Gypsy Moth and Your Timber

gypsy moth attacks white oak

Gypsy Moth Invasion

The Gypsy Moth is an invasive species from Western Europe. It was transplanted into the Boston Area by a French Scientist in 1868. Since it’s introduction, the Gypsy Moth has made a slow but methodical march southward, invading the lush Appalachian Hardwood forest only in the past decade or two.1

The first large scale outbreak of the Gypsy Moth occurred in 1889, but was isolated in scope. However, by 1990 the moth had established populations throughout the northeast US as well as the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The insect is working its way westward with populations in West Virginia, Michigan and now Ohio.

Eradication efforts are ongoing but so far ineffective at eliminating the threat of this invasive species.

While the moth itself is relatively benign, the caterpillar phase of the insects lifespan can wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy tree. Gypsy Moth caterpillars have a particular affinity towards Northern White Oaks and Chinkapin White Oaks, often causing rapid decline to the host tree upon introduction of the insect to the canopy. The caterpillar form of Gypsy Moth is so ravenous that during a heavy infestation dropping bits of canopy and insect excrement can sound like rainfall!

Invasive Gypsy Moth Continues Spread

While state and national agencies are working hard to slow it’s progression, the Gypsy Moth is uniquely adapted to move—threads created by the caterpillar are allow the insect to take flight during moderate or strong winds and move up to two miles from the tree on which they were hatched.

Given the Gypsy Moth’s unique travel capabilities and voracious appetite, it is proving to be one of the largest threats to the forest in North America. It is estimated that the Gypsy Moth is currently causing over $500M per year in damage to the eastern US forest, making it one of the costliest invasive species to enter the United States to date.

Management of the Gypsy Moth includes the application of pesticides and the use of pheromones to disrupt the mating cycle of the moth. While there are significant efforts at eradicating this pest the results have been slow and arduous and the advancement of the Moth into Ohio is continuing. Despite it’s preference for Oak, Gypsy Moth larvae can feed on most of the species of trees native to the Appalachian hardwood region.

The Gypsy Moth poses a grave threat to all species of North American hardwood, especially members of the White Oak genus, killing trees within a season or two.

What Ohio Forest Owners Should Know

Some of the best Northern White Oak is grown right here in Ohio. Particularly in the Appalachian region of the state, White Oak grows tall and straight and nice.

The valuable Northern White Oak seems to be among the most vulnerable to Gypsy Moth…

In fact, the White Oak stand in Ohio is one of our most valuable natural resources, contributing hundreds of millions of dollars per year to the economy and supporting entire industries such as the state’s rapidly expanding stave industry.

Ohio forest owners who own land in this area, should consult with a professional about steps they should take to control he spread of Gypsy Moth and preemptively harvest certain trees that are vulnerable to a die off. Within a season or two a single dead tree can turn into dozens, not only decimating the vitality and canopy of the woods but also destroying valuable, merchantable timber.

Contact Timber Works today to discuss Gypsy Moth and the implications it has for your woods.

References

1: Wikipedia: Gypsy Moth

Kiln Drying Reclaimed Lumber

kiln drying lumber

Using lumber that has been reclaimed from the timbers and decking of old buildings, barns and warehouses is a growing trend in design. Reclaimed or antique lumber is used primarily for decoration and home building. Typical uses include siding, architectural details, cabinetry, furniture and flooring.

A number of woods, either due to natural supply constraints, are only available as reclaimed lumber. These woods were abundant but for one reason or another—overlogging in the cases of the western redwood and Longleaf Heart Pine or a blight in the case of the American Chestnut—large quantities can only be amassed through reclamation.

Barns are perhaps the most important source of wood for reclaimed lumber. Those built around the turn of the 19th century are typically constructed from wood that was available in the area. Beams are hand hewn and limited to what could be moved by draft animal.

After this period, modern sawmills began to come into the picture and beams and slats began to be made in a more typical manner.

Reclaimed Lumber is Inherantly Eco Friendly

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) benchmark for designing, building and operating green buildings.To be certified, projects must first meet the prerequisites designated by the USGBC and then earn a certain number of credits within six categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation and design process.1

Reclaimed lumber is LEED certified.

