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Forest Management

Living in a forest comes with responsibilities; trees are dynamic organisms – often competing with other trees for water, nutrients, light and space. In a dense forest these resources become limited so trees become stressed then vulnerable to a variety of ailments.

Fire is a great risk to trees, property and homes. Land owners should be proactive and manage their forest to modify fire behavior in order to create a defensible space. We offer fuel reduction work; following closely the specifications and standards provided by the state. Not only do we have many years in arboriculture, we offer years of experience in wildland firefighting and forestry to consult on your property. Our expertise can help you establish and execute a long term fuel reduction and forest health management plan.


Mistletoe &


Before human development and logging, the Flathead Valley’s upper canopy was dominated by old growth Larch and Pine. The two species were well equipped for the area, sporting deep tap roots to find water during dry years and stability in tough, rocky soils as well as protection from fire. 

After logging, Douglas fir grew back much quicker, becoming the dominant species of the upper canopy and creating a monoculture in some areas. Now, 50-100 years later, we are experiencing the negative side effects of these monocultures, like the easy spread of Dwarf Mistletoe, Armillaria root rot, and Flatheaded wood borer as well as other beetle pests. Fir also has a shallow root structure, making it susceptible to uprooting in heavy winds and less hardy during periods of drought when trees need to go deeper for moisture. Just in these past few years we’ve started to see massive die-off of the firs in the valley.

The sooner you can start considering altering or assisting the diversity of your forest, the better chance it has of retaining health in the near future. Weeding out weaker individuals and planting are two strategies we use to push Larch and Pine back to the top of the canopy. Pheromone packets can also help protect against Doug fir beetle, and Dillon Distributing out of Missoula is a great resource for those. Give us a call and we can either consult or execute a plan of action.


Misguided, but well-intended strategies of the late 1800's led to decades of fire suppression in our National Forest Land. These policies, combined with hotter, drier summers has led to the worst, most destructive decade of forest fires in history. Keeping your property thinned and healthy can keep your home and property safe in the event of an unpredictable natural disaster. Funds are available from the State of Montana to subsidize the cost of this service. The DNRC or Swan Connections are great resources to contact about receiving funding to make your property fire safe.

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