We have a forest in our backyard and we were wondering if it was healthier for the forest to cut the small trees underneath the big ones. They are good size trees though.
If you live in an area prone to forest fires, like Montana or Idaho, forest service (and insurance companies!) recommend that you take out any tree smaller than 3 inches in diameter within a certain radius of your house. Contact your local forest service or insurance company for the exact radius. This thinning reduces the risk of forest fires being severe in your immediate area because of the lack of fuel to burn.
Consider that if you take out all of the younger trees, there will be no new growth to one day replace the mature trees as they die, so leave a healthy mix of mature trees and trees larger than 3 inches in diameter. Thinning will also open up areas so that other trees have a chance to grow.
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