Ash Timber Prices Improve

pre-blight ash tree standing along road
Ash is a fairly wide reaching species of N. American hardwood with a range that includes all eastern states and several west of the Mississippi river. It is relatively shade intolerant and prefers popping up in open fields or taking advantage of canopy disturbances caused by storms or timber harvesting. Though it has been a staple of the N. American forest for millenia, the introduction of an Asian beetle is threatening it with eventual extinction.

Ash: An Excellent Hardwood

White Ash has a strong terminal bud and exhibits natural self-pruning of lower limber, resulting in very straight grain that makes it well suited for baseball bats, tool handles and dimensional lumber used for things such as sofa frames and many other furniture components. Ash is second only to hickory for the use of tool handles due to its pliable strength—Ash will bend but not easily break under pressure. Ash trees ability to self prune lower limbs results in fewer knots and, in general, higher-value lumber production. Along with Hard Maple and a minority of other species', Ash is referred to as "white wood" among lumber suppliers because the sapwood is actually the desirable part of the tree—in most other N. American species of hardwood trees such as Cherry, Oak and Walnut, the sapwood is discarded in favor of the rich color and greater-strength of the heartwood.

The Economics of Emerald Ash Borer

The introduction of the Emerald Ash Borer into the hardwood stands of North America has been devastating to the Ash population, taking a once prevalent genus of the Appalachian forest and threatening it with eventual extinction. According to the Ohio Forestry Department the Emerald Ash Borer infects and eventually kills all Ash trees down to a mere 1" in diameter. Unfortunately this invasive species will eventually be the end of the Ash population in N. America. The short term affect of this blight on the Ash population served to sharply increase the inventory of Ash logs available to mills and other forest-products companies throughout the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. The mechanism for this increase was simple—in an effort harvest the Ash before it died and lost its timber value, landowners opted to cut this wood heavily, thus flooding the market with supply.

Any basic course in economics stresses that the market price of a commodity is determined by the interplay of demand for the product and its supply. In this specific instance, the greatly increased supply of Ash on the open market led to a decrease in its value over the past several years.

As the borer spreads and lays waste to a greater and greater proportion of the Ash stand, this effect is beginning to show signs of abatement, with the promise of eventual reversal as supplies of the hardwood available for harvest get smaller and smaller. Essentially the supply of Ash is dwindling, resulting in higher prices for the trees.
Emerald Ash Borer is decimating the commercial viability of your stand of Ash timber.
This is bittersweet news for land owners in the southern Ohio and northern Appalachian region, where the presence of Emerald Ash Borer has yet to become widespread. Landowners with remaining stands of healthy Ash trees are seeing the value of these trees increase to levels not seen for several years. In fact, the price of Ash trees have shown a solid 10 - 20% improvement over the past 6 months. Still, Emerald Ash Borer will eventually take all the Ash from our hardwood stands. If you own a stand of timber in southern Ohio, northern Kentucky or other areas of the northern Appalachian region you should have a qualified firm evaluate the composition and value of your stand of hardwood.

How Much is Your Ash Worth?

Emerald Ash Borer is decimating the commercial viability of your stand of Ash timber. Without dismissing the tragic nature of this event, it is essential that you act as a timber owner—harvest your Ash before it is too late! For a no-obligation assessment of the value of your Ash trees contact Timber Works today!

Comments 1

  1. I have 3 large Ash trees on my property 55 years ,and 2-45 plus years and would like to know there worth.

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