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Thinning & Harvesting

thinning-harvestingIf your forestry plantation is approaching 20 years of age, it might be ready for first thinning. This is an essential maintenance procedure for forests and it will enhance the future growth and production of your plantation towards clearfell.

How Thinning Works

Green Belt will firstly assess your forestry to see is it time to thin. Once a decision has been made to thin, we will apply for your felling licence (GFL) and consider the acess to your plantation. It might be necessary to construct a road and we have a qualified roads engineer to design and oversee the construction of the road. We look at the best option to make sure the road costs comes in at the grant level.
Once everything is in place, Green Belt supervises the thinning operations and monitors the timber as it leaves. We remove timber immediately to prevent weight loss and theft. We also install security cameras on site to monitor operations.


What To Expect from thinning:

Below, we have a thinning calculator offering an estimate for the value of your first thinning. To understand the products more, here is a diagram from teagasc explaining the products sizes and uses.

teagasc timber assortments








How Much Could You Earn?

Who To Contact?

maurice-ryan Maurice Ryan - Timber Marketing Manager

Maurice looks after the planning and implementation of thinning operations across the Southern areas of Ireland. Maurice aims to maximise short and long term value in his clients plantations through efficient and high quality thinning and harvesting. Please contact him directly to see how Green Belt can improve your crops earning potential.

Thinning FAQ

  • What is thinning? +

    Thinning is the removal of a proportion of the trees in a crop. (In a typical Sitka Spruce plantation, less then 20% of the initial stocking is left at clearfell). By removing smaller weaker trees the remaining trees are left with more light and room to grow to their full potential. The trees which are removed can be sold to make a variety of products such as fence posts, paper, pallets or MDF.
  • When do I thin my plantation? +

    The first thinning of a plantation is usually carried out when the trees have reached at least 8m in height or in terms of age of the plantation, between 12 and 20 years old for a fast growing species such as spruce and 20-30 years for other species. The decision to thin is often a compromise between waiting until the thinnings are large enough to maximise your return and not delayed so long that the growth potential of your remaining trees is affected by competing growth.
  • How is thinning carried out? +

    There are a number of steps involved in the practise of thinning. The first step is to make/cut inspection racks through your plantation. These racks are basically pathways through the plantation, where a forester can inspect the trees form and establish the growth rate of the trees. Once the growth rate of the trees has been established, your forester can recommend the type of thinning which should be carried out.
  • How much do I thin? +

    Once the type of thinning has been agreed, the thinning intensity is worked out. The amount of timber removed is dependent on the species of tree and the rate at which it is growing. The calculations involved are somewhat longwinded but the general idea is to remove the right amount of timber to make the operation profitable without adversely affecting the productivity and stability of the remaining trees.
  • How often should I thin my plantation? +

    How often a thinning is carried out can be established by your Green Belt forester. The frequency of thinning is a balance between making the operation profitable while maximising the value of the remaining crop. For example; thinning operations are carried out every three years on fast growing spruce.Your Green Belt forester can find the best market for your thinnings.In conclusion, thinning is an essential part of your farm forestry investment. If thinning is planned or carried out incorrectly, your plantation will suffer. If carried out correctly your plantation will continue to be a healthy crop and investment.
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