How to Plant & Harvest Pine Trees

Overview

Pine is a wood used in furniture, flooring and cabinets. It is softer than other wood types, and more sensitive to scratches or nicks. Pine trees are grown as crops in the southern part of the United States. They grow slowly, so you need to have plenty of time and be patient if you plan to harvest the trees as timber. Clear-cut pine trees at harvest time for the most revenue, according to the University of Florida's School of Forest Resources. This involves cutting down all the trees at once and replanting seedlings. If you clearcut small strips or patches of land, however, the seeds from nearby trees will make seedlings naturally.

Plant Pine Trees

Step 1

Dig up the planting site. Use the lawn tractor with the disk to loosen up the soil. Prepare a space large enough for mature pine trees. Each one needs 10 feet by 10 feet.

Step 2

Get rid of grass or weeds that may prevent the pine trees from growing properly. Grass will take nutrients from the trees.

Step 3

Make the soil more fertile, if necessary. Spread compost on the local soil to boost the nutrients. Mix it together with a spade.

Step 4

Plant pine tree saplings in late winter, before the spring blooming season begins. Plan to put them in the ground between December and March.

Step 5

Make a hole in the ground with an auger. Put the end with the screw into the earth and turn it to create the hole.

Step 6

Put a seedling in the center of the hole. Fill the hole back up with the removed soil and tamp on it to eliminate air pockets. Continue until all your pine trees are planted.

Step 7

Water newly planted pine trees if there isn't sufficient rainfall. You want the soil to be moist but not wet. After a couple of weeks, the root system will strengthen enough to sustain the pine trees when there is less rain.

Step 8

Remove weeds from the base of the pine trees. Tackle the weeds in the springtime. Sucker branches should be removed because they can steal nutrients from the rest of the trees.

Harvest Pine Trees

Step 1

Thin the pine trees when they are 25 years old, which is close to the time they are harvested. Target trees that do not have the best form and those that are smaller than the others.

Step 2

Get rid of the thinned trees. Sell them or burn them. Keep the trees that have straight trunks and even shapes.

Step 3

Arrange for the use of a tractor equipped with saws or hydraulic shears to cut down the trees in a large location. Several trees will be cut at once and accumulated in one location for pick up. You can also cut each one down manually with a chain saw. That's a better bet if you're harvesting pine trees on your own.

Step 4

Load pine trees onto a rubber-tired skidder to move them from their stumps to a cleared landing. This is where you load them onto a truck to be taken to mills.

Step 5

Regenerate the species by planting new seedlings. Because all the large trees have been harvested, the seedlings will get the sunlight they need to grow well.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not try to harvest pine trees on your own if you are inexperienced.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawn tractor with disks
  • Potting soil
  • Spade
  • Pine seedlings
  • Auger
  • Water
  • Tractor with saw or hydraulic shears
  • Chainsaws
  • Skidder with rubber tires

References

  • Cooperative Extension Service: Thinning to Improve Pine Timber
  • University of Tennessee Extension: White Pine
  • Bugwood: Evaluating Pine Regeneration
  • University of Florida School of Forest Resources & Conservation: Environmentally Sound Forest Harvesting
Keywords: plant pine trees, harvest pine trees, pine tree planting

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.