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Timber Measurement Courses

Measuring your conifer trees – first or second thinnings

Teagasc Forestry Development Department in association with the Forestry Division, DAFM invites forest owners to a nationwide series of practical timber measurement courses running between 15 and 28 March 2023.


Course details including individual registration links can be found in the table below 


Thinning is the practice of removing a quantity of trees (standing volume) at intervals over a number of years in the forest. The emphasis is to concentrate the growth on individual trees to produce quality grade sawlog. At about year 15, the forest should be assessed to see if it is ready for thinning. Measurements taken at this time will not only determine the age of first thinning, but also the interval in years between second and subsequent thinnings and the approximate age of clearfell.

First thinning is a necessary forest operation, it is a means to an end. It is a management tool aimed at improving the value of the crop in the long run. It may not necessarily be a money-making exercise. However, if associated costs like foresters fees, entrance and forest road construction are met, with some money coming back to the owner, then it is a job well done.

The infrastructure will be in place for second and subsequent thinnings. At that stage, the size of the trees to be removed are bigger so the returns to the owner greater.

Owners who have completed a first thinning may think they have their work done and that the forest will more or less take care of itself from here on in. They have been through a process and they think it is more of the same. They are wrong: first thinning in general is a straightforward "line-and-selection" thinning, i.e. remove 1 line in 7 and selecting (and removing) the smaller trees in between.

Second and subsequent thinnings are more precise, this time the trees to be removed must be selected and the volume removed controlled.


Teagasc forestry advisers will discuss and demonstrate a range of important measuring techniques. There will be practical tree marking exercises with all participants given time and opportunity to practise and consolidate what they have been shown. The courses will include:

  • Finding out if the forest is ready for thinning
  • Determining the productivity of the forest
  • Estimating the volume to be removed
  • Determining what trees should be removed as thinnings
  • Estimating the percentage of pulp, stake and palletwood assortments
  • Examining other factors that may affect the thinning intervention


All courses are free, but prior registration is necessary, as each course will be limited to 20 participants.

Early booking is advisable, follow the relevant link below to secure the course of your choice:


Nearest town

Type of Course


Start Time Contact 

Registration link
(via Eventbrite)



First thinning  Wednesday 15 March   10.00  Kevin O’Connell, 049-4338645  Registration closed



Second thinning

Tuesday 28 March  11.00 

John Casey, 087-2242283

Jonathan Spazzi 087-7102739

Registration closed

Kilkenny / Carlow 

Old Leighlin  Second thinning  Wednesday 22 March  11.00 

Michael Somers, 087-1216163

Frances McHugh, 087-6222111

Registration closed 


Mountrath  Second thinning  Thursday 23 March  10.00  Liam Kelly, 087-9090495 Registration closed


Roosky  First thinning  Wednesday 22 March  10.30 

Noel Kennedy, 087-9090504

Steven Meyen, 087-6775158

Registration closed 

Further information

  • For further details on any of the above courses, contact your local Teagasc Forestry Adviser
  • Pre-registration is required for each course. You will be informed of the meeting point upon registration.
  • Attendance is limited to 20 participants per course, so early registration is advised.
  • Please bring appropriate clothing, boots and calculator/phone.