prunning trees

Joseph Zorzin redoak at
Thu Apr 9 04:27:59 EST 1998

alan haley wrote:
> I have been spending free time prunning the fir,spruce, cedar and pine
> that are growing on a lot that I recently pruchased.  Although it takes
> up hours of time, I enjoy it.  My wife has recently started insisting
> that I spend more time on profitable things (like working in the yard or
> barn).  I insist that this will pay off in the long run, like in 20
> years or so.   Is this so?  In what ways will the growth be better for
> the prunning and is it really cost effective considering the days that I
> spend.  Also, are there any rules of thumb for a height to prune.

Basic rules-

1. Prune young stands in which most trees are 5-10" DBH (diam. at breast

2. Only prune those trees likely to grow to full size- those that will
survive the thinnings prior to the final harvest. If in a mature stand
of whatever species, the typical spacing is say for example 20' then
look for good candidates that far apart. Only trees that are going to
grow knot free wood to maturity are going to give you a pay back on your
time and expense, if you want to really get fanatic about the economics.
Doing much more may be fun and improve the aesthetics of the stand, but
is not economical as an investment, unless you discount your labor cost.

3. Usually it pays to prune to the top of the first log (plus stump) to
about 17'. Beyond that, you'll grow less know free lumber on the second
log and of lower quality, and the cost goes up dramatically because of
the difficulty.

3. Get good tools for this and do it correctly, prune close to the bark,
but don't sever the little swell of callus tissue that you often see
near the base of branches. If you see that swell, prune to the outside
of the swell, for faster healing. Be careful to NOT injure the bark of
the tree, especially during the growing season when the bark is looser.

4. You might be able to get a subsidy under various gov. programs. Talk
to a local forestry consultant, or if your area isn't so BLESSED with
those professionals, call your County Forester or State Service
Forester, for further techniques and info about subsidies.

J.Z., CBFM (cyberspace forestmeister)
"Still, after a year, the only forestry web page in the otherwise
sophisticated state of Massachusetts"

"In wilderness is the preservation of the world."
Henry David Thoreau

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