Harmac Arboretum
Interviewee / Speaker
Hermansen, Carl
Audio Recording
Nanaimo Historical Society fonds

Series 2. Sound Recordings : Tape: 15b

Transcribed by Carol Hill, 2008

Interview with Carl Hermansen with unidentified interviewer about the Harmac Tree Farm

Hermansen: Two Areas: Arboretum oldest part of this area - established in ‘56 and in the arboretum we are just trying to see how well other trees from around the world would do in British Columbia or in Vancouver Island actually, in this particular area. In ‘56 it was started and it was established with a lot of different species and then it was let go for a while. I guess that the money was spent and so on and there was not enough for it. In ‘65-66, in that neck of the woods, we said we were going to get that back in shape again and we started planting again at the Arboretum, it was let go for two or three years and now we got about a hundred and some odd coniferous species and close to a hundred deciduous species of different trees and shrubs.

The first round they [?] obviously couldn’t be used with other trees for commercial production in British Columbia. That was the main purpose, also educational, but now we swung around to say we have enough indigenous trees in British Columbia today and we got good species we don’t really got to have to go looking too far afield for other species so the area today has turned more to public sort of thing. Public education in this area and it is a very pretty area. Have you been in there?

Interviewer: Yes. I went through there tonight.

Hermansen: Don’t you find it quite pretty?

Interviewer: Oh yes. I have been there with the Boy Scouts, etc. Because I think it is a nice area and especially in the early spring. Nice and green and you can get to learn something about trees and [?].

Hermansen: We have a lot of schools coming through now and quite a few people have used it. Beside that we have put in a fair amount of work into it and it is nice to see that it is actually being used for what we intended to have been used.

Interviewer: So the Arboretum is still growing?

Hermansen: You still keep on adding species. Right now.

Interviewer: Is this a collection agency or do you take something from these? Do you take the seeds?

Hermansen: No never, we can, we have been doing the odd crosses. Like the European [?]

Interviewer: We crossed two different spruces; we done that last year. We got the seedlings here just for the fun of it. It is more of a fun thing. We are not really serious about that.

Hermansen: There is a strip it area where we are having this collection of many trees from all…[?]

Interviewer: Could you name a couple of trees and where they came from or something like this?

Hermansen: We had the Dawn Redwood from China with a Sequoia.

Interviewer: How did it do?

Hermansen: It did well. It did very well. That was one of trees that was supposed to be forgotten and they found one tree of this and after the cutting were taken all over the place. It is quite common now actually.

Interviewer: It was grown from a cutting?

Hermansen: This particular one was grown from a cutting yes.

Interviewer: Could you name a couple more?

Hermansen: We got a California Redwood, we got spruces from Europe, we got the [true?] Fir from Europe. We got Japanese Pines and we got trees from South America and what else have we got. We tried to grow Australian, we tried to grow [eucalyptus?] but they did not like the climate. The cold temperatures in the winter killed most of them, actually it killed all of them. We had some growing very well for a while but they got killed.

Interviewer: What is your hardest wood species here?

Hermansen: What are you talking about, hardness.

Interviewer: There is a very, very hard wood that my father told me about that he has used. He is not alive now but he carved a wine making [schooner?]. Is it from a local tree? Would it be from an African tree?

Hermansen: It could be. Because the African trees…it could be. There are some very hard wood trees from Africa. We haven’t got any of those. Takes more extremes of climate than we have. They grow in tropical, sub tropical. You can never move trees. You have to forget about most of these. You got to look at the simple, the same [?] in here. Sure you got a band you can go on but you can’t just…Unless you cross-pollinate or something, you are not going to get into anything.

We just tried to be sensible about it. Get as many trees. One thing we were trying to do now, we are very close to getting all Canadian conifers for example. That’s a [statement?]

Interviewer: What do you mean by all Canadian? You’re collecting all the Canadian ones and you will have a complete collection?

Hermansen: All the Canadian conifers, yes.

Interviewer: Or is this something, a new species you are coming up with yourselves?

Hermansen: No, no. It is just a collection. We got all these conifers in Canada and we got to get them all here so like then they can stop working on some of the Canadian or maybe B.C. deciduous. This is what we are trying to collect. So we have all Canadian conifers now. That is nice to have eh? We have most North American conifers and then you say, well we will try to get all the local deciduous shrubs and trees. So we need some education to think. So if we can keep on working that way that is what we are trying to do. Make it mostly public relations educational thing now.

Interviewer: How far North does the tree line grow and would a tree survive brought from as far North as it grows in Canada?

Hermansen: You can bring trees down and they will grow here. You can bring trees from the Southern portion from California. We have trees from California here. They will grow here but there are certain trees like you go down to the sub-tropical, you get in trouble right there. They haven’t got the frost there and that is the difference. This is really if you are going North you can bring trees from the more northerly climates.

