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  1. #1
    Elite Member Richard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Knoxville, TN
    Fullsized JCB Loader/Backhoe

    Default How to thin out pine trees?

    My father in law has a tract of land 20 miles away from where we all live. he had the timber cleared on a section of it and today, there is a thick stand of pine trees, probably around 10 years old.

    We drove by it yesterday and he said they'd be a lot nicer if they were thinned out some to give them room to grow.

    I speculate this is maybe a 10 acre tract of land.

    Looking at the density of the pine trees, you are not going to easily thin out the interior trees without creating some damage driving in/out.

    So, I asked him... what if you simply walked through them and cut the target trees down and let them lay on the ground to rot?

    "ohhhhhhhh, that would be bad"

    I asked what would be the problem there....would they not simply rot away after several years.

    "well, yes, I suppose they would"

    and then the subject pretty much went by the wayside.

    So, I'll ask here...

    If you have a thicket of pine trees and want them thinned, would you want/need to remove the downed trees or would it be ok to leave them in place to rot on their own?

    I would think by leaving them in place, you could VASTLY speed up the thinning process and you would not need to do something with them (burn?)

    I think they're too small for the paper mills (merely a guess on my part).


  2. #2
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Saltspring Island, BC, Canada
    Kubota L3130HST

    Default Re: How to thin out pine trees?

    This link gives some guidance on thinning. In our neck of the woods slash is usually piled in a clearing and left to rot. We have very dry summers here so leaving it in place increases fire risk. Some land owners burn their slash piles during the wet season. I haven't done so with mine - it provides a wild life habitat and will eventually rot down quite well after which I'll spread it on the forest floor.

  3. #3
    Gold Member Slacker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Durham, NC
    Farmtrac 360 TLB

    Default Re: How to thin out pine trees?

    My first thought was a mulcher head on a track steer.
    Farmtrac 360 TLB with lots of stuff that hooks to the back.

  4. #4
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Southern Wisconsin, USA
    JD_4x2_Gator, JD_4300, JD_X485, JD_425, JD_455, JD_110

    Default Re: How to thin out pine trees?

    A lot will depend on the species of pine, the history of the stand, and where your FIL wants to go with the stand in the future. Likely a southern yellow pine stand?? Planted or self seeded?

    I'd strongly suggest getting in touch with a local forester and find out if there is a market to pay for the thinning, or if there is a need at this stage to do anything. Its possible the stand will self thin with some of the dominant trees taking over leaving the lesser trees behind. All depends on what stage the stand is at.

    Surely nothing wrong with cutting and leaving them lay, but easier to just hack and squirt to kill the tree and let it die and fall whenever. There may be other things to remove at the same time to improve the stand. Talk with a forester.

  5. #5
    Elite Member schoolsout's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Awendaw, SC
    Massey Ferguson 1533

    Default Re: How to thin out pine trees?

    we've got about 50 acres of pines that maybe 7-9 years old or so. They were planted, but not very neatly (that's another story)

    We talked to our forester about thinning them out and he said just to let them keep on growing. Eventually, it will thin itself out naturally (to a point)
    __________________________________________________ _______
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  6. #6
    Veteran Member Treemonkey1000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Renton, Washington
    Kubota L3750

    Default Re: How to thin out pine trees?

    I think beentheres advice is right. Sort of depending on long range goals you might have. I sort of favor thinning when they aren't too big so they can drop and not badly damage other trees. Sure they can grow all at once. Survival of the fittest and all of that. With selective clearing now you will get larger trees sooner when they aren't all fighting for sun light and water. The fire hazard is another aspect.
    They can lay on the ground and rot back in of course. Skidding them out to a large pile decreases burning material for a forest fire. If they are large enough for firewood sell some of that.
    Creating a few bird trees is a good idea so that they can help control insects. Or hang some bat house around the area.
    Talk with a Forester or Agriculture specialist and see what they can offer.
    1st Peter 1:6-9

  7. #7
    Super Member houstonscott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Oglesby, Texas
    Kubota L3800, Kubota GR2120, Kubota RTV1100, Kubota 5100sc

    Default Re: How to thin out pine trees?

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