I have four large walnut trees in my yard in South Carolina that need to be cut down. I'd like to find someone who will buy the logs. How can I find a buyer and someone to cut them down, and how much would the logs be worth?


We get this question from time to time and it's not an easy one to answer. If you desire to "sell" the trees in partial or full exchange for the job of cutting them down, it's helpful to know the ins and outs of turning a tree into lumber (and hopefully, money). Understand that this might not be as simple as described here depending on where you live.

Begin by searching the Internet for information regarding the process of turning a standing tree into usable lumber. There is a brief but good overview entitled "Selling Trees for Lumber" at ehow.com .

It can be a tricky task for the first-time seller as issues of valuation, insurance, equipment, and transport all come into play. However the Internet is a wonderful place to start and offers tons of information and possibilities. Be sure to consider all the issues very carefully however as they are all very important for the success of the project.

To find someone or some company to do the job, there are many resources to explore. Try the local or regional woodworkers or woodturners association. They may have members capable of doing the job, and as a bonus, will turn the harvested wood into objects of beauty, a win-win situation. These associations are located in every state and can be found through an Internet search.

Another great resource is your state forestry department. For example, the state of South Carolina has an extensive list of sawmills operating throughout the state, complete with contact information. Other states may offer this as well. A sawmill may be able to guide you through the process by specifying the steps needed to get your tree to their mill (whether that mill is portable or in a fixed location). A warning in advance. Some sawmills will not want to risk damage to their sawblade that might be caused by striking nails and other metal objects that are more likely to be found in logs from trees growing near people's homes as opposed to trees that grew in the wild.

On the surface, the idea of selling trees for the value of their lumber may seem easy, but you do need to be realistic. Find out if your project is economically viable. Examine the numbers closely and if possible, get bids on the job.

Remember that having insurance to cover liability and potential property damage when trees are being cut down is critical.

If you really want to follow through, you'll need to keep a positive attitude as you explore the options available to you. Altogether this may turn out to be a big job. Good luck with it and happy sawing.

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