Maple trees in my oak stand

Should I girdle the maples, they are multiplying and growing taller than the oaks red/white.

I'll echo Mike's response...."it depends". "It" depends mostly on soil and site conditions. From your description that the maple is currently out-growing the oak, I'll assume these are either Red Maple (Acer rubrum) or Silver Maple (A. saccharinum)(in the south). I'll also assume that the stand is less than ~20 years of age.

In a head-to-head competition with oak, the maple will usually lose. If the maple remains in the stand it's because they had the "room to grow". Give the stand a little more time. In 5 to 10 years, the oak may surprise you and be equal to or greater in height than the maple.

If these maple are residuals (larger than the oak) from a previous harvest then they could become a problem. If the trees are large enough (older than age20), an improvement cut might be possible, depending (there's that word again) on local markets and the amount of volume that might be removed. And remember, a maple of sawtimber quality is still worth more (in $'s) than a pulpwood-sized oak. I'm not a big fan of either of the maple species mentioned, but they do provide an early food souce for seed-eating birds, squirrels, racoons,....


I’ll qualify my response by using my standard forestry answer…it depends. When deciding what trees need to be removed from a woodlot, species is just one key consideration. Setting oaks as your preferred species is a good and prudent measure, but that doesn’t mean it’s a best practice to remove all other species. Such actions can lead to a pure stand, leaving your woods vulnerable to species specific insects or disease outbreaks. While oaks do provide much better food crops for deer, turkey, squirrels, and other wildlife, the old adage of don’t put all your eggs in one basket applies here. In addition to species, other variables to consider in selecting a tree to grow bigger include height, form, health, and growing space. Since the maples are taller than the oaks, that suggests your location would rather grow maples despite your preference for oak. Always look to help trees with a straight stem with no lower branches grow larger. A tree that is starting to decline and look unhealthy will not suddenly rebound if released to more sunlight, but more likely will continue to decline and may infect other trees. The healthiest trees have sufficient space to grow large leafy crowns that will provide food to fuel growth and seed production. The USDA Forest Service has a tremendous resource in “How to release crop trees” ( In addition, if the trees are medium size (10 to 12 inches DBH*) it’s a good idea to consult with a forester to make sure you aren’t leaving money lying on the ground to rot.

* DBH (Diameter Breast Height) - the common measurement to determine tree size and volume, DBH is the diameter of a tree measured at 4 ½ feet above the ground on the uphill side.