This course reviews the definition of rutting, associated problems, and how to avoid rutting damage.

Supplemental material is available for this course:

Excessive rutting during a harvest operation can cause many problems.

  1. Rutting can limit access to the tract.
  2. Rutting can cause losses of productivity during operations.
  3. Damage can be very expensive to repair.
  4. The soil compaction from rutting can limit the sites growing potential for future trees.
  5. Rutting can change the hydrology of the tract and channel water flowing on the tract, causing erosion problems.
  6. Rutting can ultimately have serious impacts to water quality, especially if the ruts are channeling water directly into nearby streams or other water bodies.

The BMP Handbook considers rutting to be excessive when the average rut depth exceeds six inches over a distance of more than 50 feet. Rutting may also be considered excessive if it is found across the majority of a tract, even if it does not meet the six inches and 50 foot long criteria.

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