Before Export officials begin selectively timbering property the borough owns in Murrysville, they want to make sure they are getting enough bang for their buck.
The financial benefits of starting a timber management program on the borough’s roughly 74-acre property on Borland Farm Road have been called into question.
The borough’s forestry consultant, Dave O’Barto, will reevaluate the cost of periodically applying herbicide to undergrowth on the property, Solicitor Wes Long said at a council meeting Aug. 6.
Even with applying herbicide, O’Barto said the undergrowth will return, Long told council.
Aside from potential herbicide cost, Long also noted the market for hardwoods like cherry and oak “is pitiful.”
“(Timbering) has to make economic sense, especially if the undergrowth is going to come back,” Long said, suggesting council may want to wait for market conditions to improve.
Roughly a year ago, O’Barto spoke with council about a management plan for the property.
“The harvesting I’d propose would be a ‘seed-tree harvest’ to allow sunlight to the forest floor and spur growth,” O’Barto said.
Before that happens, however, the undergrowth must be addressed to control invasive species.
“It’s an ongoing process,” O’Barto said. “You’ll never eradicate all of it. Bad stuff’s going to come back, especially Japanese stiltgrass. I see it everywhere I go, and it’s bad.”
Councilman John Nagoda said maintaining the property is worthwhile.
“There’s 70 acres there,” Nagoda said. “We have a piece of land that can be a valuable asset. If we can make some money, great. But the goal is managing the land.”