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The Hogansville Herald
Manchester, Georgia
October 25, 2001     The Hogansville Herald
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October 25, 2001

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PA(,I:: 7B k Thinning, )ffers Many Advantages to Timber Owners By William Pitts, The Timber Company John Merrill Georgia Forestry Commission Thinning is a forest man- agement practice that is general- ly performed at some point(s) in time during the course of the groh and development of natu- ral and planted pine stands. Thinning (as a forest management practice) can be defined as the cal- culated removal of certain trees from an existing stand that is usu- ally conducted with a specific objective in mind. There are various reasons why thinning should be employed as a management practice where pine stands are concerned. Thinning promotes the groh of individual trees within a stand by removing surrounding trees which compete for water, sunlight and soil nutrients. Following a thinning therefore, the available moisture, sunlight and nutrients are stimulating the best trees that have been left on your land to grow more rapidly and therefore reach maturity (increase in value) many years faster than they would have otherwise. The thinning harvest is in most cases the first source of income to the landowner dur- ing a normal timber stand rota- tion. One (and preferably two) thinning harvest(s) during a stand rotation will increase the return on investment of growing timber over 30 to 35 years significantly. Thinning is beneficial to the overall health of a stand of trees. Certain methods of thinning allow for the removal of a greater por- tion of diseased trees and those that are of poor quality and form. Foresters have observed that thinned stands are much more resistant to Southern Pine Beetle infestations than those not thinned. This is believed to be the result of increased tree vigor (health) due to more available growing space as mentioned above. The one situation where thinning may be harmful to a tim- ber stand would be sites suscep- tible to Fomes annosus or root rot. These sites can occur where the soil is a sandy loam texture to a depth of twelve inches, are well drained and do not have high sea- sonal water tables. Ingleaf Pine is less susceptible to root rot than other southern pine species. Thinning can also benefit wildlife. Thinning can prove effec- tive in enhancing habitat for cer- tain wildlife species and more specifically (leer, turkey, rabbits, dove and quail throughout the Piedmont area of Georgia, The opening up of the forest canopy allows more sunlight to reach the forest floor, stimulating the growth of vegetation preferred by the species mentioned previously and others. More forest floor veg- etation results in more insects and fewer trees allows better visibili- ty, both of which make a stand more desirable for wild turkey. A very commonly asked question that landowners have concerning their forested stand(s) is "When should I thin my stand of trees?" The answer to this ques- tion largely depends on their objective(s) for the stand. Most stand objecti es stem around the general welfare and well being of the stand except where hunting may be lhc primary objective. Most timber stands managed for quail production, for example, sacrifice timber production and reduce the number of trees per acre to allow more ground cover and seed producing plants for quail. There are several thinning methods that an individual can employ (or have employed) once it is determined that a stand should be thinned. Selection of method is usually based on stand density, stand uniformity, and owner objective. The following are four common thinning methods: ROW THINNING - (planted pines) Alternate rows are removed from the stand. A row thinning might remove every third, fifth, or seventh row. Normally in a fifth and seventh row thin there is also selective thinning done within the remain- ing rows normally referred to as combination thinning (see below). SELECTIVE THINNING (natural or planted pines) Individual trees are selectively removed from the stand. Tree selection is generally based on position, form, and general health. Some trees that have some defects may be left until the next harvest to keep from opening up the stand which will allow competing and less desirable tree species such a Sweet Gum to become established. COMBINATION TH INN I NG - A combination of both row thin- ning and selective thinning. STRIP THINNING - (natural pines) A strip of trees (rat hei than rows) are removed ahmg the con- tour of a stand. Caution should be used in allowing a logger or timber buyer to select the trees to be removed in a thinning without the approval and on-site inspection of a regis- tered forester. Some loggers can thin a stand and obtain the desired management result, but many can- not. An improperly done thinning where the better trees are removed and the poor quality trees are left is referred to as "high- grading" and will result in the toss of the future value of your timber stand. Unfortunately, most highgrad- ed stands need to be site-prepared and replanted rather than left to grow back, due to the ['act that hardwood species and gel,:iical- ly inferior pine species domhmte the site and will continue to do so in the future. i ,,ling Your Timber: You Only Get to Do It Once The sale of timber is often a once-in-a-lifetime transac- tion and as a private landowner you deserve best possible price for the trees you have managed