Andover Thinning Operations

As a result of the bark beetle outbreak that began in 2000 and continued into 2001, Andover neighbors organized a thinning operation with the help of city and state officials. The operation will remove infested trees, improve the health of residual trees and protect their homes from wildfires AT NO COST to the landowners. Here's how they?re doing it.

A new state cost-share program called Firewise offers communities help in reducing the risk of wildfires within their borders. The city forester and local residents in a development situated in an established pine plantation contacted the state about getting a grant. The state then helped them locate a professional to do the work and the city set up a contract.

The trees in this area consisted of a mixture of mature red, white and Scotch pine. The volume of trees needing to come out because of beetle infestation and over crowding was enough to sell and a qualified logger bought the wood. The price he paid for the wood will more than cover the cost of the match the landowners needed for the cost-share grant. So they collectively decided to put the extra money to good use. They hired a contractor to chip and spread the slash back under the trees to help maintain soil moisture around the remaining trees and eliminate the fire hazard the slash would cause. Then the contractor will move seedlings scattered through the development to fill in the larger gaps where trees have died. The end result will be a well-thinned, yet fully stocked stand of young and mature pine. It will also remove the potential ladder fuels caused by these trees being thickly stocked under the mature pine. The extra light the thinning created will also result in a substantial increase in the flowers and herbaceous plants in the area. So this spring residents can enjoy the spring beauty as well as the peace of mind that both their stands and their pocket books are healthy and safe.