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Tree Management: Short Overview

 

With today’s awareness on keeping the best for nature, tree management has become an important factor in the movement of joining in the environmental upkeep of the planet. The concern about the environment has been around for years but there are still many people who do not know about this.

Tree Management Brisbane is one very important aspect of the whole system with regards to the upkeep of natural things like the trees, the seas, and the air around us. Surprisingly, the things that need to be done are simple and relatively easy to execute.

This is true even in such concepts as tree management.

Management techniques

There are certain management techniques which are applicable to trees and shrubs in such areas as agroforestry systems. Some of these techniques are similar to those used in the management of trees in forestry plantations, although others are different.

The most important management techniques with regard to the part of the tree which is above ground are: pruning, lopping, pollarding, coppicing and thinning.

In addition, root competition can be reduced by certain management techniques applied to tree roots.

Pruning

Pruning is the removal of branches from the lower part of the tree crown (known sometimes as pruning or side pruning). In pruning a tree, branches are always cut near the stem.

There are three objectives of pruning in agroforestry: Reduction of shade for crops near the tree, improving the quality of the trunk, mainly for timber and poles and early harvest of branchwood for fuel or other use.

Too much pruning may reduce the growth of certain species. For young trees, at least four or five layers of the green branches should remain uncut, while older trees of certain species can tolerate more severe pruning (see “pollarding”).

Reducing shade

Pruning needs to be done at least up to the height the adjacent crops if trees are growing in fields. This type of pruning facilitates farming operations and reduces competition.

The best time for pruning is towards the end of the dry season. This is when the work will not interfere with growing crops and when the workload in other agriculture tasks is not so heavy.

Lopping

Lopping is different from pruning in that branches are not cut from the base. Also, lopping is not always done starting from the lower part of the tree but can be more haphazard.

If any selection of branches is to be made, the main point is often a good green leafy biomass. Lopping is usually done to obtain branches for fodder.

Lopping is also regarded as the most common harvesting technique for tree fodder in many areas. One of the main advantages with this technique is that it allows harvest without killing the tree.

All tree species can be lopped, but the growth rate of certain species can be retarded if they are heavily lopped.

Pollarding

Pollarding is known when all the branches and the top part of a tree are cut off. There can be several objectives with pollarding. This includes early harvest of wood, fodder or other biomass. The other objective is producing wood or fodder not reached by livestock.

Lastly, the objective includes the effort of regenerating the tree crown to promote growth of the trunk for timber or poles.

The choice of pollarding height and frequency usually depends on the desired products. If the main aim is production of timber or poles, the top of the tree should be cut as high up as possible.

Green and vigorous

Another pollarding technique includes the effort of having the crown kept as green and vigorous as possible for the maximum production of trunk wood. An interval of 2-5 years is usually appropriate in such cases.

On the other hand, if the main aim is production of fuelwood or fodder, it is better to pollard lower down the tree to facilitate access.

Here, pollarding can then be done more frequently, like once a year. It is advantageous to try to form a wide “stool” (the part of the tree remaining at the base when it has been cut) in order to achieve a substantial production of biomass.

Staking materials

Sometimes the main aim is to produce staking material, poles or fito for construction. In situations like this, a wide stool will allow many stems to grow.

Initially too dense a stand may sprout after pollarding, and thinning is then recommended, leaving a suitable number of branches in relation to the size of the stems eventually desired.

Coppicing

Many species of trees and shrubs have the ability to resprout after the whole tree has been cut. If this ability is used for regeneration of the tree the practice is known as coppicing.

Coppicing can almost be regarded as a method of tree propagation since it can substitute for the task of planting a new tree after a mature one is felled.

Systematic coppicing is applied as the management technique in alley cropping. Also, it may be an option for trees on soil-conservation structures.

In like situations, coppicing may be done annually. However, in other situations, regeneration of Eucalyptus for pole production, for instance, it needs to be much less frequent. This is where an interval of 6-8 years may be more suitable

Certain species coppice well when young but may not do so if cut at maturity.

Thinning

When trees established by direct seeding or that have been planted with little space between them, they will soon start to compete with each other. A dense stand initially promotes straight growth and small branches.

Later, however, the trees must be thinned otherwise they will grow too slender and eventually not reach the desired size. Thinning is particularly important for trees grown in woodlots, but applies also to other situations where trees are growing close to one another.

Thinning can, for example, be done by removing every second tree or two out of every three trees. Thinning is also a way of obtaining some early harvest.

Root management

Just like how tree crowns can be managed to reduce competition, so can the roots be managed for the same purpose and manner.

Trees growing in cropland can have their shallow roots cut 0.3-0.6 m from the trunk when they reach a height of 2-3 m. This is applicable to species which would otherwise compete with crops.

In Kenya, one option is done by digging a relatively deep trench (0.3-0.6 m) along the edges of woodlots of, e.g. of Acacia mearnsii, where the woodlots border cultivated land.

This also serves to minimize competition. One obvious disadvantage of root management is that they require a lot of work.

 

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