Using reclaimed wood can earn credits towards achieving LEED project certification. Because reclaimed wood is considered recycled content, it meets the ‘materials and resources’ criteria for LEED certification, and because some reclaimed lumber products are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, they can qualify for LEED credits under the ‘certified wood’ category.

Reclaimed Lumber is Stronger and More Durable

Another reason consumers and designers alike choose reclaimed lumber is it’s unique appearance and it’s strength, stability and durability. Many experts believe the relatively increased strength of reclaimed lumber is due to the lack of air pollution that existed up until the 20th century.

Another reason reclaimed lumber is stronger than boards cut now is the fact that these trees were often harvested from virgin forests that had hundreds or even thousands of years of slow growth without human intervention.

Wood naturally expands and contracts through the year as the moisture content and temperature of the air changes. Newly sawn lumber does this inherently more than lumber that has been reclaimed. Reclaimed lumber has been through this expansion and contraction hundreds of time in many cases rendering the wood more stable than new lumber.

Using Reclaimed Lumber

Reclaimed lumber can be used in it’s aged, rustic form or it can be resawn into high quality boards. Reclaimed beams can often be sawn into wider boards than are available from trees today due to the larger size of virgin timber.

The most common reason reclaimed lumber should not go straight from the barn into your home is insects.
In either case, there is some precaution that must be taken when utilizing reclaimed lumber in your project. Reclaimed lumber can contain foreign metal objects.

In some cases, reclaimed lumber may have been treated with unknown compounds that could have environmental or health consequences.

The most common reason reclaimed lumber should not go straight from the barn into your home is insects. Often time these barns and antique structures are not completely dry, making opportunities for ants, bees, termites and other harmful insects to take up residence.

Reclaimed lumber should be kiln dried for at least three days at a temperature greater than 127 degrees to kill both adults and larval forms of all insects. This process has the additional benefit of ensuring the stability of the lumber.

For information and pricing on drying kiln-drying your reclaimed lumber call Timber Works today.

References

1: Usgbc: Leed

Sustainable Nature of US Hardwood

sustainable hardwood forest

Given the disastrous and irresponsible nature of deforestation currently taking place in South America, one would be forgiven to assume that hardwood forest in North America is harvested in a similarly unsustainable manner. However, there are many characteristics of the US Hardwood Forest that make it ideal at providing high-value lumber products in a sustainable fashion, while sequestering carbon at the same time.

While environmentalists take hardened stances regarding logging and forest management, the facts are overwhelmingly in favor of the North American forest-products industry.

Hardwood trees are sustainable, biodegradable and renewable.

The North American Forest Continues Growing

Hardwood Timber in North America is highly-sustainable. As the following graphs help illustrate, timber volume has increased substantially since the earliest data was collected. What’s better, is that net growth, which equals estimated volume less the amount harvested, has steadily increased over the last 50 to 60 years.

graph of US hardwood forest volume and ownership.

Source: “Why North American Hardwoods,” NHLA.
The volume of hardwood timber in North America has increased more than 90% over the last half century. Net growth has exceeded total harvest during each survey year, with net gain in timber volume more than doubling harvested timber volume in 2006.

This is in part due to the relatively small average holding of timber. Roughly 80% of the timber land in the United States is in private hands, making up just over 10 million land owners with an average timber parcel size of 25ac. Harvests generally occur once per life time of a given land owner.

Each year hardwood volume increases by about 630 million board feet, even after accounting for harvests, fires, storms and insect losses.

The North American hardwood forest is abundant and sustainable. Forest products provide a clear environmental advantage over other processed materials such as plastic, concrete or steel which have damaging effects on the environment.

Clean and Renewable Timber

From the combined efforts of the forest product industry and private timber owners, new trees are being planted at about a 6:1 ratio to trees being harvested. This results in about 2.6 million new acres of new plantings annually.

This sort of strict management is not necessary in the hardwoods product industry. Hardwood forests self replicate prolifically and active plantings are typically unwarranted. This is due to the management and composition of the tree stands and the method of harvest.

Rather than the clear-cut, re-plant model adopted by the softwood industry, hardwoods are typically select-harvested, taking the most mature trees at the peak of their carbon sequestering capabilities. Taking marked trees that have been specifically chosen ensures minimal disruption to the forest floor and canopy.

