Pruning Poplar Plantations

Pruning of the side branches of trees allows the early formation of clear, knot-free wood in the stem and increases the trees’ value as saw logs. Generally 2.5 m to 5.0 m of branchless stem is desirable, however, the amount of live crown removed might have an effect on tree growth. The timing of pruning mayaffect further sprouting, wound healing, and insect damage at wound sites.

To date, our plantations have been pruned annually, using hand-held clippers.Pruning appears to have had a negative affect on rooted plugs, but a positive affect on rooted cuttings. At the time of out-planting, many rooted plug seedlings were dual-stemmed (forked) at the base, and 2nd year pruning required the excision of approximately 30 to 50% of its aboveground biomass. Rooted cutting stock had fewer forked stems, therefore pruning was restricted to the lower branches. This level of pruning eliminated the non-critical portion of the photosynthetic-active area of the seedling and resulted in an increase in growth for rooted cutting stock in 2003.

Controlling Animal Browse in Plantations

Poplar plantations, especially those situated adjacent to native forest, are ideal locations for winter browsing by deer and moose. While deer browse may slightly affect growth in the first 2 years, activity by moose can have very damaging results. Moose will browse by pulling and breaking off the main stem of small trees (which easily break in cold weather). The result is poor stem formation and reduced wood quality. All observed browse has occurred during the winter months, usually between January and March. Several methods to reduce animal browse, such as electric fenceline, visual distractions and animal harvest have been discussed.