Broadleaf thinning time on horizon

Over 90 participants attended a recent national demonstration of broadleaf thinning in Cordal, Castleisland, Co Kerry.

This event, organised and co-ordinated by Teagasc in conjunction with the Forest Service, took forest owners through essential steps involved in broadleaf thinning.

Timing is critical in broadleaf management. The first thinning in broadleaf forests (which is called tending) readies the forest for future management operations. Participants learned how tending removes less favoured stems that are competing with potential crop trees. This tending operation, when properly controlled and carried out at the appropriate time for the crop, is an essential element in the development of a quality and productive forest.

The key to successful broadleaf tending and thinning is to control the type, proportion and location of trees removed. This will ensure that the appropriate trees remain afterwards, according to Tom Houlihan, Teagasc Forestry Development Officer. “It is important in broadleaf tending that sufficient space is provided at crown and root level to allow the potential crop trees to respond and develop. Overthinning must also be avoided,” he said.

Forest owners attending the event were encouraged to become actively involved in the management of their forests to gain an awareness and knowledge of the operations involved. Participants were also taken through the steps involved in preparing for tending and thinning operations. The importance of adequate access, potential aid under the Woodland Improvement Scheme and felling licence requirements were highlighted by Ciaran Nugent, Forest Service inspector.

* Grant-aid is available to forest owners under the Tending and Thinning of Broadleaves scheme.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said that one of the objectives of this scheme is to respond to very strong demand for hardwood timber for the firewood trade. The scheme aims to improve the quality of broadleaf of hardwood plantations, and in doing so releases fuel-wood onto the market.


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