Pine stand pruning?

Joseph Zorzin redoak at
Sun Jun 22 17:07:57 EST 1997

Richard Barnes wrote:
> Can anyone provide sources of info or answers to the problem of pine
> pruning under the following conditions?
> The stand is nine years old.
> First thinning will be pulpwood/4x4 sawmill logs.
> All other thinnings except the very last will go into sawlogs for our small
> home sawmill.

Of course the best answer might depend on where you are and the species

> Will pruning make a significant difference in log/lumber quality under
> these conditions?

There was a discussion on this subject here about a month ago. Most
foresters probably agree it's a good idea to prune, but the rate of
return on your investment is debatable. But only prune those trees
likely to ramain to full rotation.

> Should only shade killed branches be removed or live ones also up to some
> established height?

It's OK to prune live branches, but a good general rule is to leave
about 40% of the height of the tree in live crown- at least in
Massachusetts; elsewhere I'm not sure what the rule is.

> Tools preferred for the job?

Almost any kind of prunning tools will be OK. I use a very small chain
saw on the lower branches and a series of pole saws up to 17'.

> What season is best? Tolerable?

I don't think this is critical.

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