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Pruning White Pine to Produce Better Logs

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One characteristic of white pine in pure stands is the persistence of dead branches that cause loose knots in the resulting lumber. If high-quality, knot-free lumber is desired, the lower branches must be sawed off close to the live stem when the trees are young. Such pruning also produces a more aesthetic appearance in a highly visible stand.

Naturally seeded dense stands on old fields are especially well adapted to pruning, because close spacing shades and kills the lower branches white the trees are small and forces them to grow straight. On the far left side of the model a young stand of such origin is now receiving its first pruning.

In the center a similar stand has reached the age (about 30 years) when the final pruning is in order. Crop trees with straight stems are typically pruned up 16 feet (a standard log length) from their bases.