The handy ready reckoner for thinning your plantation
Several people contacted me following my previous article on preparing your conifer forest for thinning. Some asked me to explain how the Teagasc Thinning Ready Reckoner works.
One person, who clearly knew what he was talking about, couldn't understand how comparing the number of trees with the average tree diameter gave you all necessary thinning information.
Well, he's right. This Ready Reckoner won't tell you exact volumes but it is rather designed to indicate when the Sitka spruce trees are due for thinning.
It is a very useful and simple tool as the 'traffic light' system allows you to estimate when trees will be ready for thinning: red means the trees are not ready for thinning yet, amber indicates that the trees are nearly ready for thinning and you need to start preparing, while green means get on your bike as it is time to thin now.
That's what makes the Thinning Ready Reckoner such a handy tool as it can easily take two years to line up all your ducks and get ready for thinning.
So, how does it work?
First of all, establish a square plot with the four sides measuring exactly 10m by 10m and the sides of the square parallel to the tree rows.
Remove the branches of all trees within the plot up to head height.