Full Vigor Forestry

Sustainable (really!) Forest Management from the Forest Owner's Point of View

Our forest is a living solar energy collector.  We manage our timber so that the leaves of the trees that make up the forest fully utilize the available sunlight to grow high quality wood products.  This is accomplished by thinning the stems to get the optimum spacing between the various sizes and species of trees.

A tree is a living solar collector.  We manage each tree so that the leaves of the crown utilize the available sunlight to grow high quality wood on the trunk.  I look at each tree as a funnel.  A funnel with a large opening at the top can collect a lot of energy and a skinny little funnel with a small opening at the top produces little growth.

Deciduous trees should look like a typical funnel with the opening at the top being about one third of the height of the tree.  This should produce a growth ring of between one eighth and one quarter of an inch, giving a tree diameter growth of one quarter to one half inch each year. 

Conifer trees should look like a funnel, but with the cone upside down on the stem.  These trees collect the energy from the sides of the cone.  The width of the crown should be about one quarter of the total height of the tree.  Diameter growth is the key factor in determining proper spacing. 

Secret To Success - A Simple Spacing Guide
Using the one-third crown width to total tree height ratio, you can make a simple tree spacing guide.  In nearly every forest, this rule quickly shows that the forest is way too crowded.  When trees of all ages and heights are present in a forest, this guide shows the spacing between trees of similar sizes.  We would never cut all the extra trees to get to the spacing of this guide at one time - it is a long term goal.  Tending the forest - thinning a little each year, is much better than cutting too much at one time.

Full Vigor Forestry Crop Tree Spacing Guide
1-8 inches 10 feet              440
10"  17ft  150
12"  20ft  110
14"  25ft  70
16"  28ft  55
18"  32ft  42
20"  35ft  36
22"  38ft  30
24"  42ft  25
26"  45ft  22
28"  48ft  20

                                                          30"  50ft  16