Poorly shaped black cherry trees

Don Staples dstaples at livingston.net
Thu Oct 9 11:33:52 EST 1997

Michael Courtney wrote:
> There are a number of poorly shaped black cherry trees at our farm.
> Most are less than 12" and shaped in such a way as it's obvious they
> will not produce 8' sawlogs later in life.  4' and 6' logs are
> possible, but not 8'.  On the recommendation of my forester, I'll be
> going through and taking out a number of poorly shaped trees (various
> species) to make more room for the nicely shaped trees.  These poorly
> shaped trees will be used for firewood.  However, I am considering
> leaving the poorly shaped cherry trees because my forester mentioned
> that mills sometimes get so desparate for cherry that they will
> still pay good money for poorly shaped trees/short logs.  Is it reasonable
> to expect that these poorly shaped cherry trees might be more valuable than
> the nicely shaped maple and poplar which would benefit from their removal?

True enough, that it is hard to predict 20 years from now on pricing. 
So, there will be a sales value of short logs (exists now in some areas)
but at a reduced rate. I would suspect that the trees are not as
productive if they are this short, and are producing a lot of top wood,
rather than stem.  It is usually a good bet to clear out the really poor
ones for maximized growth on the residual stand.  But, look at stand
diversity by species, what other benefits do you gain from the cherry? 
You get wild life benefits, and a visual benefit.  If the stand is
dense, clear em out and concentrate on the good stems, plant some cherry
in openings and work towards a logable stem.

Your forester is probably talking to you about options, and leaving a
final decision to you as to what your end goals may be.  Talk to him,
quiz him on value now, potential growth (what are the trees doing,
volume wise, at this time?), stand composition.  He knows demand is
going up yearly, for grade material.  He may detect a reluctance to
cutting the stems, to a sanitation cut as it were.  He also knows that
grades change, and that the short stock "may" become of value.  Do you
want to gamble, or bet on a sure thing?

Good luck.
Don Staples

My Ego Stroke:  http://www.livingston.net/dstaples/

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