1. Welcome

Planting around 80% of Sitka Spruce to make up for the income lost from eight years of Ash growing, and the balance was planted in Wild Cherry and Red Oak.

We finally finished planting in February and there was a palpable sense of relief all round.

Having taken advice on the whole removal and replanting from our forester, we did the project management and some of the work ourselves.  Although it was difficult at times, we still consider it financially beneficial, along with having a sense of control which we would not have had if we had given the contract to a forestry company.

John Sherlock is a member of the

ITGA (Irish Timber Growers Association).

With 49 acres of forestry, a relatively young forest now in it’s 17th year, we are trying to put back what we take.

With a mixture of Sitka Spruce, Norway Spruce, Alder, and slow growing Beech and Oak trees for long-term commitment.

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  1. Member of the

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Sherlock Forest

Forest path
Winter walk between the trees

Sherlock Warehousing & Trading Limited

Gainstown  |  Navan  |  Co. Meath  |  C15 HX82  |  Republic of Ireland

Please click here to send us an e-mail.

Telephone:   046 90 21240

Please note:  There is a huge risk of Ash dieback disease (Chalara fraxinea) in Ash plantations,

so please do not go through any plantation.

So as well as being environmentally friendly, this has helped create a haven for wildlife with different forest flora and fauna.  Bringing a magical setting in the winter, and a cooling peace in the summer.

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North East Forestry Group

John is also Chairman of the North East Forestry Group.

The Group was formed with the support of Teagasc in May 2013 and is open to forest owners in Cavan, Louth, Meath and Monaghan.

It has been an eventful couple of years in our woodland.  Our Ash plantation was sadly confirmed as having Ash dieback in September 2017.  After a protracted process, we were funded for the removal for the entire crop and replanting.  We concluded site clearance in autumn 2018 and finally received species approval in December 2018.

January 2019 arrived with a sense of anticipation for the year ahead, and commenced planting as soon as the frost lifted.  We ordered and collected our plants from a company based in Wicklow, None-so-Hardy.

We are currently members of Pro Silva Ireland which encourages continuous cover forestry, thus eliminating clearfell of forests.  By taking out a little more often, encourages natural regrowth of forestry.

  1. Welcome

While we were on holidays in early May, the weeds took advantage of our absence to grow extraordinarily high.  Luckily, we were able to get a very experienced man to spot spray around them.

We also had a friend’s son clear around each plant with a hook prior to spraying.  There was no lasting damage, but it was a close call.

As we had our felling licence renewed (4 years, unfortunately, not 10) we decided to second thin the more mature Sitka Spruce, Norway Spruce, Alder and Oak sections.  All were planted in 2003 by my late father, Pat Sherlock.  They had been first thinned in 2015. 

Having decided to go the Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF) ProSilva route in forest management, we hired two experienced foresters to mark all the trees that were to come out of our plantation.  This was done to take the decision making out of the harvester operator’s hands, to ensure the choices were in-line with the ProSilva method.

The harvesting company representative was concerned when he saw the choices of some trees to be felled, but we had our decision made and were not going to change.  The operation went smoothly enough, but when the harvesting was over, we noticed that no Urea was sprayed on the stumps.  We insisted that this was rectified, bearing in mind the distance from watercourses, etc.

At the same time, we hired an experienced chainsaw operator, along with his father, to thin and shape our Oak crop which is 17 years old.  We had taken out the nurse species of Scots Pine in 2015, so it was time to give the remaining Oak a light thinning and shaping.

Our Alder had reacted positively to the first thinning, so we gave it a second thinning with the mechanical harvester.  I have yet to be convinced that this crop will achieve any high value as sawlog, however, we will persevere in the short/medium-term.

September came, and all the thinnings were removed from the forest.  With our softwoods, we made two grades of pulp wood, along with a grade of pallet wood:

  1. Bulletgrade one was pure energy small diameter thinning suitable for woodchip only; and

  1. Worrell Harvesting chipperthe second larger grade, we kept for our own firewood business.

  1. Forest Safety SignsThe pallet wood was sold with a small premium, as it was FSC certified wood.

Also in early September, we finally sold the Ash we had removed from our infected forest.  This went directly for woodchip, as it was too small for firewood.  We had the choice of burying it, but we chose to remove it and stack it to dry.  This left the forest site clean and accessible for replanting.

I recently went for a walk down our woodlands, as I often do, however, on this occasion with great trepidation after recent storms, having heard horror stories of trees being blown down after being thinned using the ProSilva method, which leaves gaps in the forest canopy... there were only three small diameter saplings damaged with wind-snap halfway up.  Hopefully, we will continue not to have any surprises in store with the increasingly more frequent high winds, etc. 

This year will, hopefully, be quieter with just some spot spraying of new crops, roadways, checking boundaries, topping and access paths.  Our plantation is FSC certified and we had our forest inspection during January.  It will be four years before the next operations which also brings the reward of timber sales, so careful management is paramount as our annual subsidy will soon run out.

Looking back, although it was hard work and stressful at times, the financial reward and satisfaction of seeing our woodland prosper, was well worth it.  Hopefully, the future of hardwoods will also justify the expense and time which we all, as forest owners, put into our woodlands.

The Alder and Oak thinnings will be sold in our firewood business.

Forest that has been thinned.
Forestry Thinnings
Forest that has been thinned.
Darkness into the light.
Admiral Butterfly