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1. DEFINITION - Timber Stand Improvement (TSI) consists of practices designed to produce more and better quality wood products off a given area by improving the quality and species composition of the stand and by increasing, or at least preventing a decrease in, the rate of growth of the residual or crop trees in the stand. This is usually done through a process of cutting or deadening undesirable vegetation which is competing for sunlight or other elements necessary for growth with the desired or crop trees in the stand, or which has a degrading effect on the stand. Timber stand improvement may be commercial in which salable products of value at least equal to the cost of the practice are harvested, or it may be non- commercial in which there is no harvest of products or such harvest is not sufficient to pay the cost of the practice. Essentially, the purpose of TSI is to make available the proper growing space for the best trees in the forest by favoring them and limiting competition. A side benefit is salvage of trees which might otherwise be lost through mortality. 2. Conditions necessary for successful TSI: a. There must be a residual stand which is suitable for economical production of wood products. b. The benefits of increased quality or growth derived from removing competing vegetation must be significantly greater than the cost of carrying out the practice. c. Only that vegetation (usually trees or vines) competing with crop trees is removed. d. The stand must be protected from wildfire and grazing by livestock. 3. TSI may include: a. Release of crop trees from overtopping or undesirable trees or vines. b. Thinning overcrowded stands by cuttings designed to regulate stand density. c. Pruning of branches off the butt log of the tree to improve lumber quality. d. Cleaning young stands to insure a higher proportion of more desirable species as the stand matures. e. Sanitation cuts removing diseased or insect infested trees to prevent infection of other trees in the stand. 4. Methods of TSI: a. Felling of undesirable stems-cut trees must not be left lodged in crop trees. b. Girdling-by cutting a ring at least 2 inches wide, through the bark and into the wood completely around the stem to be deadened. c. Frill girdling with chemical-by cutting a frill of overlapping axe cuts completely around the stem and treating the frill with a chemical mixture. d. Basal Spray-for stems under 4 inches in diameter by spraying the lower 18" to 24" of the stem to the point of run-off with a chemical mixture. e. Foliage Spraying-applied during the growing season when leaves are fully developed (usually June 15th to August 15th) foliage is thoroughly wet with a mist spray of brush killer. f. Pruning-cut lower limbs off with a saw as close to the trunk of the tree as is practical without damaging the trunk. Trees should be pruned to a height of 9, 11, 13, 15, or 17 feet. 100 to 150 crop trees per acre should normally be pruned to be economically justifiable except in the case of high value trees such as black walnut where it is practical to prune even a single tree per acre. This should be done during winter but may be done at other seasons during the year. In no case should more than 1/2 the living crown be removed during any pruning operation. At least 1/3 the total tree height should be left in living crown. Methods "a"through "d" may be applied at any time during the year. 5. Pesticide Application: a. In cases where pines are cut in pine stands, stumps should be treated by sprinkling with borax to prevent infection by root rotting fungi. b. Since herbicides are very difficult to remove from spray containers, any sprayer which has been used to apply herbicide should NOT later be used to apply pesticides to desirable crops. c. All pesticides should be applied in strict accordance to label directions. d. Commercial applicators of pesticides must be licensed.
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