Town & Country
Name: Dale J. Cartwright, DMD
In Town: Dale Cartwright has been a dentist since 1954. He's a dentist today because he had an uncomfortable childhood. Dale explained that he was missing four teeth in front. He said, “Whenever I smiled, you’d see two teeth and nothing but gaps all the way back. You know how kids will be when you’re growing up. I was Fang, Bucky, Beaver, Wolf, and all sorts of derogatory names. Back in those days you could not put in permanent bridgework until you were 18.” At 18, he got his bridges. “I could smile like everybody else. That’s when I decided ‘I’m going to be a dentist.’” Dale’s dentistry practice is in Cabool, Mo.
In the Country: Dale got into tree farming in 1959. He took a course seven years ago at West Plains to be a Master Tree Farmer. He explains that a Master Tree Farmer is “one who has had training. It involves management of the soil, management of the trees, proper harvesting, wildlife management, and a certain amount of grassland management in with the trees.”
A partner with his sister-in-law, two nieces, and nephew, Dale owns 815 acres. His trees are grown for timber, logs, poles, and posts. He said, “We’re finishing a thinning harvest of pines that we planted 30 years ago and we’re going to get some pretty good size poles out of it. The next harvest will be for logs.”
His Favorite Tree?
“Perhaps the walnut. I love the appearance and texture of the wood. I like to eat the nuts. They are a very efficient tree.”
Biggest mistake people make regarding their trees?
“On the farm, if you raise livestock, the biggest mistake you can make with your timber is to not fence your livestock out, because they will get in and trample the top layer of soil and compact it and damage the rootlets that come up to get moisture and nourishment. But if you do graze timberland, you need to get the livestock in, not let them stay too long and get them out. We raise livestock, too. The other mistake is just letting nature take its course, and not managing your forest. That would be like planting a bunch of corn and leaving it and hoping you get a crop."