Trees for profit

Ron Wenrich woodtick at
Mon Apr 7 19:40:16 EST 1997

Don Staples <dstaples at> wrote in article
<3349150D.3FE7 at>...
> Jamie Simpson wrote:
> > 
> > I have read, with interest, the recent postings on the value of trees.
> > In my neck of the woods there aren't much woods.  Most of the land is
> > urban or agricultural.  However, I still hear of trees beig sold at the
> > stump for 2 - 3 THOUSAND dollars.  Even in Canadian dollars, that is a
> > lot of money for ONE tree.  These are high valued hardwoods, walnut,
> > cherry, hickory, whatever.  Forget about pulpwood!  Grow high value
> > hardwoods if you can and wait.
> I know of one walnut tree in northern Illinoise that sold for $37,000 on
> the stump.  Unusual tree, but shows what the potential is.  And don't
> bad mouth pulp wood, they are the competition that forces the finale
> crop tree to be what it is, pruned, straight, and a survivor.  Every
> plant is a part of the formulae for growing that finale crop.

I believe that tree was sold about 1980.  I remember the phone ringing off
the hook of every landowner who had a walnut tree.  As I stated in an
earlier posting, a walnut veneer log was bought by a Maryland buyer for
$52,000.  37 dib at 15 ft.  Growth ring spacing was the key.

It seems that I am the only one who cuts up any of this timber that
landowners are growing.  I will tell you that fast growing trees do not
make as good of lumber as slow growing trees.  Boards have more of a
tendency to twist and cup.  Take a look at the quality of 2x4's at your
local lumber yard.  Furniture is now being made with cutting strips between
2 and 4 inches, mainly due to stability, which is lacking in fast grown
timber.  This is why old growth is more valuable to lumber users.  It also
has better grain characteristics.  There is a rapidly expanding market to
reuse old barn and factory timbers.  Wide plank flooring can be made from
these slower grown timbers.  These old boards are fetching $8 per foot and
up.  These old timbers are the major source for chestnut.  Just because a
tree is grown fast does not mean it has quality.  Veneer buyers are stocked
full and are becoming highly selective.  Growth patterns may be the key to
selling veneer, especially if the long overdue recession kicks in.

The key to growing high value hardwoods, in my opinion, is to allow the
trees to reach maturity at satisfactory stocking levels.  This allows good
growth but gives better quality lumber.  I see too many stands gutted
before maturity, mainly due to greed by landowners, foresters, and loggers.
 There is a 7:4:1 ratio in value for grade 1:grade 2:grade 3 trees.  I
don't know if this ratio holds true for softwoods.  In other words, if a
grade 3 tree is worth $100/Mbf then grade 2 is worth $400/Mbf and grade 1
is worth $700/Mbf.  Size is one of the limiting factors in hardwood grade
trees.  Too many trees are snipped before reaching grade 1, which is a
disservice to the landowner and the industry.


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