Interviewer: What do you call sub-tropical?

Hermansen: You’re cutting into trees in Southern California, Mexico. And tropical would be farther south than that. Then you are talking right around the Equator. So we are looking at 10 degrees on each side of the Equator. You can’t really get into that range because they have no frost.

Interviewer: Do you have a lot of visitors during the year?

Hermansen: Yes, we do.

Interviewer: All year round I guess?

Hermansen: People seem to come out, yes, but in the Spring there is more to look at then if you want to look. There is conifer flowers. If you show them how pretty a conifer flower is. Most people do not realize a conifer flowers. That is right. People calling us saying they have a little Spruce tree out front and it has some red things on it. What is it?

Interviewer: Someone told me that last week.

Hermansen: That is your flowers. Isn’t that pretty?

Interviewer: Cones grow from that?

Hermansen: That is the cones developing there, yes that’s right.

Interviewer: How long does it take? How long do they bloom - the Blue Spruce?

Hermansen: You are talking about three to four weeks where it is pretty. It has that reddish colour and some of them stay even a little longer than that. They are perfectly open and then they just open nice, ripe red, then they open up and that is when pollination takes place, then they close and they go out horizontal and become [pendant ?] after that. They stand upright when they are blooming and that is just nature’s way of assisting in pollination. If they were [pendant?] when they were blooming, you are never going to get your pollen into the flowers. If they are standing upright then after the pollination they close, they go out and drop down.

Interviewer: That is the way the blossom is? What is the prettiest flower that you have here?

Hermansen: The prettiest flower in the conifers? I think the larch. I like the larch myself. Because the Larch has the light green foliage coming up the same time that the little red flowers are coming out. So this is my own personal favourite. Anybody can say they are all pretty.

Interviewer: You can see them alternating their flowers. Does the flower pattern just come on the female tree or is this?

Hermansen: Most conifers have both female and male on the same tree. There are some like the Texas Yew…is I think different but I shouldn’t swear on that, better keep my mouth shut. You can get in too deep very easily.

Interviewer: If there anything else you want to add about the Arboretum while we are at it.

Hermansen: The Arboretum is, as we scientists say, we like it to be known that it is there. We are trying to keep it maintained.

Interviewer: I note that the gate is always unlocked.

Hermansen: The gate is always open and there are picnic things if you go in and see it and it is a good picnic ground. There are a lot of mosquitoes in sometimes in the summer and it is not very nice.

Interviewer: Now, how about this end of it? How is it laid out first of all? Numbers?

Hermansen: This area and the purpose of this whole area is to grow improved seed. Now by improved seed is better than we are doing today. We are needing seedlings for the forest for plantation after we are logging. Now we go out and collect seed, we collect our cones in the forest. Bring the cones back, get the seed out of them [and seed?] and grow the seedlings and bring the seed out in the forest again. That is the way we are doing it today.

Now what we are saying is, we can do better than this because we are just getting average seed when we are going this route. What we are saying is if we take all the best trees we have in the forest and just get the seed from those, then the chances are, I am not saying we are getting it, but the chances are that we are going to get better than average seed, are pretty good.

Interviewer: What do you call a better than average tree to begin with?

Hermansen: Well, you are looking at a tree that is growing faster, it is growing taller in the same time, it is growing bigger in diameter in the same time, it is growing straighter. It hasn’t got heavy limbs, got fine limbs. All these characteristics, you add them together and they are growing on the same site. That is very important. They have to be growing under the same conditions.

Interviewer: So altitude will be changed?

Hermansen: Everything is kept within elevation banks. You are keeping everything.

Interviewer: So you couldn’t bring a tree here from a top of a mountain?

Hermansen: You can take it in here, but this is where the whole secret comes in really. You are saying that we can’t take a tree here. We can take a tree here but we must be sure that the seed from that tree go back out in the elevation band where that tree came from. So that is where it comes from.

Interviewer: Oh, I see.

Hermansen: We have right here. We just split. You are looking at many species of trees. You are looking at Hemlock seed, [?] pollen and spruce, cypress. All these different species. They will all be different treatments but we still bring them all in here but we have to keep track of where they came from so that the seeds from those go back in the same soil that they came from. That is the trick of it.

Interviewer: What is the yearly growth rate of a tree here?

Hermansen: We don’t even care. They can grow along the ground. They can crawl along the ground. They can do anything because everything in here is grafted trees or root cuttings from the tree out in the bush.

Interviewer: You said you brought seed here?

Hermansen: No, I said I brought the tree here but not the tree itself but a branch of that tree.

Interviewer: So you are doing this in cuttings?

