How much do walnut trees sell for


Selling Walnut Timber | Missouri Department of Conservation

Everybody knows a walnut tree is worth a thousand dollars or more, right? Unfortunately, that isn’t true as often as landowners might hope. However, walnut trees do produce high-end lumber, and you should work to get the best price, even if your trees aren’t veneer quality. Missouri has an abundance of walnut trees. In fact, we have more than twice as many walnut trees than any other state. If you have walnut trees on your property and are looking to sell them, there are some things you should know before you make that first cut.

Making the Grade

There are two basic levels of wood quality when dealing with black walnut — lumber grade and veneer. There are several lumber-grade trees for every veneer-grade tree. That’s why the veneer trees are worth so much — they are rare. You may be able to determine if your tree is lumber or veneer grade by examining the diameter of the tree, the height of the trunk before there is a limb, and the number of defects on the trunk.

The standard for measuring the diameter of a tree is at 4 1/2 feet above the ground, on the uphill side of the tree. To qualify for Grade A veneer, the tree would need to be at least 19 inches in diameter, or 60 inches in circumference. Although it is possible to sell a tree at this size, it is a wiser financial move to keep the tree until it gains more diameter. For example, a black walnut tree that is Grade A veneer at 19 inches diameter is only going to bring the owner $700–$800. If the owner allows the tree to add another 6 inches of diameter, he or she can easily double that income.

Field or Forest

A black walnut tree grown in a field or pasture is usually similar in value to a nice oak tree grown in the forest. One reason for this is that the

length of clear log (trunk with no limbs or defects) is very important to the value of the tree.

At least 9 feet of clear trunk is required to make the good veneer grades. Many trees grown in open spaces will produce limbs low and in all directions from the trunk. This may look nice for a yard tree, but it decreases the timber value. If the tree forks into more than one trunk, or has limbs within 9 feet of ground level, it no longer qualifies as high-grade veneer.

The second problem with most field-grown black walnut trees is the number of defects on the tree. Any blemishes on a tree are considered defects. Each defect reduces the value of the tree. High value black walnut trees typically have large diameters, are straight, and have no defects for a long way up the trunk. One hit with the brush hog will take the tree out of the most valuable veneer category. The wound created by the injury causes the tree to produce callous wood in an effort to seal the wound.

That is a defect. Livestock around field-grown walnut trees also produce defects. Not only can they cause direct damage to the trunk, but their hooves can break the feeder roots of the trees and cause a stain in the wood. Other common defects are bird peck and cat face. Bird peck is, as the name implies, caused by sapsuckers or other woodpeckers making small holes in the trunk. Cat face generally results from a limb dying. The tree  creates callous wood around that old limb site that resembles a cat’s face.

To learn more about caring for young walnut trees to get the best timber prices, go to mdc.mo.gov/node/4188.

Selling Your Timber

If you are fortunate enough to have several walnut trees on your property that have reached their economic and physiological maturity, then it’s time to sell them. With a little planning, this task does not have to be a stressful event. The easiest way to get top dollar for your trees and be satisfied with the process and outcome is to hire a consulting forester to assist you. Consulting foresters are professional foresters who work for themselves or a private company. For a fee, usually a percentage of what the sale brings, they can handle the sale and protect your interests during the harvest. You can find someone to assist you at the Missouri Consulting Foresters Association website at missouriforesters.com.

If you decide to handle the timber sale, a little work before you cut will help ensure that you receive the most from your trees. First, you need to decide which trees need to be harvested. Mark, count, and measure the trees so you know exactly what you are selling. Guides to help you measure and grade walnut logs can be found in MDC’s publication Forest Management for Missouri Landowners, available at mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/Documents/318.pdf, on the University of Missouri Extension website at extension.missouri.edu/p/G5055, by contacting an MDC forester, or by calling your regional office to have one mailed to you. Once you know what you are selling, you can estimate the value of that timber in the Missouri Timber Price Trends. This publication, found on the MDC website at mdc.mo.gov/node/9320, or available from your regional office, provides the prices given for timber based on species, grade, location, and season. This will give you an idea of what your timber is worth — similar to looking up the Kelley Blue Book value if you were selling a car.

Find a Logger

Now you need to find someone to purchase and harvest your trees. A list of potential bidders is available by contacting your local MDC forester or consulting forester. Local foresters often have experience working with the loggers in your area. Master loggers are available in Missouri. Master Loggers are professional, trained, and meet the highest standards placed on the industry. There are also many loggers that have completed Professional Timber Harvester Training (PTH). Loggers that have completed the PTH training have the knowledge necessary to safely harvest your trees while taking care of the residual forest and soil. Your local forester or the Missouri Forest Products Association website, moforest.org, has a list of both Master Loggers and PTH trained loggers.

