Branching off from another thread... My wood lot is about three acres. It is solid thicket. So thick you can hardly walk through all the yaupon and scrub brush and spindly saplings to get to the hundreds of big pignut hickories and oak (mostly water oak and pin oak.) Some of the saplings struggle to reach sunlight and are therefore so skinny they can't hold themselves up. They'll never make it long term. I've cut several meandering walking paths through the woods. Makes for a nice walk. The beagles and the grand daughters love it. So do I. I love trees! I grew up in the Texas Panhandle. I probably have more trees on my three acres than you'd find in any five counties in the Panhandle. When I'm walking back there I'm always looking up to check for damaged tops or newly dead (or dying) trees that I will need to take down for firewood. I never cut a good, green tree. Don't need to. There are a lot of standing dead that are beyond use as firewood. They look weak and rotten and ready to fall over. Bark is blown and I can see large woodpecker holes all over them. I just leave them alone. But I am concerned with all the yaupon that acts almost like a ground cover. I'm afraid that it is actually detrimental to the growth and health of my big trees. I'm not sure how to balance the health of the wood lot to preserve the good trees, with the desire to maintain the habitat for the critters who live out there. Lots of deer, for example. I could go in and scrape it all out and just leave the trees but I'm not really interested in having a three acre park. Maybe I should go in and clean out a small area around the trees that seem threatened by the underbrush and leave the rest in a natural state? I'm as much, or more, interested in maintaining the beauty of my woodland as in preserving trees for future firewood. I have plenty of access to lots of good, standing dead on friends properties. No need really to harvest my own wood except for, as previously mentioned, standing dead or storm damaged trees. Comments?