Hermansen: In cuttings or grafts. We are not bringing the seed here. Maybe I should explain on the map if you want. Have you seen the picture we had in the front?

Interviewer: No, I could on the way out.

Hermansen: OK. What we are doing is, we go up in the forest and we collect all our best trees. In [?] stands. In our best stands we do a [crew?] to the stand and say OK. We might have two or three trees in a stand there are outstanding trees for what I just mentioned about the straightness and the growth. Those trees you give a number and we call them plus trees or parent trees and when we have selected these trees, we take a gun, a .22, and shoot a branch off the top.

Interviewer: Why the top? The [?]

Hermansen: Oh, that is right. That has to do with the cell system. It is the newer of the newer growth and so you get a more vigorous growth in the top of tree. Get that and you might get cones at the same time if you are lucky. It saves having to go out and shoot the branches off for grafting. If you get cones then you get the seed and that seed will be tested. You will take that seed and….

Interviewer: You are testing it for quality now?

Hermansen: No, we are adjusting that while we are testing that we are seeding that seed and testing the growth and the seedlings from those seeds. All that does, that seed, is tell us about the mother.

Interviewer: Not very much.

Hermansen: You will get some ideas about the Mother but we don’t know and we don’t know anything about the Father.

Interviewer: But your cuttings will reproduce the same tree?

Hermansen: Our cuttings will be the same but those cuttings, because they are taken from the old tree are not growing as rigorous as the seedling really.

Interviewer: To start with.

Hermansen: No, it never will, not from an old tree. A new tree might be 80 years old. The trees we are selecting So the only purpose that we can take them in here are the grafts and we can cross them with other trees that also are good. They are selected the same way. Crossing these [?} the only way we can find anything about these seeds is to test the seedlings from the parent treatment, [?] the crosses we are making or we can test the seedlings from the Mother tree which you call a [half-sib?] seedling which is just with one parent.

Interviewer: Will you spell that “half-sibling”?

Hermansen: It is just one known parent. We can go in and we can do grafting with anything we like and test those also.

Interviewer: Do you do much of that?

Hermansen: We don’t but the B.C. Forest Service are starting to do quite a bit of it. This is where we are not unique in this. [?] is just one arm of the whole thing. The B.C. Forest Service are the pioneers in B.C.

Interviewer: Other Companies as well?

Hermansen: Other companies [? B.C. Logging and ? Tahsis Logging, B.C.F.P, ?] they are all doing. I think Pacific Logging in [?Tahsis ]and the B.C. Forest Service came on quicker. [?] BC Service should be ashamed of themselves. We aren’t going there but now perhaps all of the companies from the coast are going into the co-operative program now and they are all working together on the [?] program. It is not one company doing this and another company doing this.

Interviewer: Your plus tree will actually give you a super tree. Is this what they call a super tree.

Hermansen They call it a super tree a [?]

Interviewer: A plus tree is a super tree.

Hermansen: This is what they call it yeah but no it might not be give you anything. It could give you a little seed because they don’t do anything and they could be no good anyway.

Interviewer: As individual people.

Hermansen: This is exactly like individuals and you could get into that sort of thing. That means that your plus trees selection was all wrong. But this is what the B.C. Forest Service is doing now. Their [?] is interesting, as we call it. Testing the quality of these trees. [?]We are starting with the other B.C. Forest Service Agency are starting to test our hemlock. Because before we do the test of [?] we don’t know anything about the trees we selected. We got to get that test going and this is the whole thing about the program. But let me get the pictures up and then let me say ok. The [?] 50% of those trees are no good. The [?] trees are not doing any better than the average tree you have in the bush so would you please irradiate it from your program. This is what will come in eventually. Unless there is a subsequent program you will have to use the [Pegus?] program because we select a lot of trees out of there, everybody does. There are lot of trees selected as good trees but when you [?] you find out that maybe there [?] aren’t any good but even if that happens the 2500 trees in the [?] giving us better trees. We don’t need to get hit that much. This is the whole thing. This is a very slow thing, you do it obviously grafting all these new trees, rooting all these net trees and doing all this and keeping track of it you have to keep the numbers straight whatever.

Interviewer: When you graft, you graft on something that is already hereÉ

Hermansen: You are grafting onto a rootstock, a young seed.

Interviewer: I thought you were actually finding the root. So you are using a root from one plant and branch from another, those are actually taped. So you have to be very careful what to cross with what and all this as far as taping goes.

Hermansen: What happens with it [?] is a problem catching [?]. The rootstock your using to graft on rejected the graft so we had an old growth from the tree and then it will die very quickly. Just the same as the human body rejects a heart in transplants, the same thing happens in trees.

Interviewer: What does the Douglas fir take too.

Hermansen We must graft the Douglas fir.

