Cutting or Thinning Mature Tree Stands
I have 46 acres of woods and many many trees that are in the 12 to 20 inch
in diameter but very tall and straight. The type of trees are mainly red
oak and black oak some white oak, hickory and a few gum. My question is
should I cut some out or let them just grow as the woods now is a
beautiful place and hate to see loggers tear it up with equipment. I would
guess that I would have at least 500 and maybe more of this size. Are
these trees worth anything now are should I wait till they grow somemore.
I would appreciate your comments on this as I need some help. And what
would be the best way to to cut or thin them out without tearing up the
Dear Mr. Mashek,
My family owns an approximately 56-acre tree farm, so we have had some
experience with tree culture. The best advice I can offer you is to find
out if your county has a county forester. These folks are an excellent
resource for small-time tree growers like us. They can inspect your woods,
offer advice on choosing a logger to whom to sell your trees, and fill you
in on how the business works. If your county does not have a forester,
check with your state university to find its nearest agricultural extension
office. They also can give you lots of advice and guidance on making the
most of your resource.
Your trees do sound like they might be a bit on the small side, but they
are fairly high-value timber. A logger may be interested. We were very
lucky with the logger who harvested several plots of our woods - he took
only the trees that were designated, and the logging road he cleared is now
very difficult to find. Clear-cutting is not the only way to harvest a
Good luck! Small private forests are both an important natural resource
and a vital refuge for wildlife.
Richard Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
There are various management strategies like pruning, cleaning, thinning as
alternatives to heavy logging.
Anthony R. Brach, Ph.D.
This is too complicated an issue to answer without seeing the site and
discussing with you in detail what exactly you want from the property. I
don't know where you are but most states have agricultural and forestry
extension services eager to answer just these kinds of questions. Value
depends on where you are, what kind of market there is, etc. Also if you are
near a national forest they probably have foresters who could help you. Good
J. Elliott (a once long ago forestry professional)
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Update: June 2012