Dense Western Hemlock sapling groves in yard
I have a few naturally occurring areas on my property where several hemlock saplings are densely growing in a very tight space (e.g., 10 in a 5'x5' area). My goal is to optimize the growing conditions for my hemlocks. I've done some reading and found that the ideal spacing for d. fir is 3-4 meters. I am planning on thinning the hemlock groves by pruning most of the saplings to the ground to achieve this spacing. My question: should I even bother thinning? If so, is pruning the extra saplings to the ground the best method? Or do I pull the roots? Thanks!
hemlock and grand fir is famous for growing in those thick groups. Thinning is predicated on several factors, but tree size is the biggest factor. Basically, you want to space your trees based in their diameter (inches) to distance between each tree (feet). So a 1o inch tree should be spaced 10 feet apart..... 16 inch trees are 16 feet apart..... When your trees are little guys, you can't quite do this technique. For your example, you got a ton of little guys, so put them about 6,7,8 feet apart. Don't prune the trees you plan on "eliminating" they need to be dead. Pull them up by the roots or cut them off at the ground. It might look a little naked at first, but the remaining trees will bush-out and fill in the gaps within a couple years.
Just wanted to say thank you for your response, I've been busy with a saw doing some hemlock and spruce thinning across my property after your reply...I've also been uprooting some hemlocks and replanting them in a few neglected areas outside our lot. :)