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side pruning fir trees

 
James Flour
Posts: 14
Location: PNW
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We started out cutting off the branches of youngish firs (up to either 1/3 of the mass of green branches or as high as I can reach, whichever comes first) to get cleaner logs when it comes time to log.

Have any of you with woodlots tried this, and what is your experience? It sure makes the groves more open and I get whipped in the face much less, so that is a plus...
 
Justin Hitt
Posts: 32
Location: Martinsville, VA (Zone 7)
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James,

I've always pruned up trunk 1/8 height of tree up three feet so that I can plant under fir, cedar, or other trees. It gives the tree a clean look, allows you to get under the tree for composting, and gives you more light for herbaceous layer.

For really tall trees (including firs and cedar) I'll remove all branches to just above head height so I can walk under them. Usually doing this late winter so birds can use lower branches for shelter and so sap isn't running too much.

Branches are used in brush damns, waddles, and sometimes for seasonal decorations. Will cut some late fall if I much reach an area to start beds, but if sap is running I only cut as little as possible. If I cut in fall, I'll leave branches on ground or in mounds for birds.

Growing up my family had goats that would do this for us. Goats would strip all the tinder branches as high up as they could reach and we'd go out once a year to saw off anything clean. I like woods around the house to be easy to walk through for paths and berry cultivation.

Best,

Justin
 
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