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How do you sell a standing walnut tree?

 
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I have a friend that wants to take down 1 walnut tree where she wants to build her house. She has many, but wants to keep all the others. The tree is about 14 inches in diameter at 5ft above ground, and about 10 inches in diameter at about 30 ft above ground, at which point it splits into smaller branches. It appears to be a very healthy tree. It is located on a farm near Hagerstown MD, along side a gravel driveway that large trucks can navigate. There are no low power lines or anything that would get in the way of vehicles or the tree falling.

How much do you think it is worth? How do you get an unbiased estimate? How do you find buyers? Please answer in plain english, as I am not an expert. Thank you very much for your help! Here is a photo of the tree:

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Its worth about -$5,000 or so, as in she will have to pay $2,500 to $5,000 to have someone cut it down.

Wood is worthless, what adds value to wood is cutting it down, moving it to a kiln, stacking it properly, drying it, throwing away to stuff that twists or cracks, then storing, shipping and transporting it.

ESPECIALLY since it is such a tiny tree, its best use is firewood.   To get decent say 8" wide boards, you need a tree at least about 24" in diameter because the outside of the tree is sapwood and has no value and the center is pith and it is no good either.

Walnut grows like weeds and really isn't all that valuable unless you have a really big old tree that is four or five foot in diameter.
 
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That is a paying type of job, not a pay-the-landowner for it sort of job. Logging is a volume business after all.

I did a logging job for a guy one time who wanted a 1 acre pond dug and needed to get the trees out. He was an hour from home and might have netted me 2 loads of wood (20 cord at $60 a cord then). I told him I would do it, but just for the wood, I was not going to pay him stumpage for the cost of hauling my skidder so far away to do such a small job. he agreed though and after his pond area was cleared he wanted me to cut more. In the end I ended up clear cutting about 15 acres for him. Once that started then I started paying him like a regular landowner because it was worth my time to go that far away.

One tree though, I would not walk away from it; I would RUN!
 
Brett Hammond
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Thank you very much for the feedback. The reason I asked was because about 20 years ago the neighbor of a friend lost a walnut tree in a storm and I was told someone bought it from him for $14,000 and shipped it to Japan to be used for vanier. But it was a much larger tree.

So if it isn't worth much, I may fell it myself and cut it into 4 inch thick slaps with an Alaskan sawmill and slowly dry it in a solar kiln, cut it up with a band saw and make furniture out of it. I enjoy learning new skills and have never gone full cycle from standing tree to finished furniture before, and this seems like a manageable first project. Even if I have to glue up 4 inch wide pieces to make a table top, it would be cool to have something made from it.

What is the downside to using the center pith and sap wood? Just that it is a lighter color, or is it weaker or split because of the different moisture content before drying?


 
Michael Bushman
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Brett Hammond wrote:

What is the downside to using the center pith and sap wood? Just that it is a lighter color, or is it weaker or split because of the different moisture content before drying?



That seems like such a simple question but it beggars the the whole requisite knowledge of how to go from firewood to furniture.   If you are going to mill for slabs you need to learn the difference between quarter and plain sawn wood, what part of the tree is the bole and how grain affects the movement of wood.   As for the pith, it has no strength, and it is very movement/warp prone.
 
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Here are some walnut yard trees that I just sawed up on my band mill. Nobody would ever have paid for them, they would have charged to have them removed. I got them for the removal service. I'm sitting on probably 10,000 in walnut. It has a value to the niche sawyer. Youre best bet is to find some one with a portable mill and have them saw it, cost in my area would be .30 to .50 per board foot. Definitely do not cut it into firewood. Imo, it's a little on the small side, so I would saw it into nice boards, youre sap boards can go for 6.00 bd foot, and your clear or sound knot wood, can fetch 8.00 per board foot. I charge 13.00 a board foot for live edge slabs 2'' and up in thickness, and I get it from furniture builders. best of luck, walnut is beautiful and increasingly rare, so it would be a shame to see it go to firewood. It wouldn't be hard to load a log that size onto a trailer with a car jack and a come along, just jack up one end and back the trailer under it then pull it in with the winch. Haul it to a mill if you can find some one portable, and pay the 50 - 100 to have it sawed up.
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It might be cheaper to move the tree and transplant it in a different location or she might find a landscape company that would move the tree at no charge if she gave the tree to them.  Trees that size can be moved and there is a piece of equipment the will grab the tree with its root ball.

