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Forest Management for a newbie.

Joseph Zorzin redoak at forestmeister.com
Fri Aug 21 05:52:48 EST 1998

Tracy. E. Thieret wrote:
> Folks,
> I own a few acres (11) near the Adirondacks that is overgrown with trees
> and I suspect that it would be prudent to thin some of them out.  One
> area (a couple acres) is a small pine forest populated with trees spaced
> every 10 feet that have green needles only near the tops (30 feet up or
> so).  The remainder is mixture hard/softwoods with some LARGE multi
> trunk pines (>1foot diameter each) and some moderately sized hardwoods
> and a multiude of smaller (3-6" trunks) trees.

> What are the rules to follow in doing the thinning.  Should I touch it
> at all, leave it alone..  Keep the big ones and cut out the little
> ones.  One tree every 20 or so feet....
> I'm clueless.  There's got to be somebody on this list who knows more
> about this than I do.  I've got a chain saw and I'm ready to go but I
> want to do the right thing.
> Tracy.

In the pine section you may notice that many have broken, twisted or
multiple tops (leaders). This sort of damage is common and caused by the
white pine weevil. You won't go wrong if you remove about a third of the
trees, looking for the worse third to remove, especially those with
damaged tops.

In the mixed species area, look for species of higher value such as
oaks, sugar maple, ash and cherry. Try to favor these by removing lower
value species such as poplar, red maple, beech, birch, basswood. Most
softwood would probably be of lower value compared to the better species
of hardwood. This of course is a generality because a tree may the right
species but a poor specimen- so it should be removed in that case to
favor a good specimen of a relatively "bad" species. Once again, you
probably won't go wrong removing about one third of the trees- or one
third of the biomass.

Don't worry too much about the smaller trees, but if you do get into
thinning them, just look to benefit the more valuable species.

Prune the better pines, up to 17' height if you can find yourself a good
pruning saw but not more than about 1 every 20' on average. The goal is
to prune those that will likely remain until a final rotation- at least
as far as a strict economic consideration- but if you get into it, just
keep pruning all you want.

Joseph Zorzin, Yankee Forestmeister
"Still, after 18 months and counting, the only forestry web page in the
otherwise sophisticated state of Massachusetts, the Athens of the
western hemisphere."
"In wilderness is the preservation of the world."
Henry David Thoreau

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