Is My Timber Big Enough To Harvest

If properly managed, a woods can provide land owners with a wealth of benefits including both recreational enjoyment and periodic cash flows from timber harvests. In addition to the obvious financial benefit that comes with a well managed stand of hardwood, the forest can also provide vital wildlife habitat and beautiful recreational grounds for activities like trail riding and camping. There are a lot of factors involved in deciding whether and when to harvest your standing timber including species and quality, but the number one question average timber owners know nothing about usually involves the size of their timber. The number of large, mature trees is the single most important factor in deciding whether you should harvest your timber. So, is your timber big enough to harvest?

Harvest Your Timber at the Right Time

Like any other agricultural good, there is a window of time during a trees life-cycle where it is prime for harvesting.
Like any other agricultural good, there is a window of time during a trees life-cycle where it is prime for harvesting.
Before this period of time the timber contains a much smaller volume of lumber due to the nature of tree growth—as the diameter of the tree grows, its volume grows exponentially. In other words, a tree that is 18" in diameter has much more volume than twice that contained in a tree that is only 9" in diameter. Beyond the prime harvest window, trees begin a slow, gradual decline, losing value and quality along the way. This is perfectly natural for in the life cycle of a woods, but it has important implications on whether or not your timber should be harvested. Though trees that have went too long tend to have lots of board footage, they are often riddled with rotten areas, defects such as lightning scars or frost cracks, and the overall the quality of the lumber they contain is lower than that of prime trees. For these reasons, Timber Works strongly encourages land owners to only cut trees that are mature and ready to harvest. A typical rule of thumb for assessing whether or not your trees are ready to harvest is whether or not you can wrap your arms around it. A tree that an average person can wrap their arms around is too small to harvest and should be left to grow.

Average hardwood growth is about 2" - 4" in diameter per decade, so a small tree can easily grow to a size big enough to harvest within the average period of time timber lands are held.

Choose the Right Trees

Cutting timber with these principles in mind ensures there is a variety of sizes and ages within a timber stand. Proper management be the difference between obtaining a single harvest per generation from a stand of timber verses 3, 4 or even 5 harvests! Beyond the economic incentives of proper harvesting, maintaining a sound forest management plan also increases the health and vitality of a woods ultimately making it more enjoyable for both the land owners and the local wildlife as well! Contact us today for a no-obligation assessment of your timber stand.

Comments 5

  1. 134 acres in Missouri I need logged for future developing, and of coarse profit.any help would be much appreciated

  2. Have 4 acres of woods and about a 8-10 “yard trees” of oak and hickory. Would like to speak to someone about harvesting these trees. Thanks

  3. Post

    Dennis: Unfortunately we do not buy yard trees and our overhead expenses demand a little more volume than you describe. If you have a means of transporting the logs, we would buy them at our yard but are unable to harvest them for you. Good luck!

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