Minimizing Wounding/Discoloration in Northern Hardwood Stands

The single most important method for minimizing discoloration and decay is to minimize the amount and size of wounds.

  • Understand the link between stand damage and resulting loss in volume.
  • Establish a damage assessment procedure; establish a minimal acceptable level of damage. (In general, wounds on northern hardwoods that exceed 20% of stem circumference are highly likely to have discoloration and decay associated with them.)
  • Train personnel in directional felling techniques; mark crop trees.
  • Establish a reward system for operators who do a good job; operator pride and skill critical.
  • Do not conduct harvest operations during spring breakup.
  • Operate on wet sites during the driest season or on frozen ground.
  • Extraction trails: lay them out in advance, in a herring bone fashion, slightly wider than the extraction vehicle; make them as straight as possible; log them first; fill in hollows with brush.
  • Use buffer or bump trees (cull trees) along trails; remove them at end of harvest.
  • Use extraction equipment based on the size of trees being removed, the topography of the site, the spacing of the crop trees and the soil type.
  • Maintain a fully stocked stand to minimize the chance of sunscald injury and encourage self-pruning.
  • Favor single-stemmed sprouts located low on the stump. They have the best chance for survival and of being free from discoloration.
Photo from: Shigo, A.L., 1983.  Tree Defects: A Photo Guide.
Photo from: Walters, R.S. & A. Shigo. 1978. Tap-holes in Sugar Maples: What Happens in the Tree.
Last Revised: Tuesday May 09 2006