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Artificial Pruning of Immature Oak Stands is Not Profitable

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Artificial pruning is one way in which an increase in end product quality can be achieved. Secondary data as well as a field study were used to evaluate the cost efficiency of pruning in immature oak stands in southeastern Missouri. A pruning time prediction model was developed from data collected during a field study of pruning. Number and size of limbs as well as height of log segment were found to be important factors affecting pruning time. The TWIGS growth and yield model was used to project tree growth from which the volume of clear wood produced as a result of pruning was estimated. When labor costs were included, all present net worths (PNWs) of the pruning investment were found to be negative due to the small amount of clear wood produced and a small price difference between clear and knotty wood. Excluding labor cost, assuming that it will be absorbed by the landowner, PNW was positive for 60, 70, and 80 yr rotations at only the 3.0% discount rate. The knot-free stumpage price necessary to earn a 5.0% discount rate was estimated and found to be substantially higher than present prices in the region. Because of low return and potential risk of epicormic branching, artificial pruning of immature oak stands is not an economical management option. South. J. Appl. For. 19(1):14-17.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: The School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211

Publication date: 1995-02-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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