Interviewer: So you are actually improving that.

Hermansen We are keeping our genetic makeup of that tree out there. All we are doing is keeping the genetic makeup of that particular tree. We have taken seedlings by keeping the graft [?] . That is why we can call that number of tree out in the bush. That number follows the cuts and the grafts in here it has the same other makeup as the tree out in the field and that is what you call a clone. The number is the same genetic makeup as the tree out there. That is when you get the word clone banks, you have heard of clone banks are all these selection of clones. This is only because this are here is a clone bank and see and I had the clone banks because it is where we have an area where we can do either full crossing or we can collect more material from forests here and stuff. Because when you cut a tree up you might collect 15 out of the one clone or 20 out of the one clone because then that is the time you say OK now we have to get rid of these [?] trees but we got all these other ones because we have a big number of each tree and we are not getting the whole seed [?] cleaned up the various trees because we have enough of each cutting.

Interviewer: So we can re-regulate the inputting and examine things for quality as you go along?

Hermansen As far as the trees look here, [?] because we got the tree to grow this way or that way and it doesn’t grow front ways like a normal tree graft in fact it grows [?] for quite a long time and they look odd some of the trees. They don’t look like normal trees they look different they don’t look very nice but I mean you are not worried about that because we know that this tree has the same genetic makeup of the mother tree that looks very nice that is the mother tree right there. That is a pretty tree but that is the second tree you got to be [?] looking the grafts off of the other they look terrible they don’t look like trees they look like bushes.

Interviewer: Can you collect seeds from that tree later on?

Hermansen: This one.

Interviewer: The one that will be growing up.

Hermansen This is what we hope to use but having grafts in here, we don’t have to really go back to the tree again. We have it here, observe it here and we do not have to go back to it any more except if we want specific information from it.

Interviewer: Now when you start the reforesting end of it goes areas are still burned off before reforestation sometimes aren’t they.

Hermansen: Yes.

Interviewer: Why is that? Is that because of the amount of slash?

Hermansen Yes. That is generally when you looking at burning has always been an issue. People don’t like it, mixed up with smoke and make the landscape look pretty black and pretty bleak. But in some areas you have some much [muumuus? and so much stuff?] on the ground that if you had to go out there and get that land planted again it would be an impossibility to do it with the amount of debris on the ground. If you have every tried to plant trees in that kind of area, you appreciate what it is like when it has the slash conditions to deal with. What we shouldn’t burn is the area where we have very shallow soils and we are not burning any more. We are trying to [?] all the time and not do that because we realize. You can see hillsides that have been burned off and they should never have been burned because they was not enough soil in the first place and then try to get trees growing back. That is going to be very difficult.

Interviewer: Do you seed any of these areas from the air any more?

Hermansen It has been done. We haven’t done it because we can’t really afford it. We won’t get into because of the amount of seed you need. Because you need an awful big amount of seed.

Interviewer: More [?] than anything

Hermansen That is right because you are looking at a lot of seed being lost through [?] and a lot of seed falling in the wrong places and not being [?]. If you are [?] seed and you are talking [?].

Interviewer: What kind of seed?

Hermansen: Growth seed. [?] I don’t think you should say do you ever do it any more because I don’t think you never give up on anything like that. You have to keep on trying but I know if you look at improved seed like we were growing here, that seed is going to be too expensive to take up in an airplane, throw off and airplane. So we want to grow our seed and we grow our seed in containers most of that stuff and if you put [?].

Interviewer: A tree can be cut about between 30-40 years of age? Is this it. Yes.

Hermansen: When that is cut how long can it take the next stand. Just another 30 or 40 years to get into production. You are talking 30. You will not be talking a clear cut. You will be talking a thinning out instead in about 8 years [?].

Interviewer: It would be about 50 years before you recover it.

Hermansen: We would never cut it completely in 40 odd years. Not never maybe but normally we have an 80 year rotation and that is for hemlock?].

Interviewer: That is your main 2 trees. What other trees are you interested in reseeding?

Hermansen: Cedar. Young cedar, balsam and some [?] pine in small areas like in railway drive sites

Interviewer: What are the other kind?


Jackpine is not a [?] species is not a [?] species.

Interviewer: You don’t seed spruce do you?

Hermansen: That is through B.C. Forestry. That is because Super Spruce out on the Queen Charlottes and some of it is in the north islands. It is a very important species. Very important to the Queen Charlottes.

Interviewer: I understand when you do this you hire students. Can you say how many you hire to do this during the summer?

Hermansen: We have summer students on this year here.

Interviewer: Working right here.

Interviewer: What about your reforestation say on the island?

Hermansen: Reforestation they don’t hire any students because most of your planting is done before the students come out of universities. So this doesn’t interfere with that.