Forests produce oxygen and sequester carbon dioxide, improving air quality and taking excess carbon out of the air. By converting wood into building products, you are essentially sequestering carbon for the long term. The EPA estimates US forests remove the greenhouse gasses of about 139 million cars.

Wood composes nearly half of all raw materials used by U.S. manufacturers while the energy used to produce wood products accounts for only 4% of total manufacturing. Hardwood materials are a bargain for the environment. They have lower production and disposal costs than man-made alternatives like concrete, steel, glass and synthetics.

Hardwood is a Solid, Sustainable Choice

Wood comes from a biological source that grows, matures and is harvested. These resources have proven abundant, sustainable and renewable. When compared to alternate building materials, wood has a clear edge:

Concrete…

  • Produces 23% more solid waste than wood
  • Emits 81% more greenhouse gases than wood
  • Creates 47% more pollutants in the air
  • Discharges 350% more water pollution than wood
  • Uses 81% more resources than wood

Steel…

  • Emits 34% more greenhouse gases than wood
  • Releases 24% more air pollution than wood
  • Discharges 400% more water pollution than wood
  • Uses 11% more resources than wood
  • Produces 8% more solid waste than wood

Build Green With Wood

Despite common misconceptions, there is simply no better or more environmentally neutral choice for building than American hardwoods.

…the US hardwood forest will be a source of green building materials for generations to come.
The forests that create products like flooring, furniture, baseball bats, etc. are abundant, renewable, sustainable and environmentally preferable to available alternatives.

Management practices implemented by the US forestry industry are directed by a clear imperative to grow timber volume at a pace greater than harvest rates.

This directive has proven an overwhelming success. The long term viability of this wonderful natural resource has been ensured by the joint effort of government agencies and forest-industry organizations. It is clear that the US hardwood forest will be a source of green building materials for generations to come.

Give Timber Works a call for a free assessment of your timber today.

Selling Dead Ash Timber

emerald ash borer severe damage

Our company receives literally hundreds of calls regarding dead Ash timber and yard trees.

Some of these calls are homeowners looking to have the trees removed from their yard cost effectively. Others are timber owners hoping to salvage some commercial value from the dead trees. In either case there is an excellent chance that your Ash, even if the canopy is 100% gone, still has some value.

As has been discussed many times on this blog, the Ash population of Ohio and the surrounding states is being decimated by an invasive Asian beetle.

These trees are dying at an alarming rate. Once they have died—when all or most of the canopy is gone—the trees slowly but surely rot, thereby losing their commercial value.

For Dead Ash Trees in Your Yard

Ash trees in your yard will die.
Ash trees in your yard will die. Unfortunately, except in the case where the lot was part of a woods before building, it is unlikely the Ash in your yard has commercial value. Still, even if the trees were once part of an undeveloped timber tract, questions of accessibility and conditions will determine whether the trees can be harvested, resulting in money going to the land owner or removed, likely resulting in a bill.

If your Ash trees need removed rather than harvested, call Timber Works for a quote. Because we have markets for the fiber resulting from the removal, we bid very aggressively.

For Dead Ash Timber in the Woods

This is the best scenario both for salvaging commercial value and in limiting the damage to your property resulting from the Ash stand’s decline.

Depending on where your property is located geographically, the Ash trees in your woods may be untouched by Emerald Ash Borer or they may be totally decimated.

If you live in the south, your Ash stand is likely healthy and should continue to be managed, without devoting resourced to developing the standing Ash. In other words, economically viable Ash should be removed as usual when they are greater than 18 to 20 inches diameter at chest height (DBH).

If you’re Ash stand is actively on the decline, a different strategy should be recommended. If there is significant value in the stand, it may well be wise to pre-emptively harvest this Ash in order to accrue as much of the value as possible. In these situations, we’ve cut trees as small as 14″ DBH to sell as saw timber.

Your Ash trees are going to come down. If they are in your yard, they should be brought down by a professional, insured timber company. If they are in your woods, you should act fact to remove the commercial value before it is lost.

In either case, contact Timber Works today.

Identifying Hardwood Defects Part One

woodpeckers can create defects in hardwood

While volume is the single most important factor in determining the value of a stand of timber, the quality of the trees is nearly as important. To this end, a number of factors can cause trees to have “defects,” and therefore lower values.

