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Thinning stand too late


I am looking at building a cabin on my woodlot. There is a dominantly spruce and fir stand in front of where I want the cabin to go that grew up from an old field about 40-50 years ago. It doesnít look like it was ever thinned.

Because itís so close to the cabin, I need to thin it out a lot for fire protection and so that the cabin wonít be in total shade as much. But the problem is when I cut away the edge of that forest, looking into the cross-section of that forest is very ugly with all the dead limbs most of the way up the trees.

I am wondering if with the new exposure to sunlight, these trees will develop new branches and needles lower in the trees, or if thinning needs to be done younger?

I grew up in northern Maine, spruce and fir was predominant for the most part, and I don't think I ever saw a single tree that put out new limb growth (epicormic branching) below the canopy for any reason.  

The new branching from dormant interwhorl buds is more likely in young trees. If you've got 50 plus foot fir, chances are slim and mainly little insignificant twigs if any. Main thing is leave the dominant type trees that have some of the larger girths. Skinny bean poles are likely to break off. A 50 foot fir should be 16+ inches across, not 8 or 10", for wind firmness sake. ;D Tree spacing will influence your crown height, the longer it is left alone the shorter the crown becomes. It lifts from the bottom up. Could always use a 40V Ryobi pole saw to remove some dead stuff. I tried one this week, it doesn't damage the trunk surprisingly. I've got about 50 acres of fir that was spaced already, I'm spacing again to get some undergrowth from all them seed trees. Mines not 30 years old, but 40 foot, been growing more than 12" in height  a year. ;)

You won't get any new branches. But if you're worried about fire danger, you'd be well served by going through and thinning it anyways. Get rid of all the dead ladder fuels.

Cut back more than needed, about 20 feet at least, than let that grow back. That will hide all the dead limbs. Will take at least 10 years, but it will grow. Well I say 10 years, when things start to grow back, more like 15 from start to finish, or in least in Maine that how it works.


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