Pruning for profit

Michael Hagen mhagen at
Tue Feb 4 12:15:59 EST 1997

Jamie Simpson wrote:
> The research site I work on is pruned every year with the goal of
> creating veneer quality logs.  However, we have to prune to allow the
> farm equipment access to the crops - yep, that's right - we're
> practicing agroforestry.  Widely spaced trees with crops growing between
> (corn, beans winter wheat in rotation).  As there is no competition from
> the side the trees must be pruned to preserve any sawlog qualities.  We
> expect to receive a significant premium from logs that may be of veneer
> quality.  For instance, a mature black walnut veneer quality log (~60
> yrs old) may sell for $1500 Cdn or more.  Pruning is done with a pole
> pruner up to 16 feet (or higher if possible).  This is not a difficult
> job when you get the hang of it.

"Not difficult" is not quite how I would phrase pruning.  I have fond
memories of time spent in the YCC in central Wisconsin pruning Red Pine
in plantations.  We pruned to 16 feet, all summer...  Because of their
size, tradition and log buyers attitudes, West coast conifers are less
amenable to such culture. However, that doesn't mean that I wouldn't
recommend it sometimes.  Local milling allows a shorter log to be used. 
You just have to side step the Bureau scalers to recoup the value you've
added to the log.

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