the more you will enjoy because lemons are a really fun tree to have around.

The limbs that grow vertically will flower just like the other limbs but generally won't bear any fruit.

Just trim them to the desired length, I usually make the cut right above a leaf node, some people suggest cutting at a 45° angle with the cut facing up to promote branching. I usually prune about 1/4 inch above the node. You'll be able to see where it was pruned, no matter where you choose to cut. But the branches are small so it won't be that noticeable. Lemon trees love to be pruned, you'll notice lots of new leaf growth a month or so after pruning.

There's some in depth pruning information avaialbe for the different types of lemon trees so find the one that works for you.

Meyer lemons are grafted, rather than being grown from seed.

The bottom half is called the rootstock and the top is the scion. The rootstock is chosen for its hearty root structure, likely from an orange or some other variety of lemon, and the scion is a cutting from a Meyer lemon which is a really exceptional type of lemon.

You can try and angle it a little so that the tree is sitting a little more vertically if you want. Also, you'll want to prune off anything that grows below the graft line. Anything that grows below the graft line will not be a lemon baring.

There are so many ways to work with these remarkable trees, more than are within the scope of this text, so I really suggest looking for the information that is suitable for your area and your type of lemon tree.

Cover Image

There's lots of info out there on tree pruning some of it is good, while other information is just plain wrong. It isn't that hard though. And it basically comes down to this; you want to cut away any branches that are growing in toward the center of the tree.

The reason that these branches are removed along with any branches that will grow to rub against each other is that they reduce the tree's overall efectiveness.

When you prune fruit trees like this you are giving them a chance to invest their engery into fruit production. You can really thin fruit trees and they will recover just fine though you may miss out on some fruit production.

Other trees however, for example, plum trees have to be carefully pruned because little "branches" stick out where the fruit grows on the next year. Different fruit tree's need different kinds of cuts to better maximize fruit production, even the space you have it in can determine what cut to use.

If you have never pruned before, or you have never pruned a specific type of tree make sure that you do a little research for the types of trees you have. I would suggest that you read Cass Turnbull, he has an entire book on pruning, and delineates how different species have different tollerance to pruning.

Be warned, though. Once you know what a badly pruned tree looks like you will realize that most of them have suffered some really terrible pruning.

It has the potential to make you sort of sad.

Cover Image

There is quite a range of private companies in forestry. Some like Plum Creek, Weyerhaeser, and Potlatch directly own large tracts of timberland and manage them for production.

Weyerhaeser is pretty vertically integrated and even has its own research division.

What you also see a lot of these days are investment funds.

Companies like Lyme Timber own lots of land and pay share holders profits from the management. Consulting firms can be either pretty big operations like Prentiss and Carlisle, just one forester or anything in between. Consultants don't own their own land, but private landowners pay them to do management. This can be on the scale of Lyme Timber paying Prentiss and Carlisle to manage 200,000 acres, or one forester working on many different privately owned 200 acre mom & pop family woodlots.

People with a 4 year degree can easily get into field work. It's easier for someone with a 4 year degree to get into academic stuff than it is for someone with a 2 year degree.

And as for work in the government, in my opinion it's very difficult to get permanent jobs with the fed. I have several friends that did seasonal work year after year with the USFS for and yet they did not get permanent placement when the graduated. Yet, if you do land a full time job somewhere you can probably expect to keep it until you die if you want. With the USFS, you have the opportunity to move up and move around. But the problem is, there are a lot fewer opportunities when you want to stay in one place vs opportunities for 150 National Forests across the country.

The more opportunities you can take advantage of, the more that will be provided to you.

Cover Image

Fruit trees can be tricky, if you over prune you may have to skip a year of fruit in what is known as biennial bearing. This doesn't mean that the tree will become biennial perinately, it just means that you will be missing out on a year of growth.


Typically it's best to prune apple trees in the winter when they're dormant, unless you are just removing broken or diseased branches.


Pruning when dormant generally results in vigorous new growth come spring, but the sap isn't running so you can take larger branches. Pruning during the rest of the year taking large branches can result in a risk for the tree. This isn't a given, but it shouldb e avoided..

You may have been told to prune in winter for structure and this is good solid advice. During th rest of the year you should only prune for size control and sickness, though a well maintained tree will tend to grow in the right direction for a number of seasons before any major work needs to be invested.

Size control is a simple task. You need to decide how tall you want the tree to be. If you only want your tree to be three yards tall you will cut off all new growth above that level. This results in a more uniform thickness and shape for the branches under that mark.

One thing that you may need to do with a well maintained tree is to focus on the fruit control. When they are caredfor they will tend to produce more fruit.

That means you may need to prune even if you have the right shape. Summer pruning can help thin the fruit load, keep the tree to a specific height, and thin out water shoots.

You have to be careful you don't get rid of next years fruiting wood though.


Trees, while not like us, can be infected with a wide variety of disease. If you have questions you can ask the extension office or other organizations in your area for advice.

Generally they like a photo of the whole tree from far away, one of the whole tree closer up, one of an infected branch, then a photo of an infected leaf or blossom.

Then put a magnifying glass up to an infected leaf and snap a shot of the front of the leaf then another of the back so that they can see the details.

Email all the photos to your extension office along with the variety of apple that you're growing and any other symptoms the photos don't show, and they'll tell you exactly what to do to make your tree fruit again!