Hard Maple Pricing and Quality

hard mape tree and foliage
Hard Maple is a very tricky species to value standing. For the majority of hardwood species, the heartwood is cut into dimensional lumber and lumber products. This is true of Oaks, Walnut, Cherry and most other merchantable timber species.

However, with Hard Maple, it is actually the sapwood that is valuable for lumber and other wood products, not the heartwood.

In other words, Hard Maple lumber is cut from the outer ring of the tree, therefore bigger sap areas are preferred by lumber mills and timber buyers. Setting aside whether or not a log could sell as veneer, in general, the smaller the heartwood of a Hard Maple tree, the more valuable it is. The heart size of Hard Maple trees depends on many factors and is usually hard to predict before cutting.

Determining Hard Maple Quality

Because you can't tell how big the heartwood is relative to the sapwood, Hard Maple is one of the more difficult species' of hardwood timber to value while standing. It is just impossible to know how they will cut. While not fool-proof, there are some rules of thumb for valuing Hard Maple while it is still standing. In general, the more tight the bark on a Hard Maple tree is, the more likely it is to contain high quality wood. Locations with more of certain types of minerals can cause the hearts of Hard Maple trees to grow larger. Further, wetter locations tend to grow Maple with larger hearts. Two Maple trees from the same tract of land and stand of timber can present radically different rations of heartwood to sapwood. Hard Maple is best when it is small hearted, tight-barked and bright white in color. In the picture below the two trees on the left are very high quality, small-hearted and of veneer quality, while the tree on the right has a large heart and will not yield high quality Hard Maple lumber.
The smaller the heartwood, or dark middle section of a Hard Maple, the more valuable it is, in general.

Strong Economy and Stable Hard Maple Market

Because Hard Maple stains in the summer, markets for the timber and lumber produced from this species typically drop sharply in the Summer. In 2014 the strengthening economy seems to be insulating this hardwood from its typical Summer slump and as a result, Hard Maple is still commanding impressive prices, particularly for veneer trees.

Hard Maple timber can vary widely in value, so it's important to have an expert analysis of the trees while they are still standing in order to maximize your return from the sale of your timber.

Give Timber Works a call for a no-hassle assessment of your standing Hard Maple timber.

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