Pine Seed Tree Cut



What is a seed tree cut?

A seed tree cut is a type of harvest that helps the next stand regenerate.  The basic principle is that all the trees are removed except 9-12 of the best trees per acre. These are left to supply the seeds for the next generation of trees.  The seed trees are usually cut out after the regeneration has been established.




Why choose this option over a clear cut? Why a clear cut instead?

There are a few reason that people like to use this management regime. The first reason is that it isn't clear cut.  There is no point in time where the stand does not have trees standing on it. When the majority of the trees are cut, the seed trees are left standing. When the seed trees are cut out, the established seedlings are already growing steady.

Another reason that people choose this type of management is that there is a lower cost of planting and buying seedlings. With this natural regeneration it doesn’t cost the land owner anything to get a new stand established.

The problem with this method is that it sometime works too well at establishing a new stand and grows too many trees. These dense stands will be less productive and the only way to fix it sometimes is to thin them out by hand. Since the trees are too small to be considered merchantable there is a cost involved.

Another reason people decide to clear cut and plant seedlings is because of the advances in genetics of seedlings. This is a traditional genetics gain by breeding the best trees with the best trees to get a tree that has the qualities that we are looking for. Some of these qualities can be productivity, rust resistance, and straightness. With some of these seedlings the rotation length can be cut to less than 25 year.


What trees to leave?

When choosing which trees to leave as seed trees there are a lot of factors that must be taken into account. The health of the tree is important. We want to make sure that the tree will make it through the management. The trees need to represent the characteristics that you want to see  in the next stand. Most of the time these are big straight healthy trees. The only down side to this is that by leaving the best tree standing you leave a little money standing when you cut the trees. This is why the seed trees are usually taken out after the seedlings are established.