New Zealand Journal of Forestry (1998) 42(4): 16–21
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry
Deciduous hardwood species - early silvicultural options for growing timber on farms
N. Ledgard and M. Giller
Although introduced softwood coniferous species dominate New Zealand's timber resource, there is increasing interest in deciduous, broadleaved hardwoods. Small private growers (mostly farmers) have the best sites and most potential to grow a hardwood resource. This paper describes a five-year trial aimed at determining the most practical early silvicultural options for growing timber from deciduous hardwood species on farms. The trial involved 15 species. There were nine deciduous hardwoods species (Quercus canariensis, Q. petraea, Q. cerris, Fraxinus excelsior, Ulmus x hybrid 'Loebel', Prunus avium, Castanea sativa, Paulownia fortunei, Robinia pseudoacacia 'Jaszkiseri'), four evergreen native species (Nothofagus solandri, Dacrycarpus dacrydioides, Podocarpus totara and Kunzea ericoides), and two evergreen introduced conifers
(Pinus radiata and Cupressus macrocarpa). Silvicultural treatments involved form pruning, coppicing, plastic treeshel-ters plus a control. The aim was to produce a target sapling tree with a straight, defect-free stem at least 3 m in length, within as short a time as possible. The most successful treatments were form pruning and standard (ground level) treeshelters. Using these treatments, target size was achieved after only three years in some species. By age five the best treatments had achieved target dimensions in over 50% of trees in nine of the 14 species.