Interviewer: Tell me the planting season:

Hermansen: If you are looking at planting, we start planting on the east coast of the island in January if you got good weather. But quite often February, March and then we go out through May follow the snow up and we finish about now in the higher elevations and then we do some planting in the Far. We can do planting if we got what we call hot planting when is right out of the container into the ground where the trees actually grow in [?] fall right into [?] the soil moisture mixes up otherwise your into October, November, December.

Interviewer: You don’t do anything in the real hot summer?

Hermansen: No. Not that end of reforestation work. You can get into the spacing in the Summer.

Interviewer: Getting back to seed for just one question. I read a scientific magazine that said in a dry year the seed is actually bigger. Have you noticed this?

Hermansen: It is bigger. In a dry year. Are you talking about Douglas Fir.

Interviewer: This was in Oregon. It would be the evergreens down there.

Hermansen: Actually I would go around and [?]. If you have a good growing season, your cones get bigger. Like whatever way you look at it, in the [?].

Interviewer: Bigger cones, bigger seeds?

Hermansen: Bigger cones, bigger seeds. You don’t get bigger cones in a very, very dry year.

Interviewer: We come to the junctions [?] play. The stop sign, we hit the road going this way. [?] Road continues on up the hill at the end upside the [?Rhone] Trees.

Hermansen When you replant an area, on the reforestation program and it is a tree that will mature faster than it has before, because you have taken all this time and trouble to develop this tree. Doesn’t it take more on the ground because of the fast way it grows. Is there any kind of thing where you kind of deplete the soil over this type of.^É

No. what you are saying is really like this is the whole thing about breeding is that you are trying to be able to grow a better product under the same circumstances. When you look at animals, say you want to breed a bigger animal faster, you need more food. You might need more food but it [does ?] the conversion figure. It is not any different. You looking at the conversion like the good animal this can convert the fruit to meat better than the poor animal. So there is the same sort of thing so it is not really. The same holds for tree fruit. If that tree we are producing from improved seeds needs a special environment to do better then it is not a better tree. That is talking different environments.

Interviewer: How much would you say is environmental influence and how much is genetic?

Hermansen: This is [?] if you look at your plus trees for once and the plus trees you select you can't select them in a better environment than the other ones. It couldn't be sitting in a special little area where they have a little creek running here with lots of water in it. You can't select those kind of trees. That is what I said in the program. You don't select that tree. So also.

Interviewer: You also have to be able to determine the environment you are looking at.

Hermansen: Yes, and also when we are planning the progeny out on test sites to see if these trees are doing better from our cross trees here, they are planted on different sites and they are planted in different type blocks. You might have a block here like make this the planting site here, and we have what is called we'd have a family of tree number one in one block here and we'd have it in the middle and we'd have it down here maybe. Maybe we'd have one up there.

Interviewer: You are growing it in different places to see how it comes out [?]

Hermansen: Sure, oh yeah, the whole design on your plantation is based on that. Non productive citrus trees favors in any way or shape. They gotta all be tested for different [?] and that segmentation you'll have on a different hill somewhere else. Then you take all of number one and compare against number two and against these others, against number two, three, four and five and so the environment there should be eliminated by doing that, by putting them out in different blocks, in different applications so the environment should be out of that. So surely the environment has great influence on everything in every bit of growth. But it doesn't actually, the tree will just grow under certain conditions because it is no good to us. Like as you say if that tree uses more nutrients but it has to be able to convert the nutrients that is there into fibre and that is what we are looking at.

Interviewer: You have mostly [phone rings]

Hermansen: Yeah, right here we have mostly fir at this stage, yes.

Interviewer: Is the most common species in your work is it the Douglas Fir?

Hermansen: We will be [?staying] on having more Douglas Fir here because in the co-operative program there is no [start?] between the foresters and the companies. This company has been assigned hemlock orchards and cedar orchards to produce seed for hemlock and cedar from certain source and fir is not going to be one of the things we reproduce for the other countries, so.

Interviewer: So the work is delegated out?

Hermansen: Yeah that is right there will be a splitting of the work between all different countries in the forestry and everybody is getting certain type of orchards. They will be supplying seed from.

What is the difference between going out in the bush and having a tree grow naturally and having it grow in a clearing? You'll get more even growth in the clearing because everything is planted at the same time but in the natural forest wouldn't it take quite a bit longer for a species to grow to maturity.

Interviewer: Coming up under the canopy of the old trees?