Common Timber Defects

Put plainly, a defect can be defines as an imperfection in the slab zone, quality zone, or heart center resulting in the reduction of sound wood volume and quality. Though often times different defects can appear similar, the degree to which value is affected can differ drastically.

The most common defect visible in a standing tree is called a bark distortion. Bark distortions can be the result of mechanical wounds, holes, ingrown bark, bird peck and overgrown knots.

Bark distortion can occur in three classes: light, medium, and heavy. Generally, light bark distortion consisting of a simple horizontal break is not a grading defect as it is located deep within the quality or heart section of the wood. Medium and heavy distortions are grading defects and result in a reduction in the volume of high-quality saw lumber. It is a common misconception that limbs are the only significant factor affecting standing timber grades, however bark distortions, while not limbs themselves, are often just as degrading.

Another common defect is bird peck. This is caused by various species of woodpecker eating insects and larvae found in the cambium of many hardwood tree species.

In veneer logs, epicormic branches are considered a major defect and prevent a tree from being suitable for most types of veneering.
It is important to make a distinction in fresh birdpeck as opposed to heavy birdpeck or birdpeck that spans multiple seasons. While light birdpeck doesn’t detract from the value of a tree, heavy birdpeck causes stain and undesirable features across most species. The exception being members of the Hickory genus which develop a distinct purple stain as the result of even light birdpeck.

The final defect we will discuss in this blogpost is epicormic branches. These are clusters of buds and small stems that shoot out of the main trunk of a tree. This defect is common among many members of the Oak genus.

Underlying the epicormic branch scar is a knot surrounded by numerous tiny twig knots and possibly small bark pockets. The epicormic branch knot may not penetrate deeply into the wood. However, these epicormic branches along with the bud clusters may develop at intervals throughout the life of the tree and then become overgrown so that the defects they cause are found at several to many localities within the bole. Adventitious bud clusters and epicormic branches can develop independently of each other.

In veneer logs, epicormic branches are considered a major defect and prevent a tree from being suitable for most types of veneering.

To a large degree, the impact to the value of a tree caused by a given defect is largely determined by how long the defect has been in place. Be it scars, wounds or bird peck, in general, the longer the defect has been affecting the tree the greater the impact to the value of the tree will be.

Give Timber Works a call for a free assessment of your timber today.

Standing Ash Prices on the Rise

emerald ash borer damage

Timber Works is currently paying some of the highest prices we have ever paid for standing Ash timber!

Ash in Diminishing Supply

As you may or may not know, the Ash population of North America is in drastic decline, brought on by an invasive insect known as the Emerald Ash Borer.

This Asian bug overwinters in the cambium of all N. American Ash tree species’, burrowing tunnels in the tree’s cambium and ultimately cutting off the ability for water and nutrients to flow up and down the tree between root and canopy.

This outbreak has decimated Ohio’s population of Ash, with many stands in Northern and Central Ohio undergoing a complete kill off in the past few years. Though this is a tragic event, timber owners have a unique opportunity to sell their standing Ash at prices significantly higher than historic averages, even after the trees have died.

Act Fast to Get the Most from Your Trees

If your trees are still putting on leaves, there’s a good chance their value has not been significantly affected by the borer. However, once the canopy dies completely, the tree begins to decay and salvaging any commercial value from the dead Ash trees in your stand becomes a race against time.

Dead Ash tree among otherwise healthy canopy (right). Cambium damage typical of Emerald Ash Borer (left).
Removing the Ash from your woods has several benefits. The first, most obvious benefit, is the financial gain to be had from selling your trees before they are too far gone. The second, less obvious benefit, is the fact that having a woods full of dead trees poses a safety concern to landowners, their pets and others that find themselves in your woods. Falling limbs and debris can cause serious physical injury to people and animals. Further, the dead Ash trees are unsightly and take up room that should be occupied by other species filling in the gaps left by the Ash kill.

Contact us today for a no-obligation assessment of your standing Ash timber today!

Walnut Quarantine Expansion Looming

thousand cankers disease in black walnut

We’ve discussed the explosive expansion of the Walnut Twig Beetle’s territory in North America as well as the terrible disease it carries on this blog before. In short, the species is believed to be native to the continent but has expanded its range dramatically over the past decades. The beetle feeds on, and therefore carries the spores of, a fungus with a particular predilection for Black Walnut.

