A tree can be your best friend and your worst enemy. Knowing your goal will determine which species falls where. In Tom’s case, Beech trees are abundant on his farm and are blocking sunlight from hitting the forest floor. With a little chainsaw work he was able to improve the farm in a couple different ways. First, by hinge cutting he’s leaving the tree top at deer level which provides great screening and cover. Secondly, it’s opening up the canopy to allow more sun to hit the forest floor. For larger trees, girdling provides a safe, effective method to kill the undesirable trees. While it won’t provide wildlife with food, it will still open up the canopy.

Timber stand improvement isn’t a one size fit all project. You need to identify your goals and priorities. Find the end result you have in mind, create a plan, and put it in action.