Thursday, May 21, 2009

Operation OP-367

If you know what an OP-367 is, you might be as big of nerd as I am. Last night my wife, my parents and I planted 300 hybrid poplars on our acreage. Clone OP-367 to be specific. What was the purpose, you may be thinking. It is the birth of my future wood lot. Why poplars? Poplars grow fast and can regenerate from the stump once cut down. Poplars are a hardwood, albeit a softer hardwood.

Here's the plan: you plant a quarter acre a year of the poplar cuttings for four years in succession. Every year (after the fourth year) you harvest a quarter acre for firewood. The trees will be about 4-6 inches in diameter, a good sized log that doesn't need to be split. Just cut it into length for the wood stove. Each quarter acre should yield 3 cords of wood their first cutting and 5 each cutting after.

Poplars aren't as good for firewood as say oak, but they will yield more BTUs per acre when planted on 6' centers.

The little buggers came in bags of 25.

You plant them so that only one bud is showing out of the ground. That's a Sakakawea dollar next to it. It was the only change my Dad had in his pocket.

My Wife and my Mom doing some final watering.

I tried to mulch around each one with mulch to retain moisture.


  1. We have used a wood-burner for 30-odd years, we used to get a lop & top licence from the Forestry Commission (in England) and gathering kept us going nicely. In recent years where we now live there is no Forestry Commission plantation, so we buy in. Everyone now seems to want to burn wood, so the price of course has gone up. So your method appeals greatly, sadly we don't have that much land here, so I'll just have to warm my hands on your blog!

  2. We love heating with our wood burner. Currently we burn waste wood that we scrounge from people removing troublesome trees. It is a bit of a pain and unreliable. Thus, the planting of the woodlot. You are right, though, it does require at least an acre and is not viable for everyone.

  3. For some reason this is the most viewed page of my blog (I just figured out that I could view my stats). I haven't had great success with my firewood farm, but I also haven't given up.

    I have about 100 poplars in my garage for the winter, and I took a bunch more cuttings for next year. With building the house this year, we didn't have as much time to dedicate to this venture.

    I am definitely planning on picking it up again next spring.

  4. My wife and I are about to start on our own OP-367 experiment in Texas. We are starting with 100 cuttings and an open-ended plan to plant as many acres as we can with this hybrid (contingent on performance and appeal of course).

    There isn't much call for firewood around here, but there is a huge need for reforestation to replace the large amount of cedars that are being cleared.

    Hope to see more about your project soon.

  5. How far has your field progressed? No posts since 2011

  6. This project failed for me. I tried a couple times with the OP-367 hybrid with no luck. Partially because I couldn't give it my full attention during constructin. I currently have about 10 hybrid poplars that are 4-6 ft tall that I got from our soil conservation district. I am taking cuttings off of those to propagate them now that I have more time to dedicate to tree planting.