These article don't explain it very well but may give you an idea of how it is done.

can-you-move-1400lb-root-ball-with-a-tree-dolly-tree-cart

http://www.donnan.com/planttree.htm

http://www.mdvaden.com/transplanting_service.shtml

If you do a google search there were some Youtubes.  I can't watch youtubes because my computer is slow and has no sound.
 
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TO:  Brett Hammond
FROM:  Eric Koperek = erickoperek@gmail.com
SUBJECT:  How to Sell a Standing Walnut Tree
DATE:  PM 5:14 Monday 6 September 2016
TEXT:

(1)     Move the house and keep the tree.  Eventually, the tree will grow large enough for the Japanese to be interested in it as furniture lumber to make corporate conference tables.  Japanese cabinet makers pay vast sums for LARGE, old trees.  Anything that will fit into a standard ocean freight container will pay big money.  But you have to have a LARGE DIAMETER TREE.  Your tree is far too small to interest Japanese craftsmen.  Your tree is also too crooked (and possibly twisted and warped) to be made into veneer.

(2)     Plant walnut trees for your children and grandchildren.  (In Austria, we measure time in generations).  The big money is for veneer logs.  These must be pruned yearly (remove the lowest branch) to yield a straight, knot free trunk = bole at least 10 feet long.  A mature walnut tree with a clear bole is worth approximately $15,000 at current prices.  

(3)     Contact your state extension forester.  He can give you a free valuation of your tree.  Most state forestry services publish a list of sawmills arranged by county.  Obtain a copy of this sawmill directory and call the NEAREST sawmill to your location.  Prices drop as haulage distance increases.  

(4)     Your best bet might be to contract a sawyer with a portable sawmill.  Have him saw the tree into planks that you can use to make trestle tables for your new house.

(5)     Your tree, at first sight, does not appear to have any timber or veneer value.  It may have some modest worth for specialty lumber provided the planks are dried carefully.

(6)     When in doubt, drop the tree, save the log, strip the bark (to protect wood from bark beetles) and get the log up off the ground and under cover as soon as possible.  Cut branches into 2 to 2 1/2 foot lengths for oven wood.  Shred twigs and leaves for garden mulch.

(7)     Your tree is way too big to be moved, even by the largest commercial tree spaders.  (I ran my first forest nursery before you were born).

ERIC KOPEREK = erickoperek@gmail.com

end comment

 
Brett Hammond
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Thank you all very much for the information. I really appreciate the different perspectives and advice.

What I had in mind was along the lines of what Dan said. Per your suggestion, I did find a few portable mills in my area that charge 30 cents per bdft, but haven't called to see if there is a setup charge yet. The logs in those photos you posted would make a beautiful coffee table with the live edge. Or fireplace mantle. Now I need to figure out how to keep the 2 or 4 inch slabs from cupping during drying. Lots of heavy weights stacked on top? And/Or resaw after drying and hope the resawing doesn't release stored energy?
 
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I have a 100 year old walnut tree in detroit mi I'm trying to sell. It's in a difficult backyard. It has many tree sized branches.
 
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I expect that, unless it has a straight trunk at least a couple feet in diameter and ten feet tall before the first branch, you will need to pay someone to remove it. It will probably need to be taken down piece by piece, by someone with a crane. The wood after removal might be valuable to a specialist or furnituremaker, but probably not to you (in dollars).
 
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I have one 7foot as i put a tape around tree  and no limbs for 20 plus feet what is it worth
 
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I too have black walnut trees. They are giant, beautiful and healthy.Im looking for a buyer as well.These trees are worth some major cash. One tree is 14 ft. In circumference on the base, the second is just over 13 ft.. Branches start about 11 ft.
Buyer must cut clean and pay top dollar for trees. Must be licensed and insured.
contact plarguello@msn.com
Trees are over 200 years old
20210123_115410.jpg
B walnut trees
B walnut trees
 
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I dont understand why people think its ok to cut down 200 year old trees in an open paddock.
 
Glenn Herbert
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Beautiful tree, and unless it is doomed for some reason like imminent construction plans, I doubt it would be worth more in cash than the loss of the tree in the environment. There is no good lumber in the bole with all the branches starting so low, and the branches may be good enough for lumber, but not great. Its largest value would likely be as slabs for tables etc., and you would have to find the right specialty sawyer who wants it. The work of taking it down might negate the lumber value, or it might be worth some money to the right logger. It won't make your fortune, though.
 
John C Daley
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Hopefully its value just for being a tree is greater than any cash amount.

I have seen a 350 year old tree cut down for a vegetable patch that could go anywhere else on an 11acre property!!
But they did not want to walk more than 30 feet from the back door.

I told them it was a very poor decision.
 
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