prunning trees

Joseph Zorzin redoak at
Fri Apr 10 04:51:07 EST 1998

Larry Caldwell wrote:
> In article <352C0C1D.1656 at>, alan haley <ahaley at> 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.
> All my comments are good for softwoods like fir and pine.  I know nothing
> about pruning hardwoods.
> You will get a substantial price premium for 17' clear logs IF you
> get paid for the logs based on grade at the mill.  If you sell them
> as stumpage you will probably get screwed.

Probably true because the stumpage buyer has no way of knowing just how
good a job of pruning you did and when. The value of the wood could vary
by several hundred percent so a payment based on mill tally and grade is
the best way to go.

> The profit of pruning is iffy.  I have gone to just pruning during the
> holiday season, when I can sell the boughs as Christmas greens.  Also,
> you should probably buy a chainsaw on a pole so you can prune 17' while
> standing flat footed on the ground.  If you start climbing ladders you
> will waste too much time.  To make it profitable you have to move pretty
> fast.

I also agree that the profit of pruning is iffy. There are some studies
available that "prove" a high rate of return, but you would have done
better with the stock market for pure investment. But if you don't even
count your labor as a cost, and if you like the way it looks- which
should also add slightly the property value, I encourage pruning. Just
don't prone EVERY tree. Put your investment into the trees that will be
there for decades and actually grow knot free lumber- and of course some
trees for aesthetic reasons- just not every tree- or you won't get many
acres done.

JZ, CF (cyber forester)

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