What is the order of the most profitable trees to grow in the New York forest? Consider the following facts:

1. The long term price of the trees on the stump.

2. The amount of board feet that can be grown per acre per year.

3. Ignore soil factors. It's important but not controllable.

The reason that I'm asking this question relates to decisions that I make while doing pre commercial thinning. Lets say that you have three equally good trees near each other but are a different species. Lets say oak, hard maple and soft maple. Two must be removed. My general thinking is that the red oak would be the one to keep but I'm not sure. Red oak's have a large canopy so you can't grow as many per acre. Soft maple grows faster than hard maple so they can be harvested more frequently. I know that soft
maple doesn't bring the price at the stump but on a growth rate per year they may be more favorable than I would think.


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Hi Steve,

I would still rank them by value, so sugar maple, red oak and then red maple.  Sugar maple and red oak make beautiful boards; I haven't had the opportunity to see what red maple looks like...but part of the fun of owning a forest is knowing what you are producing.  With too many pests looming like Asian Longhorned Beetle, I also think a lot about diversity.  So if those are the three species you have I would work at keeping all three of them dispersed throughout the stand.  In the end what you keep does depend on your goals.  Don't ignore soil factors completely.  Red maple can stand heavier soils (less well drained) better than sugar maple, so it may be a good idea to favor it somewhat in those parts of the stand with less than perfect drainage, and sugar maple in the better drained areas.


Carl, Thanks for you comment. The question that I posted is a very difficult one to answer. I was afraid that someone would comment that I've been in the woods too long. I agree with you about the diversity of any woodlot.

I'm thinning a section of woods right now that has all three species. In ~99.1% of the cases the tree to thin is a no brainer. Every so often I have all three growing next to each other and that is why I asked the question. I think that answer may just be as you listed them.




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