and protected for the past 25, 35 or even 45 long years. If you decide that a sale is needed on your property, it is highly recommended that you obtain the services of a pro- fessional consulting forester who is registered to practice forestry in Georgia. Consultant foresters are knowledge.able of changes in timber prices for your area and should be able to advise you as to whether the timber market is good, bad or some- where in between at the time iYou are considering a sale. They should also be able to give you their opinion of whether markets are antici- pated to get better or worse based upon the many factors that affect timber prices. You may wish to delay a timber sale until markets in your area improve, as it is com- mon for prices to fluctuate up and down due to changes in the markets as previously stated. Georgia Forestry Commission foresters may also be available to give you advice on selling your timber and off current market con- ditions. Another factor to consid- not your tim- The Georgia Forestry Association, one of the oldest Conservation organizations in United States, was found- ed in 1907. At that time, tree farming was a family tradi- tion. For almost 100 years has been your "voice," to educate business, and political ab9ut responsible torest management prac- reforestation, benefits derived from forestry and landowner rights. In turn, (FA serves as a resource, you abreast of leg- tslative issues that can affect long-term value of your ber should be sold at the pres- ent time or thinned and allowed to continue to grow. If you do decide to thin your pine stand, do not remove your best trees but leave them to grow. An exception to this would be some form of multiple-age or all-age management, but you should have a registered forester advise you on these methods as they are more difficult to accomplish than even-aged management methods. A large part of the profit from growing timber (Southern Yellow Pine) is produced dur- ing the final ten to fifteen years of growth (of the best trees) of a timber stand rota- tion. This is a result of the trees growing into more valu- able product classes (from pulpwood, into chip-n-saw, into saimber and finally into veneer logs) during this period of time. A consultant forester or your state serv- ice forester should be con- suited to determine the prod- uct classes that exist within your timber stand. You need to consider some elements of a timber sale that could affect the sales process. Make sure you have the legal right to sell the standing timber before pro- ceeding with sales plans. If there are liens or other encumbrances on the prop- erty, these may delay a tim- ber sale. The property lines on the boundaries of your property and the specific area of timber to be harvest- ed should be clearly marked to allow all interested buyers to be confident that they are all bidding on the same tract of timber. It is always advisable to get as many bids as possible when selling timber. It is also advisable to always have a strong written contract m order to protect your inter ests and your propert dur ing the harvesting of your timber. Be, st Management Practices (BMPs) should be followed on all harvesting operations and this should Ue stated in the contract. There are many details to be spelled out within an invitation to bid that should be mailed to tim- ber buyers who operate with- in your area and these are normally taken care of by your consulting forester. Landowners who decide to sell their own timber should become knowledgeable of these details and the selling process by consulting with the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) forester in your area. A list of timber buyers who buy timber in your area and sample, timber sale contract forms are main rained and are available from the local GFC county unit office and are available at no Watcnes Legislation Carefully protect landowners' rights For further information and promote responsible on the Association, please forestry activities, call (770) 416-7621. The Georgia Forestry currently governmental relations matters that impact for- ARegistered and Registered Mike is able to effectively bridge the gap legislators arid and make the of information a process both ways. with legislators and state government daily ) almost as frequently the rest of the is able to teep the Association to charge to landowners. A landowner should not overlook considering how the income from a timber sale will affect their income taxes. There are some methods of selling timber that may reduce the amount of income taxes due and these should be considered. The costs of site preparation, seedlings and replanting of the site should also be planned forat the time of sale. Some of these costs of reforestation may be deductible on succeeding year's income tax forms. A landowner should visit with their forestry tax specialist ( a C.RA.) before they send out invitations to bid, to be sure the timing of the sale and the method of sale will result in the minimum amount of income taxes payable on the sale of their timber. DON'T WAIT FOR COLD WEATHER Insulate Now! V*vrood Fiber insulation can save you big during peak energy times. Cold weather months are that time of year and that time is fight around the comer. Don't wait until the mercury drops to be sure you've got adequate insulatiorL C us today and we'll get you ready for whatever mother nature doles out! CATO Heating & Cooling Co. 3268 Roosevelt Highway Manchester, GA GA LIC No. CN004635 -- EP.A. Certified Call us at (706) 846-8395. WHITE