Making HAY from Your Forest

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Published on: Aug. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 3, 2010

wholesalers. Landowners can harvest seed themselves or sell harvesting rights to a seed collection company.

Seed production is variable, even in local areas. For consistent income, landowners should focus on several different species and become familiar with the seed production requirements for each. You should also check special state regulations regarding the species being harvested, although there are few restrictions for harvesting on private land.

Decorative Wood & Horticultural Products

Unusual parts of trees, such as burls, conks, shelf fungus and dwarf mistletoe-infected branches, can be sold in most areas of the country. Distorted grain patterns, colors and textures lend appeal to wood turnings, veneer, carvings or sculpture.

Diamond willow walking sticks made from willow infected with canker are popular. In Missouri, oak, hickory, willow, red cedar, walnut, sassafras and staghorn sumac are harvested when 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter for walking sticks. Wholesale prices average $1 to $2 per 3- to 4-foot stick.

Cypress knees, fruitwood grafts, pine knots, knot holes and limb crotches can be marketed through hardwood lumber outlets, carving shops and specialty wood supply houses. A few specialty wood supply catalogs also list a variety of these products. Horticultural supply companies occasionally stock this type of material for bouquets, floral arrangements, bases, etc.

Oak, hickory and elm (with bark still attached) sticks in a diameter of .5 to 1.5 inches are required by manufactures of bent-wood or rustic furniture. Fresh 4-foot sticks sell for approximately 50 cents each. Longer sticks--up to 10 feet long--sell for more. Eastern red cedar also is used for similar products. You can ship sticks to manufacturers in small bundles.

Burls, figured wood, spalted wood or woods of unusual color also are in demand for turnings, wood pens, furniture panels, veneer and many other specialty uses. These are items that are relatively scarce and highly desirable, therefore it is not uncommon for them to be sold individually.

Spalted wood usually develops in logs or trees that have been lying on the ground long enough for the decay process to begin. Spalting usually occurs in the sapwood portion of the tree, leaving the heartwood still usable for lumber or other solid wood products. Old log decks sometimes are a good source of spalted wood.

Decorative woods generally are sold by weight. The price per pound is highly variable and depends on the species, rarity and quality of the item. It is not uncommon for items in this category to change hands

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