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Management of Young Broadleaves

Kevin O'Connell, Forestry Advisor, examines the factors that will help us to grow quality timber from a broadleaf woodland. He discusses the importance of planning, site conditions, suitable seed provenance, site layout, management of the young trees and formative shaping.

 In this video, Kevin O'Connell, Forestry Adviser with Teagasc examines the factors that will help us to grow quality timber from a broadleaf woodland. This video was made for the Broadleaves Webinar broadcast by Teagasc on 20 July 2021.

Producing a broadleaf woodland with good quality stems begins with the planning of the woodland. An assessment of the site conditions, including looking at the soils and drainage, and assessing exposure, informs the selection of suitable species to be planted.

Factors such as good drainage, presence of mineral soil, suitable pH, low elevation above sea level and a sheltered site, will all favour the production of a high quality hardwood timber given suitable management.

When suitable species for the site have been selected, good quality planting stock should be used. It is important to note that the trees we plant now will only produce the highest quality timber in the future if a suitable seed source is used.

The planning of the site layout is imperative for production of good quality broadleaf woodlands. The arrangement of planting line direction and layout of internal roading must be mindful of the future management requirement for easy access to the woodland by machinery, such as quad bike, small tractor, or forwarder.

Once planted, subsequent management has an impact on future quality. This management includes vegetation control, protection from browsing, and formative shaping.

Formative shaping is done when the trees are 3 to 4 years old. The objective is to produce 60% of stems with good stem form and a leading shoot by removing forks and large branches. Ideally formative shaping and pruning should continue over the following years as well. Some of the formatively-shaped stems will later go on to be selected as PCTs – Potential Crop Trees – at 1st thinning.

The Teagasc Forestry Department issues an article on a Forestry topic every Friday here on Teagasc Daily. Subscribe to: Forestry e-News. Keep up-to-date with the Teagasc Forestry Department here or follow them on Social Media here.