A red pine plantation is planted in rows and often requires at least 40 years before it is thinned for the first time. A red pine stand is ready for thinning when the following conditions are met:
The bottom branches of the red pine trees have "self pruned" due to lack of sunlight reaching the bottom part of the tree
The tree height is at least 48'
The majority of the trees have diameters which measure at least 12" DBH (diameter breast height)
A red pine stand can be thinned 2-3 times prior to a final "clear cut". As the stand undergoes successive thinnings, hardwood saplings begin to regenerate in the spaces under the pine canopy. After the final "clear cut" the hardwoods will take over the forest.