Tree-Cycling: How To Reuse Downed Trees

Posted on: 17 December 2014

There are many reasons a tree may have to be removed. At times, trees become diseased and weak or age to the point that they are no longer safe to remain upright. In some cases, a homeowner may not like the tree's placement and choose to have it removed for aesthetic purposes.

Whatever the reason, when a tree has to come down, it creates a golden opportunity to recycle. It can take anywhere from several years to several decades for a sapling to mature into a full-size tree. Sending a tree to a landfill is a monumental waste that can be avoided by following the suggestions below.

1. Consider relocation first. If the tree is perfectly healthy, it can most likely be moved to a new location. The process of relocating a mature tree isn't quick and requires a lot of work. It can also be fairly expensive. If, however, you are dedicated to preserving the tree, you can find many online how-to manuals that will walk you through doing it yourself. As an alternative, contact your local landscaping expert or arborist to hire a professional.

2. Turn it into mulch. A downed tree can quickly and easily be shredded via an excavator mulcher. The mulch can be used on your own home or sold to others. Wood chips are a great organic material to spread around other trees, shrubs, and plants. Your re-purposed tree can now be used to nurture other plants, creating a warm, moist environment for beneficial insects and reducing soil compaction.

3. Heat your (or your neighbor's) home.

If you're in an area where a lot of people use wood-burning stoves, consider advertising (via posters or online) free firewood. If you offer the wood for free to people who will do their own chainsawing and hauling, it usually won't be long before all your wood is gone. Alternatively, ask your pruning company to take all the smaller limbs and leaves away, but leave the larger-diameter wood for you to dry and chop for winter use.

4. Give it a second life. 

Especially if your downed tree is a highly sought-after wood--oak, walnut, maple, cedar, pine, etc.--consider donating or selling it to your local lumberyard. A company may not go to the trouble of obtaining just a single tree, but if it is cut into a size that allows you to haul it to the lumberyard, they likely won't say no. The wood can then be cut into planks and given a second life as shelves, a table, or other furniture. Call your lumber company first to see what size they consider usable.

Talk with a tree removal service, like Robert Jefferies Logging & Tree Service, to see what they offer and what suggestions they have for your situation.