Growth responses to pruning or thinning are well documented but their interactions are not, even though they are sometimes performed simultaneously. Growth responses to thinning and pruning were examined in nine plantation silvicultural experiments at five sites in southeastern mainland
Australia. The species studied were Eucalyptus globulus Labill., Eucalyptus nitens (Deane and Maiden) Maiden,
and Eucalyptus grandis Hill ex Maiden. Thinning from about 1100–1300 trees·ha–1 to about 300 or 500 trees·ha–1 at either age 3–4 years
or 7–10 years increased the volume of sawlog crop trees in all species. Multiple lift pruning to 6.5 m height on the sawlog crop trees that retained at least 70% of the live crown length at any lift significantly reduced tree growth at only one of the six site–species
combinations where both thinning and pruning were studied. And here, thinning interacted with pruning such that the pruning effects were not significant in unthinned stands because only shaded and inefficient foliage was removed. This study shows that thinning and pruning can interact to influence
sawlog crop tree growth and this interaction is influenced by site.
Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science, The University of Melbourne, 500 Yarra Boulevard, Richmond, Victoria 3121, Australia.
Publication date: January 30, 2012
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