Although Western species of Walnut have fairly robust immunity to the fungus, it wreaks havoc on otherwise healthy Black Walnut trees (Juglans nigra), which are found throughout much of the eastern United States.

The beetles interaction with Black Walnut of the east results in the devastating Thousand Cankers Disease and the eventual death of the tree. The fungus and the beetle have developed a symbiotic relationship whereby the twig beetle feeds on the fungus as it grows on an infected Walnut tree. As a winged, flying insect, the beetle then flies to the next tree, carrying the fungus to its next host and so on.

Although researchers are unclear as to why and how the beetle’s range has expanded over the later part of the twentieth century, it is clear that the beetle has most recently been detected in Butler County Ohio for the past several seasons.

This has resulted in the addition of Butler county to the growing number of places throughout the east with quarantines preventing the transportation or removal of Black Walnut timber.

Growing Quarantined Regions

Butler County has already been quarantined!
There are currently 16 states with some sort of quarantine on the transportation of Black Walnut within their boundaries.

While most of these quarantines refer specifically to bringing Black Walnut timber into the state from outside areas, there are also states with restrictions on moving Black Walnut timber from one county to another within the same state. These states are Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. Of these states, both Tennessee and Virginia have multiple-county quarantines.

In Virginia, you the quarantine includes both counties with an active infestation of Thousand Cankers disease as well as a “buffer” zone of counties around the infected region (marked in the figure below in blue).


States with county specific limits on the transportation of Black Walnut timber currently include Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Counties throughout the Eastern United States with an active quarantine and restrictions on the removal and transportation of Black Walnut timber are as follows:

  • In Ohio: Butler County
  • In Pennsylvania: Bucks County
  • In Tennessee: Anderson, Blount, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Sevier, Union, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, McMinn, Monroe, Morgan, Rhea, Roane, and Scott counties
  • In Virginia: Chesterfield, Fairfax, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, Powhatan, Prince William, King William, New Kent and King and Queen counties.
If the trajectory of quarantining the infested area follows a similar trajectory to quarantines on invasive species and pests in the past, it is likely that the quarantine zones within regions with a singular county quarantined will grow. In other words, owners of Black Walnut timber in the hot zone for Walnut Twig Beetle may soon lose the right to harvest their timber. That’s why our company is urging residents of neighboring counties to consider a select harvest of their Black Walnut.

Specifically, the Ohio counties of Preble, Montgomery, Warren, Clermont and Hamilton are at risk of quarantine.

What a Quarantine Means in Practice

Most states have enacted interstate quarantines meaning they have disallowed outside Black Walnut from being transported into their boundaries. Intrastate quarantines at the county level are different and have the potential of evoking much harsher restrictions on what a landowner may or may not do with their timber.

In places with county-wide restrictions, Black Walnut is forbidden from being moved out of the county in which it has grown, making it very difficult and in many cases impossible for a landowner to market their timber to buyers.

Effectively this limits a landowner to selling their Black Walnut trees and timber to mills with a physical presence in their county. Unfortunately in many of the quarantines counties, there are no such mills.

The Case for Harvesting Your Walnut Timber

With Black Walnut prices at all time highs and the threat of increasing quarantine ones looming, this is arguably an excellent time to consider harvesting your Black Walnut.

No one knows how far Thousand Cankers Disease will spread, and what sorts of quarantines and restrictions on harvesting will follow. What is clear is that if you own timber, especially Walnut timber near the active quarantine, you should strongly consider going over your options with one of our professional timber buyers. Schedule your assessment today.

Soil Maintenance Practices and Logging

soil erosion prevention

Conducting an environmentally responsible timber harvest is a multifaceted process. Our company works with land owners to create an appropriate harvesting plan that suits the needs to meet their environmental, financial and aesthetic goals of the landowner.

Many times, part of a solid forest management plan includes discussion about proper soil maintenance after logging of your timber is completed.

Where Timber Works Excels

The key consideration our company makes when planning a logging operation is longevity. In short, the process of logging and the considerations taken by the logging crew will have a direct impact on how quickly you’ll be able to harvest your timber again.