Hermansen: Yeah, OK that is right. It is nature's way. It replenishes itself that way. If the seed is going to fall in between the old trees and is not coming up. In some species now the trees will just die because there is not enough light,like Douglas fir. They will not very likely come up under a dense canopy because there is not enough light. They will just come up to a certain size and then die because they can't really live under that way but hemlock and balsam can stay under that heavy canopy for years and then if a storm comes or an insect say kills the old stand or a man comes in a logs it, all of sudden you see all of these little trees is in there and they start taking off like mad but they up to a point they just stagnate in their growth and they don't do anything but when the old trees grow.

Interviewer: That is when you get your hemlock [?] back is when your trees start to die

Hermansen: This is really what happens. You are looking at the chance. The hemlock and the balsam are coming in under the, cause they can survive in the darkness under the old stands, and they will also be able to grow after the old trees die right away. Hemlock doesn't get that old. A hemlock tree doesn't get more than 500 years old.

Interviewer: It was much more common then, before logging ever began to find these areas, a certain tree here, a certain tree there than it is now.

Hermansen: Yes, it would be because now it has become like a managed sort of thing or partly managed I should say.

Interviewer: Is your company ever going to get into other kinds of wood?

Hermansen: Other species?

Interviewer: Yes, for example, planting whole types of trees that are used in your plywoods?

Hermansen: I don't see it because it is because of specialty trees like you look at hardwoods, we are talking about we got so many good trees here now trees we just talked about.

Interviewer: Your company is all over so it can get those from other [?]

Hermansen: Thats right`, there are some ways if we really want to get into that we don't have to grow them here really. Why not grow the trees that do grow around here That is a logical way of looking at it really.

Interviewer: Say you have a tree found where it is grown naturally and it is uneven in age, size and all this. Is the quality different than the reforested areas.

Hermansen: In the uneven state and uneven stands. Yes it is because you are looking at. You can look at that quite often in your uneven [?extends] you can have [?deceases ? ] hitting the older trees and it might spread to the younger trees. That could be the hemlock, mistletoe for example could be quite bad that way because the mistletoe will come down from the old trees to the younger trees.

Interviewer: What do you call mistletoe?

Hermansen: Dwarf mistletoe. It attacks actually, like you know the mistletoe you have in Britain it is not the dwarf it is different it is the one you hang under the ceiling at Christmas time is the dwarf mistletoe here and it attacks the trees and it actually slows down the growth quite a bit. I can't give you an [?]

Interviewer: I wonder how it would do that?

Hermansen: It is working and it is growing on the trees and it is drawing so much. You can see like these things growing on the old hemlock trees and on witches brooms. Witches Brooms on the hemlock they only cross by the dwarf mistletoe. That is one thing for example that is not very good in [?......?]. Also uneven extends what you are trying to do is even at stand management you are looking at a much easier stand to look after now if you want to go in and thin it your size and your logs are going to be the same at the site as the time of thining and when you come to clear cutting you've got pretty well even sized logs. Now [?] that is going to be much easier to handle than it is to have different sized logs and great big logs and little logs like this. So that would make my life much easier of course. And also uneven stands that some of these trees are going to suffer because you have these big trees and the little trees are not doing that well. If you have a group coming up together like that you get a much better tree but then you can say like a mean, mix stands for example is a beautiful thing to have. You can have all these kinds, mix the different species in there and then you get an even better stand yet but it is still the same [? age structure ?].

Interviewer: I see. You think the mixed stand planting is better than straight anything?

Hermansen: Oh yes. For sure it is.

Interviewer: Your talking about all conifers now?

Hermansen: Not broad leaves at all no because we haven't really got broad leaves here. We haven't got any broad leaves, we could grow broad leaves but these aren't broad leaves now.

Interviewer: I understand that when you do plant a mixture though in the natural conditions there is more room for their roots and whatnot to grow because of the natural thining process. Is this right? They get a little bit more room that way if they do grow in an uneven stand.

Interviewer: In an uneven stand.

Hermansen: Yeah

Uneven edge

Well, if your mixed species...

Interviewer: Well how do you look at it.?

Hermansen: I say in the same 10 year age bracket.

Interviewer: Well if you are talking 10 years, I am not going to worry but...

Well it would reforest within that period wouldn't it? Pretty well.

Hermansen: Yes, it could but you could grind and find uneven stands. I was really. It was a pretty big area. You got all mature veterans sitting in there and then you have an under storey coming up because there wasn't very much of the many old trees left. They got died from maybe a fire, maybe insect attack and there was just a few big trees left in there and then you have all these younger trees coming up but they take a lot of the ground the old trees so the young trees are not really coming in as nice as you would like them. This is [?] it is getting [?] to talk about a [???] or so.

I am not going to worry that much about continuous age spans between trees that is OK. They'll just help each other along and move up that way so that is not a big problem.

Interviewer: A question I was going to ask you has just flown from my mind now. There are a few things I have listed here for ways of growing. Seed stool shoots, natural laying suckers and detached vegetative parts. [?Will] your cuttings are you detached vegetative parts. What are stool shoots?

