At home with my forest


Managing our 89 acres of timberland out in the Coast Range is one thing, but taking care of the forestland that we live on raises different concerns. Fire, for instance, takes on a new meaning when your home is on the property.

About three years ago we moved from Forest Grove out to a 5.5-acre lot in the woods on the edge of town.

In the area immediately around the house, we cleared out overgrown berry vines, a couple wooden structures and some smaller trees. We also removed any low, dead branches from the bigger trees.

The idea is to remove excess fuel to create a “defensible space” around your home – so if there’s a fire, you reduce the chance that flames reach the building.

We also need to keep trees growing on the lot if we’re to maintain the land’s “forest deferral,” which sets a reduced property tax rate for forestland. The previous owner had logged most of the larger trees, so we’ve planted 200 Douglas-fir seedlings.

That previous owner also had planted western redcedar, which we’re having trouble with. The deer just love them.

Did I mention the deer? They’ve been a challenge, too. There are about 15 of them on the property, and they seem to eat even the “deer-resistant” plants.

But we’ve been having some luck spraying a mixture based on porcupine and bovine blood onto trees and plants. It has to be reapplied every month or two – and it stinks when you’re spraying it – but it does seem to help. Apparently the deer associate the smell with predators being nearby, so they go find someplace else to eat.

Nevertheless, we built a 7-foot deer fence around a 1.5-acre area right near the house, to keep the deer from eating plants in the yard. It also helps keep the dog from going off and getting into another fight with a porcupine…

It’s been an adventure.

Kathy Storm
Business manager


9755 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 210        
Portland, OR 97225        
Phone: 971-673-2944        
Fax: 971-673-2946

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