This will also determine the impact to wildlife and overall future quality of the timber your woods will be able to grow. A properly harvested woods will grow back quicker and have higher quality trees.

A properly harvested woods will grow back quicker and have higher quality trees.
Timber Works employs team members with specific training in soil maintenance and conservation.

This is how, when necessary, our crew goes to work, above and beyond the timber harvesting operation, to ensure your soil integrity has not been compromised and the woods will quickly rebound from our operation. This can be an important component of ensuring the future integrity of your forest.

Caring for the Soil

The forest floor is one of the most significant indicators of the health of a timber stand. This is where, in a properly managed woods, sunlight is scarce and seedlings get their start. A thick canopy keeps undergrowth at bay, allowing seedlings to get a proper start and continue the never-ending turnover of the forest. The diverse array of plant, animal and insect fauna work to break down nutrients for the trees, that in turn provide habitat and ecosystem for a wide range of organisms. Anchoring this complex ecosystem is the soil.

Regardless of the care with which a logging company harvests your trees, logging upsets the base of soil in the forest which in turn damages the roots of the trees. When roots are damaged, their roots die and begin to break down, causing soil to become looser and more porous. Without the appropriate measures this can cause serious erosion problems after a logger has left.

Logging activities also remove the protective layer of leaf litter and humus that covers the forest floor. This coating is important as it porous and semi-permeable, diffusing the energy of rand drops and allowing them to slowly filter into the soil below. Absent this layer, heavy rains are not absorbed by the soil and water instead flows over the surface of the ground, causing erosion.

Effects of Soil Erosion

Soil erosion has the potential to pollute water. Sediment that washes away from the forest floor often ends up in streams, rivers and other waterways, carrying pollutants such as fertilizers and pesticides used in agriculture, leaked automobile fluids and any other toxins that may be present into the water supplies of important wildlife habitats as well as drinking water reserves.

Though they are almost unheard of in this region, in extreme cases severe soil erosion can lead to land slides, often damaging property and endangering lives.

Soil erosion is bad for the environment and bad for the forest. That’s why Timber Works strives to minimize the overall effects of our logging activities in the woods, right down to taking preventative measures to combat soil erosion once we’ve left the site.

Steps to Prevent Soil Erosion

While it is impossible to conduct a logging operation without some soil disturbance, some specific steps can be taken to speed along the recovery of the soil and forest as a whole.

The basic methods for preventing soil erosion include planting vegetation, installing geotextiles, retention walls and adding mulch to the surface of the soil.


Sometimes the installation of a silt fence is necessary to prevent erosion.
Vegetation will naturally regrow in the woods, but in certain situations, seeding an area after logging has taken place will give the forest floor a head start. Vegetation grows roots into the soil that keep the ground intact. The plants help replace the protective barrier that has been removed by cutting roads and other earth-moving activities.

Adding a mulching layer on top of the freshly seeded ground protects the land from erosion while the plants have time to become established. While rarely necessary in logging, geotextiles and retention walls can be combined with vegetation to reinforce the soil protecting properties of each.

The degree to which soil erosion is a concern and should be weighted in a forest management plan depends heavily on the terrain and grade of the forest in question.

Trust Your Land to the Best

Contact Timber Works today to discuss a plan for harvesting your timber that considers both the financial return from the timber sale as well as the continued health and vibrancy of your land.

Seasonal Trends and Winter Pricing

ohio forest in winter

Like the market for any commodity, it is impossible to predict the rises and falls of the hardwood timber and lumber markets.

Timber prices are cyclical and strongly tied to the overall economic outlook, the strength of the US and global housing markets and tied to design trends that place one species or style in particular more highly regarded than another.

Though no one can say with certainty what will happen to the market for any hardwood timber, based upon consistent, solid data from the past, we can with reasonable assurance make certain educated guesses about the general direction it will go in certain instances. In the case of Walnut, Winter yields higher quality, and therefore more valuable logs.

In fact, the factors that dictate the market price of hardwood timber seem to have converged in the case of Black Walnut, leading to some of the best pricing ever. Black Walnut prices ticked up over the Summer months and are poised to continue the climb.

A Strong Black Walnut Market

Historic trends suggest that Black Walnut values will hold strong through the winter logging season.
The price of Black Walnut timber has gone up each week for over a year, leaving Black Walnut at some of the highest prices ever paid for these trees! This defies the usual trend where prices decline across the board for all hardwood timber in the Summer and rebound in the Winter.

