A 14-year-old mixed oak stand was thinned in 1977 to stocking levels of 30, 50, and 60 percent and a control. From this stand, 117 trees were selected and their stem-related defects recorded. Six years later these same trees were reevaluated. The number of limb defects per square foot of surface area increased substantially more in the heavily thinned plots than in the unthinned plots. Trends in these data confirm commonly held beliefs that stand density affects stem quality after only a few years.
Sonderman, David L. 1985. Stand density-a factor affecting stem quality of young hardwoods. Res. Pap. NE-561. Broomall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 8 p.