Hermansen: If your stool shoots you are probably talking about [?] then you are cutting it. The tree down at a certain height and they start sprouting from that point coming back up again. You will see that in aspen for example. Aspen comes out very nicely that way. You can come in and clear an aspen stand and they come out like mad from the roots and they also come up from suckers from the roots. They'll come anyway you like it but you can do the [?poplar] for example. The poplar you can do that. When you talk about stool bit in poplars where you actually have a clone a proper plant and the new ones you get lots of vegetative material off that, you just cut it off about 2 feet or 1 foot off the ground now at that point in the same year and the next year they just shoot up like mad. You can get maybe 10 or 15 cuttings off that area which is very practical and handy.

Interviewer: Timber cruiser [?] determines what trees are ready to be cut?

Hermansen: No.

Interviewer: Who is it?

Hermansen: We are not into refined forest management yet. A timber cruiser is a guy who goes out and measures the volume of trees, volume per acre. That is what a cruiser do. He'll go out and find out what kind of species we have and what kind of volume we have per acre that is his job. Who examines when trees are to be cut. That should be the forester's job.

Interviewer: What I meant is in your tree farm license areas, does the company do that job?

Hermansen: Oh yeah, we put in what we call a logging permit. The tree farm license is in the government land we get a tree farm license. We put in there got to be a logging [?] prepared and logging [?] got to be approved by the BC Forest Service so in a sense they determine [?] but when you are up against this, you are logging mature trees and all these trees are really really for cutting, [?none] of them are. Some are more some are less so we should do all the time is to be able to cut the trees that is mature to the point that they are getting over mature where they are loosing their tops and they are breaking up and they start to rot. That is the trees you should cut before you cut anything else because you can get trees that are 500 years old and they look beautiful and they are in good shape. You can leave those until you get all the trees that are dying from different diseases.

Interviewer: Selective logging is what you'd like to do?

Hermansen: No, I don't say it is selective logging I am talking about take a look at whole areas where you say, here is an area a stand of timber that is just on it's way out, it is going to die pretty soon. You got to log that before you log that stand across the road because that stand across the road might be 500 years old but it is still reasonably healthy.

Interviewer: So, the health of the tree.

Hermansen: The health determines what you should actually take. I mean but also you should actually try to get there before they grow to far down, because you can loose an awful lot of root and root is an important thing in this Province. We got to make the best of it.

Interviewer: I know we've got a wood burning furnace wood combination this year. We had to open doors and windows. The oil doesn't give us the same heat.

Hermansen: No

Interviewer: But it is an extremely efficient model we are so glad that we burn 4 cords and I don't think we burn a barrel of oil through the rest of the winter so it is just [?]

Hermansen: Now the plant fibres that are produced from the tree are what is broken down in this process to produce pulp, the heavy fibre. If there is another pulp mill going to move here, how could they possibly reduce their water intake as much as they say to get the same product in the end. Don't you need alot of water use. What is their process going to be compared to yours?

It is the same mechanical process, I don't really know enough about it to say how. It isn't the same as we have at Harmac no and I must say I should care but it is not one of the things that is really in my interest. I like to grow things. I'm not really into the process as such, it doesn't really interest me enough I guess. It is a different process of pulp breaking [?] is talking about so I guess they will probably not be talking the same quality of work as we are using here. We are looking at a complete different process.

Interviewer: What does your mill use a day [?]. 65,000,000 gallons a day.

Hermansen: Something like that.

Interviewer: I know my cousin is in a bleach plant and he says that one Summer when they went over there [?]

Hermansen: I don't really know enough I guess about pulping.

Interviewer: You got company officials in the reforestation office in town. Who are they and what do they do? [??????]

Hermansen: We got the Manager and I can't remember exactly what his title is anymore. We got a man that is in charge of our group which is reforestation and [?] and then we have the geneticist and we got a horticulturist and that is pretty well the people in this end. Then we got into the different groups of people. We got into the people that [?] trees like [?maturationists] they are measuring the growth in trees and finding out how much trees they grow. So we have a 1,000 - 1,500 [? trucks/trunks] out scattered all over the place and these trunks are being measured regularly to find out to see how well trees they grow and giving us an idea on our yearly growth. And then we got others, we got the inventory section that is completely involved in taking care of [?volume] at which we are growing on crown land and owned land so we can say we got so much we are growing. I guess we got this size you pretty well got to know what you have out there.

Interviewer: What about your silvaculturist? What exactly does he do? Is he in charge of the whole thing?

Hermansen: That is a big question. He has been [?] us up working quite a bit on [?] on planting [?] and mixed trees for different sites.

