When and Why to Thin Your Pines

Thinning pine plantations is a process that occurs naturally with the help of Mother Nature or better yet, a forester. I am an advocate of thinning pines as soon as possible to keep the stand healthy and growing at its maximum growth rate. Thinning opens the stand so the trees grow, changes character of the woods and enhances the wildlife habitat.

 First, let’s look at why we should thin. Different landowners have different goals which can change the timing of thinning. If you are looking at managing for maximum returns from timber harvest, we tailor our management practices to facilitate growth of sawtimber and/or poles. These products are the most valuable. When figuring in the time value of money, it serves no purpose to grow trees past a certain diameter as you will get no more money for the product. Therefore, we grow trees as fast as possible to get them as large as possible or to the more valuable sawtimber size product.

We plant a certain number of quality trees per acre in order to get good growth and stimulate the natural pruning of the lower limbs. It is time to thin, when you see the lower limbs beginning to die and fall off, tree diameters have reached a certain size and tree height is adequate. You should not wait so long as to lose the proper percentage of crown (tree top) that you loose growth potential. Some soils are better than others, varying the timing of first thinning. Typically, we thin around the age of fifteen years. We will groom the stand again five to seven years later. The purpose of second grooming is to take out less desirable low quality trees and save the best crop trees. Final harvest will be around thirty five years of age.

There are several factors that will influence when we will harvest. First would be stand health and quality. There are times when disease, seedling quality, pine beetles, or fire will dictate an early harvest. In rare situations, the harvest may even be a final or clear-cut harvest to start over. Even though we have provided basic guidelines for harvesting, we can still harvest timber at any time during the rotation or life of the timber once it reaches merchantable size around age 14.

Most timber harvest are a result of sound management that follows the goals of the landowner. Some other management criteria are wildlife management, aesthetics, and sawtimber production. If we are managing for wildlife, we may thin heavier than normal or leave special buffers. Most sawtimber rotations thin at ages 15, 23 and final harvest around 35, as mentioned above. Soil productivity may vary the timing somewhat. We manipulate timber stands for aesthetics based on what the landowner perceives to be beautiful or appealing.

Price deserves a paragraph for itself. Timber is not an annual crop that has to be harvested exactly at a certain age. It does not make a huge difference if we harvest this year or in two years. Most likely, the timber will be fine and remain in good condition. Personal tax preferences or timing of other investments may influence a timber harvest. Price does fluctuate heavily, influencing when we may want to harvest. It is very important for pulpwood thinning to be done in a timely manner to keep stands healthy and growing. The second or final harvest of higher value products should be timed with a good market. Weather will have an influence on pricing, too. Weather can cause a basic supply and demand curve that will produce significant swings in the market price of all products.

Green Hill land & Timber, LLC works very hard to bring all of these factors together in managing our clients’ timber investment. We would like the opportunity to help you with your land and timber investment.

“Change” The Fact of the Matter

Opinion or Truth? Every commentator on every network has their opinion which they call “the fact of the matter” or truth. So I will offer my fact of the matter or “opinion”.

Government manipulates various parts of the economy by changing policy, regulation, interest rates, taxes, lending requirements and so many other factors. Changing these various factors is an effort to stimulate Corporate America, Small Business and Individuals to change or participate in certain behavior.

If the business community and general population, what I call the market, want to participate in this directed behavior, things seem to trend in that direction. If they don’t like this policy or direction, you have an unfavorable reaction. I find it interesting that Corporate America has huge cash reserves, profits and earnings yet we are in a double dip recession with no clear path out from our leadership in Washington. I know individuals with large amounts of cash waiting for the right environment for them to participate or invest. The market is hording cash. This behavior has basically stopped the United States of America in her tracks.

It is obvious the “Change” we have heard so much about has stimulated the wrong behavior, or has it? A true leader inspires a nation and encourages prosperity. A leader stimulates prosperity and provides an environment to work and succeed. Teach a man to fish so he can survive, don’t just give him an entitlement.

The fact of the matter is when the proper environment is created, the market will respond. When the proper “Change” has occurred, the people of the United States of America will show the world that “The People” One Nation Under God rule this great land.

If the proper leadership and change is demonstrated coming into the November election of 2012, we will see an immediate change in confidence in the people of this great nation. There are many positive factors waiting for the correct environment for us to begin to thrive and prosper like we always have. Be active and participate, for what is happening in our country is one of the most important times in history. And remember, under all is the land and land is a good investment.

Country Living – How does your garden grow?

There are many reasons to own property. We see a growing interest in people getting back to basics. Organic farming, big gardens, no herbicides, organic fertilizer, fresh eggs and range chickens are some of the reasons people are inquiring about land. One of our clients has some of the last remaining genes of the Piney Woods Cattle and goats brought over by the Spanish settlers. [Read more…]

A Bright Spot in the Real Estate Market

The hot spot we have been following is agriculture and farmland. We keep in touch with our friends in the Realtors Land Institute (a National Network of Land Specialist) around the country staying current with trends and developments. A recent article published by one of our friends in the mid west states farmland prices have risen 20%! The top five earnings years for the farming industry in the last three decades have occurred since 2004 according to our friends at Martin, Goodrich & Waddell. [Read more…]

Summer Scouting for Big Bucks

I asked an old hunter if he was excited about deer season coming in. He said he did most of his hunting during the summer and did not hunt much in the winter.  Now there is a whole load of issues with that statement. What he meant was he did his scouting in the summer when the bucks were all packed up together. In the summer there is little activity or “pressure” in the woods and the bucks are lounging around looking for food.
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Whats Up with Your Timber and the Timber Market

Just about every industry is affected by the current state of the US and Global economy. The timber industry is certainly affected as well.  We see local and global trends dictating supply and demand causing fluctuation in the price we get for our timber products.  Landowners need to ask a few questions about their timber investment before making an investment strategy or cashing in on their timber investment. [Read more…]

Screven County GA – 504 Acres

Douglas Branch Farms is located in western Screven County near Rocky Ford GA. Property is gently rolling with excellent soils. There are five center pivot irrigation systems

What Do You Want From Your Forest

I have found that landowners have many different expectations from their land. Their goals and uses vary widely. One very important factor they all have in common is that they all have a great desire to be good stewards of the land. Our goal is to understand the landowner and develop a plan to help them succeed in accomplishing their goals and help them be the best steward they can be. [Read more…]

Better Planning and Focus Required in these Uncertain Times

A recent news cast said the problem with the economy and our financial outlook is that we have no direction from our elected officials. We are faced with more government regulation, more spending and growing deficits. There is no way to plan or develop a strategy for the next several years. No one can give us a clear explanation about anything with any certainty, which has caused a lot of anxiety, distrust and sleepless nights. What should we do and where should we invest? It is clear to me that now is a good time to be frugal, develop a strong game plan and remain focused on that plan. [Read more…]

Buying and Selling Land in a Depressed Market

It goes without saying; we certainly are in a depressed economy with very little consumer confidence. I don’t want to analyze how or why we got here or when recovery will be apparent. Everyone has an opinion of this, but I believe we are at the bottom and we will slowly climb out. What we do want to discuss is strategy for buying and selling land. [Read more…]