The Summer of 2014 has, in general, kept with this trend. As expected the prices for White Oak, Hard Maple, and other common, popular hardwoods have fallen. The curious exception to this rule has been Black Walnut, which continues to increase in value.

As we go into the end of the Summer tree cutting season, prices across the hardwood market are again beginning to increase, as they do each year, with the value of standing Black Walnut timber being no exception. Historic trends suggest that Black Walnut values will hold strong through the winter logging season. Still, there are reasons beyond the time of year that are driving this strong trend and create an overall positive picture of the future prospects for Black Walnut.

Good Prospects for Continued Growth

The biggest single factor in the price of hardwood timber is the housing market.

On this front there is solid reason for continued optimisim. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, which has housing start data as far back as the 1960s, a little more than a million single-family homes underwent construction in April of 2014, up from just 500 million at the trough of The Great Recession.

While this is still a far cry from the 2.2 million homes that were started in January of 2006, it is still bodes overwhelmingly positively for the future of the hardwood logging industry and all of the related industries such as hardwood flooring, hardwood cabinetry, etc. As the US economy continues to improve, there is good reason for continued optimism about the logging industry and the value of North American Hardwood Timber.

Have Your Timber Assessed

While the bull market in Walnut timber cannot solely be contributed to the uptick in new home construction, we at Timber Works believe the strong Walnut market isn’t going away soon. That said, the price of Black Walnut will eventually go down and there has never been a better time to sell your mature Walnut trees. If you have hardwood timber to sell, give us a call for a no-hassle, free assessment of your woods.

Ash Tree Removal

example of a tall healthy Ash tree

As the Emerald Ash Borer moves through Ohio and the surrounding states, a greater and greater proportion of the Ash population of North America is dying. Now that the forest canopy is once again green and lush, spotting these dead Ash trees are easier than ever.

The mortality rate is nearly 100%. It is likely that within the decade, Ash will no longer be present in the North American forest.

The borer, an invasive species of beetle introduced by Asian timber imports, overwinters in the cambium of members of the North American Ash genus. All species within this genus—most prominently White Ash, Green Ash, Blue Ash and Black Ash—are all highly susceptible to the effects of the insect.

In the southern portion of Ohio and states to the south, southeast and southwest, the damage hasn’t reached the levels it has to the North. In addition to losing most of their commercial value, Ash trees in Michigan and the northern part of Ohio are rapidly becoming a safety hazard.

You see, once these trees die completely, they begin the process of biodegrading like any other dead tree in a timber stand. As the tree breaks down, limbs fall and eventually the entire tree will fall over. If you own timber in the Ohio region, it likely has substantial Ash timber.

Being Proactive About Emerald Ash Borer

There are a number of benefits to being proactive about the threat of Emerald Ash Borer in your woods.

…by acting fast, you ensure your Ash is harvested before its commercial value has been completely wiped out by the borer.
First, when a tree is felled by a professional timber cutter, like those employed by Timber Works, there is a great degree of accuracy in directing the tree towards a particular location.

Our timber cutters can fall your Ash in a direction that minimizes damage to other healthy or valuable trees. Left to their own, it is likely a storm will blow these dead trees over whatever direction the wind happens to be blowing. Further, by acting fast, you ensure your Ash is harvested before its commercial value has been completely wiped out by the borer. Although Ash is not the most valuable hardwood by any stretch, prices for standing Ash timber as well as cut Ash lumber have crept up and will likely to continue to do so as supplies dwindle further.

Finally, by removing these Ash trees before nature takes its course, you reduce the safety hazard posed by falling limbs and debris from high elevations. Dead limbs falling is one of the single most significant dangers in a woods. Referred to as widow-makers in the logging industry, each year falling limbs kill dozens of people including loggers, landowners and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

By removing the dead Ash trees before they progress too far down the path of breakdown, a landowner salvages their value and minimizes the risk of falling limbs, making the woods a safer place to work and play.

If you have Ash that are dead or dying in your woods, give Timber Works a call today. Our expert timber analysts can give you an idea of the number of Ash in your woods, their place in the borer destruction cycle and the value for preemptive harvest.