So that is what he has been up to A lot of work on that and splitting into vegetation zones.

Interviewer: When you say zones? What is that?

Hermansen: Vegetation zones. Certain plants will do better in this particular area than others and he has been working hard on getting this laid out and he is into the soils. What kind of soil can produce what and what should you plant.

Interviewer: Do you get into fertilizers nowadays?

Hermansen: Yes we are fertilizing.

Interviewer: Where?

Hermansen: We fertilized in Chemainus last year.

Interviewer: When your Chemainus division does this mean a trial plot of so many acres or the whole thing?

Hermansen: It was a 1,000 acres, I'm sure they fertilized, for the year.

Interviewer: Is it a [?] fertilizer?

Hermansen: Actually it seemed to be an [?] source.

Interviewer: It would be something like a gardener would use then in pellet form.

Hermansen: Yes, it would be pellet shaped.

Interviewer: From the air.

It is usually urea we are using 45% [?]

Interviewer: That is strong.

Hermansen: That does increase your growth considerably.


If you get the trees right age, right size. You can't go out and put fertilizer on a big old tree and expect it to grow like mad. But the fertilized projects grow.

Interviewer: Is there anything else you want to add.

I was going to ask you too. Is there some way that the age of a tree can be determined without cutting the rings.

Hermansen: Without cutting the rings

You can count the whirls, that is a simple way. Without cutting it down. [?] taking a bore like this. What is called increment boring.

Interviewer: What was that? Increment boring.

And with increment boring, you bore that into the tree and you extract the core sample and you can count on the rings and get the age that way. And you can make a very small hole and it doesn't harm the trees. We use this for other things. Determining specific gravity of the trees.

Interviewer: What is that all about?

Hermansen: Specific Gravity - you are talking about trees we are probably looking at hemlock. Hemlock tree with the highest specific gravity might give more [?] from it. By looking at that.

Interviewer: Is that the density you are talking about?

Yeah. Specific gravity is the weight of water. I should remember the definition but you are talking about. Specific gravity is if you put this in water and the amount of water it pushes out is. You don't remember that from school.

Interviewer: No.

That is what it comes down too anyway. And the higher the specific gravity you have the heavier the wood is. Then you are looking at a better product for the mill because you get a better return in your fibre [?]

Interviewer: I'd like you to name your main bug foes and your main disease foes while I am still talking to your here.

Hermansen: The disease you are talking about is root rot.

Interviewer: They are in Goldstream and places like that.

They are all over.

Interviewer: What is root rot?

Hermansen: A fungus growth and these [?] are really bad in some areas and you can't put anything back on again for awhile without them attacking the new young trees.

Interviewer: How do you kill off that. With potatoes you are told not to plant them for 6 years or you will get a blight in every year. Is this the same thing you have to go through.

Hermansen: Yes, in some degree, if you have a really bad area of root rot then you are guilty of looking at any species that is less susceptible to the root rot than others. We have one species for example the white pine is less susceptible, you can use white pine. The only white pine can get hit with the [?pistol rot] and the [?pistol rot] kills dead. That is a real bad disease in the white pines.

Interviewer: What are other diseases then?

Hermansen: Diseases we are really talking root rots as number one and then you are talking the rusts in the white pine and then you get into insects. Alot of different defoliating insects.

Interviewer: Defoliating insects they eat many times their weight every day. What is your worst pest and your second and third?

Hermansen: Hemlock [lukkers ?] and the spruce bud worm. The wooly [?] in the balsam but the wooly acres seem to have drawn its own boundaries to some degree and it has not moved very far in the last many years.

Interviewer: We have trees in our yard that have died standing there.. odd ones. We go over to the bark and every branch is dead, it has suddenly in one year's time or less turned from a green tree into a dead tree and there are little holes in the bark every so often all around. There is nothing outside the hole there is just a hole. Obviously something has drilled it's way, some kind of bug has attached the tree.

Hermansen: Was that done before it died or after?

Interviewer: I don't know I think it must have been what killed it because every single tree has it.

Hermansen: That kind of tree?

Interviewer: A type of fir. Now balsam is a fir too.

Hermansen: Balsam is a true fir. Douglas Fir is not a fir

Interviewer: I'd say it was fir.

You don't know what this would be.?

Hermansen: I don't think a sap sucker would kill the tree

These are just [?] trees. Something has flown in and invaded the tree and then disappeared.

It could be a defoliate of some kind that has killed. This is the sort of thing. What is killing it and what is [?] it on. It could be root rot also. Did you cut the trees down?

Interviewer: They are on top of the hill. I don't think so. But every dead tree has those holes. I sent one of them away to find out what it was. They couldn't tell from the bark what it was. I just sent them a sample with say three holes in it.

Interviewer: I think this will do.

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