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Author Topic: Pine Poles  (Read 647 times)

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Offline TroyC

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Pine Poles
« on: August 31, 2021, 09:02:53 AM »
I have about 40 acres of pines that I was told were grown towards making poles in central Georgia, about 50 miles SE of Macon. The area was thinned about 6 years ago removing the lesser quality trees. I sit in my deer stand and count trees sometimes and best I can tell there are about 30-35 trees per average acre. Trees were planted in the early 1980's. Most are 12-14" DBH, some bigger, some smaller. Trees are probably 70' tall. Most are straight with no limbs up to around 40-50'. From what I have read on definition of poles, I think many of these trees would qualify.

My questions are:
1. At what point would it be advantageous to harvest?
2. Is the pole market strong or soft now?
3. If left for another 10 years or so, will the value of the larger trees be worth the time investment or would it be better to harvest and replant sooner?

I manage the 100 acres for wildlife habitat. I don't need to harvest for income but I want to maximize income potential at some time.

Thanks for any insight!

Offline Iwawoodwork

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Re: Pine Poles
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2021, 11:52:42 AM »
my thoughts are that when there is a severe storm like IDA that takes out a lot of power poles the demand goes up and the price of pole trees should follow, but that is a guess, so maybe contact a pole yard and see what they want and pay now, then check in a month or so to see if the purchase price has changed..

Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Pine Poles
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2021, 06:31:40 PM »
WDH may be able to shed some light on Georgia's pine pole market for you. The market for red pine poles is very good here in Michigan.

Offline Clark

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Re: Pine Poles
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2021, 10:23:09 PM »
Two things about your statements stick out to me:

Trees per acre seems quite low. For that diameter I would expect 125 trees per acre, give or take. 

Second, very few of the trees will make the grade for poles. At least, that is what you should expect otherwise you will be disappointed. Pole buyers are picky and if you donít look at trees everyday for pole specs you tend to think most trees are straight enough. Most arenít. 

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Offline Southside

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Re: Pine Poles
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2021, 10:38:17 PM »
Are those long leaf by chance? 
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Offline barbender

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Re: Pine Poles
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2021, 02:07:45 AM »
I work on pole sales up here pretty frequently, and I would agree with Clark- most trees you think are poles, aren't. A lot if times you can't see the sweep in a stem unless you go around all sides if it, sometimes you have to hug the dang thing and look up. The specs for sweep and defects like catfaces and knots are very tight. You could have an exceptional stand where a large percentage will make poles, probably the best site I ever worked on made 60-70% poles. That stand was truly exceptional though. 30% may be more realistic, and even optimistic. 
Too many irons in the fire

Offline TroyC

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Re: Pine Poles
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2021, 09:06:28 AM »
Clark- for the number of trees per acre- the area was thinned about 6 years ago and all of the lesser quality trees were removed. Probably 2/3 of the trees were removed. Before the thinning, the forest floor was completely shaded. Of course, now, with things being opened up there is a lot of new growth taking over the floor and the deer are loving it. In a couple small areas I was able to get enough sun for food plots.

I bought the property from a fellow that is a forester. He cruised the lot and marked the trees to retain before the thinning leaving only the straightest and best trees. I realize that 60-70% poles on the lot would be an optimistic expectation. I don't know how many poles in an area would justify a pole buyer coming in, and that is something else I need to know. I may not have enough to justify pole prices, and that's why I'm wondering if they should be left to grow to add sawtimber value.

Southside, unfortunately these (poles?) are lobs. I do have a few old growth longleafs along a creekbed. I've milled a few that have died in the past couple of years but haven't gotten serious about harvesting them. Them rings were tight! There are still stumps left on the property where they used to harvest pine sap. There may be 50 or so of the nice old longleafs left.

What I'm trying to figure out is would it be better to let these trees grow or start to plan a harvest in the near future. I certainly do not want to harvest during a time of poor market return and I'm prepared to wait.

When I bought the property I was completely ignorant about trees. I'm trying to learn as much as I can and I thank the FF members for all of their contributions. When I have a tree fall it would bother me to let it stay so I bought a mill. Don't think I would have gotten this far without the Forestry Forum! Thanks! :laugh:

Online WDH

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Re: Pine Poles
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2021, 09:35:04 AM »
At that age, the growth rate is slowing down and that is too few trees per acre to maximize the potential of the site to grow wood.  That being said, what to do depends on your objectives.  Slower growth rates and an understocked site may be perfectly fine if the aesthetics appeal to you or you prefer the wildlife/habitat benefits. 

One thing that is most likely true is at that stocking level, the next harvest should probably be a clearcut then regenerate a new stand either artificially by planting or letting the site naturally regenerate. 

Letting the trees get a whole lot larger is not likely to benefit you because the commercial pine mills in our are do not take stems with butt diameters much over 22Ē.  What poles are there are there, and growing the stand to an older age will not likely result in more pole candidates than are already present. 

I would research the pole mills in the area and contact them to have a pole buyer come and evaluate the pole potential of your stand.  Send me a PM as to specifically where you are located and I will help you anyway that I can. 
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Offline dogone

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Re: Pine Poles
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2021, 11:03:30 PM »
    Is a 45 foot treated power pole worth $1000.00? Was told this by coffee shop experts. Would like to know something closer to the truth.

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