Growing Your Woods

Fostering a Healthy Woodlands

As trees stop growing or become overcrowded, the risk of disease, wildlife and mortality increases substantially. This is generally a good time to thin or harvest your woods. Proper thinning removes weak and diseased trees, improving the overall health and productivity of your land. Woods that have been properly harvested and replanted grow back more quickly and produce higher quality trees. It is also important to recognize those plants and animals that are detrimental to your land and have them properly removed. Recognizing the signs of a healthy ecosystem is critical to a forest’s success over time. Taking frequent walks in your woods will help to ensure your land is flourishing and the wildlife is thriving.


What are Best Management Practices (BMPs)?

BMPs are the principal means by which water resources are protected during careful forest management. BMPs include tactics, such as leaving a buffer zone of trees next to a stream, properly sizing and installing a culvert to cross a waterway and establishing grass on forest roads to prevent erosion.

Who should I contact to learn more about keeping woodlands safe?

Your local forester (contact: 843-638-7561) is here to help you manage your land and create a plan to ensure your woodlands are protected. Other information can be found on the SGSF website.

How can a properly maintained forest produce clean water?

Forests produce clean water by absorbing rainfall, refilling aquifers, slowing storm water runoff and reducing floods.

Can I sell all of my trees at once?

Yes. Harvesting all of the trees in an area, called clearcutting, is the preferred method if you are planning to replant the area with sun-loving trees such as pines.

Why would someone want to harvest their trees?

Timber harvests are often scheduled after a forester has determined that the area needs to be regenerated (started over) due to the age and/or condition of the existing trees.

How can someone harvest their land while keeping it prosperous?

A forester can advise you on the best way to harvest your timber while protecting nearby streams and preparing the area for replanting.

How can I learn more about timber harvesting and planting?

You can visit the American Forest Foundation website for additional resources on timber harvesting and planting.

Where can landowners find out more information on how to efficiently manage their land?

You can visit the National Association of State Foresters website for additional resources. Your local forester can also provide free advice and connect you with helpful resources to assist you with any major decisions about your woods and land management practices.

Key Resources

A Landowner's Guide to forestry in South Carolina

(Sustainable Forestry Initiative/ Forestry Association of South Carolina)

Forestry Workshops and Information

(Learn Plan Act)

What do you want to do with your land?

(American Forest Foundation)


(United States Department of Agriculture)

Markets for Wood Products

(American Forest Foundation)

Bottomland Hardwood Management

(Mississippi State University)