Pine Thinning

More often than not, thinning is done by mechanical row thinning. In this case they cut an entire row of trees every 45-60 feet apart. Then, certain trees are removed from between the rows. This has proven to be an effective and efficient way to operate a thinning. In some cases, on smaller tracts, the project can be marked for a thinning. This ensures that the better trees are left in the woods but many buyers prefer to avoid the constraints it imposes. You should be aware that not all loggers have the skill and experience to conduct a successful thinning. It is vitally important that care be exercised in both the selection of trees and the removal of trees so that the future crop trees are capable of responding to the increased space to grow and not damaged in any way. A list of local pine thinning operators is available upon request. Timber expert shows why thinning planted pine increases profit Overcrowding is not the only thing that makes tree growth slow down. If crowding is not the problem, then thinning is not the (whole) solution. On nutrient-poor sites, particularly in the flatwoods, trees stop growing because certain key nutrients are no longer available. They need fertilizer and/or weed control (to free up nutrients that had been taken up by understory vegetation). Once the nutrient problem is remedied, a thinning might eventually be worthwhile. Also, there are quite a few cases of slash pine being planted on soils that are too well-drained for that species. When those stands practically stop growing, thinning won't help. There may be nothing you can do except hope the trees manage to get big enough to sell before you have to cut them down. Then, start over with a species that is more suitable to that kind of site (longleaf or sand pine). A recent study by U.S. Forest Service and university researchers shows that thinning and prescribed fire can protect stands of southern pines on a landscape level from infestations by southern pine beetle. The results, published online in the Journal of Forestry, also provide first-time confirmation of the effectiveness of the treatments supported by the Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program (SPBPP) to reduce stand susceptibility to the southern pine beetle in the southeastern U.S. Forest health is the focus of forest management and the purpose of thinning. The primary purpose of thinning is to remove poor performing trees and leave a healthy, vigorous stand. A healthy forest produces more tons of valuable timber per acre resulting in more tons of higher quality wood available to sell. The various insects and diseases that affect pine stands in the South have evolved to exploit unhealthy, stagnated or damaged trees that are stressed. Healthy pine stands resist insect, disease and wind related damage. If done early in the pines development thinning is an important tool in preventing problems with insects, diseases or other stresses such as wildlfire or strong winds. Please take note: the above example applies only to certain type of stand on a certain type of site. If you are dealing with old field plantations, upland or sandhill sites, other species of pine, or poorer or better (fertilized) flatwoods sites, the yields and the timing of thinning and final harvest will probably differ from this example. In particular, old field plantations are likely to grow faster, permitting a first thinning for present income and optimum future stand growth around age 14-16. Also, especially if you're growing loblolly or longleaf pines, you may want to consider rotations longer than 30 years and more than one thinning. Pine tree thinning is a key management practice that can increase the long-term productivity and profitability of a timber stand. Thinning is a partial tree harvest of inferior trees in an immature stand used to accelerate the diameter growth of the superior trees that remain. This accelerated growth is the result of a reduced tree population, which reduces the competition for light, water, and nutrients. If it is done properly, thinning can bring substantially higher revenues from the remaining trees when they are harvested at 25 to 40 years of age. Word Count: 684

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