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National Forestry Demonstration: Tending and Thinning of Broadleaf Woodlands

Teagasc, the Forest Service and COFORD have organised a National Demonstration on the tending and thinning of broadleaf woodlands in County Meath on Wednesday next, 21 April. This event is aimed at landowners who have broadleaf plantations at or near the age of first thinning. The event will also be beneficial to owners in general who want to see how their woodlands will develop. Demonstrations and discussion will include:

  • Growing trees for quality timber
  • Timing of first thinning
  • Preparation for thinning
  • Getting the job done
  • Woodchip heating system
  • Produce end use, fuel wood, chips etc.

In a well managed woodland, at the end of a rotation there should be approximately 200 broadleaf trees per hectare, the remainder of the trees will have been removed as thinnings. To put it another way, 85 per cent of all trees or 50 per cent of the volume in broadleaf woodland is removed as thinnings over the commercial life of the crop. There were many young woodlands planted in the mid-90s that are now ready for thinning and it is important that the owners have the knowledge and are ready to commence this vital operation. The thinnings from these woodlands are a valuable asset in offsetting and/or generating farm income.

The owner of this woodland in County Meath has installed a woodchip burner for heating not only his dwelling house, but other buildings as well. The demand for firewood has increased significantly in the last two years and Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) has made grants available for solid fuel heating systems.


The event will open with a discussion on the optimum time to commence the tending and first thinning of ash/sycamore and the associated important issues for consideration at the time e.g., felling licences, harvesting grants, forest roads etc.

The practical demonstration will show visitors the process of marking the trees for tending with the identification of potential final crop trees and the subsequent marking of stems to be removed including competitors, wolves and diseased stems. This session will conclude with a visit to a plot that has recently been tended.

Also included in the programme is advice on the safe use and maintenance of chainsaws, a demonstration on processing firewood and wood chips, and a visit to the woodchip heating system.

Visitors to the event are asked to convene at Summerhill Community Centre, Summerhill, County Meath between 10.30am and 12.30pm. For further information contact Kevin O'Connell, Teagasc, 087-1216159 or visit www.teagasc.ie/forestry.