Sending out a request for bids to prospective loggers will let them know that you have trees to sell. The bid sheet should include your contact information, the location, details about the estimated number, size, and grade of the trees, and the deadline to receive their bid. Samples of bid sheets and contracts are available in the previously mentioned Forest Management for Missouri Landowners publication. Competition generally results in increased revenue. You should solicit bids from several potential bidders. A list of loggers who work in your area can be obtained through your local MDC forester.

Higher volumes and quality usually result in more interested bidders. Most perspective bidders will want to come look at the trees for sale (a good reason to have them marked) before they submit a bid for your trees. Meet with them so you get an idea of which loggers you feel comfortable with, ask for — and check — references. Make sure you both understand what is expected during the harvest process. This will help you make the final decision of who you want harvesting your trees.

Economics may limit the number of loggers interested in bidding. Loggers must consider distance, time, equipment costs, value of the wood, and any risks they may be taking. Risk is one of the reasons a tree near a home generally can’t be sold. Within city limits a city business license is often required (which a logger probably does not have). The large amount of risk associated with harvesting the tree seldom outweighs the profit. Even if the tree is worth a few hundred dollars, it may not be worth the risk if the tree might damage a house or powerline. The potential for the tree to have metal, or some other blade-damaging item, in it also increases in trees located near a house.

Create a Contract

Once you have decided on a logger, you need a written contract. A contract will protect both you and the logger from any misunderstandings. One of the primary components of the contract is how and when you are to receive the money for your trees.

The safest and easiest way to get your money is called a “lump sum.” This method of payment requires the logger to pay you the full price he offered for the timber — generally received before any trees are cut. Many loggers will want to harvest your timber on “shares” because it guarantees he will not lose money on the sale. Cutting on shares means you have agreed on a percentage split of the profits. The profit is determined by the payment the logger receives at the sawmill. Although it is common for oak sales to be split 50/50, a walnut sale should have a higher percentage going to the landowner.

That percentage will increase with the increase in quality of the timber. Sixty percent to the landowner and 40 for the logger is common in lower-quality timber sales. Percentages can go up to 80 percent to the landowner and 20 percent to the logger on really high-value timber sales. Timber sales should be supervised by both the landowner and a forester. Periodically checking the progress of a sale will help ensure the contract is being followed. It also conveys that you are concerned about your remaining forest, soil, and property.

Not every black walnut tree is worth thousands of dollars, but they are still an important part of our forest industry and valuable to landowners. Knowing more about the sale of timber can make a big difference in your profit and how satisfied you are after the harvest.

How Much Is A Black Walnut Tree Worth? – Upgraded Home

A black walnut tree is a beautiful plant that can also be worth quite a bit of money. Black walnut trees vary in price based on several factors, but it generally comes down to size. Whether it be the height or diameter, let's explore the factors that determine a black walnut tree's value.

Black walnut trees are sought after because they look great in any yard. Because of that, many builder-owners or large property owners looking to rejuvenate their landscape wonder just how much a black walnut tree is worth.

A black walnut tree in great condition with a large diameter, roughly 20”, is worth between $700 and $800. Through a walnut tree’s life, however, it can grow to be well over 30” or even 40” in diameter. The larger the diameter, the more a black walnut tree is worth. In fact, black walnut trees that are 40” in diameter can be worth $2,000 or more, depending on the lumber grade.

Because of that, many people grow black walnut trees for the purpose of selling them or their lumber. Others simply want to enjoy the great visual a black walnut tree provides while adding value to their yard.

Follow along as we dive into how much a black walnut tree is worth, and why.

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What Affects a Black Walnut Tree’s Value?

The two main factors that affect a black walnut tree’s value are grade and veneer. Lumber grading is a way of testing and notating the quality of specific trees, such as black walnut trees, using measurements and math.

The veneer rating of a tree refers to a specific wood’s quality when sliced thinly into veneer. The final measure of a black walnut tree’s worth is the diameter. The diameter of a tree is measured using an instrument called a Biltmore stick.

At first glance, a Biltmore stick just looks like a yard stick, but its measurements can help determine the value of a black walnut tree. Black Walnut trees can grow to be 70-80 ft. tall and grow to have a diameter between 18” and 40” +, with rare occurrences of 80”-90” diameters. On the low end, a black walnut with 18” in diameter is worth $700.

If that tree were to grow to be 25” in diameter, it could be worth $1,200-$1400. The reason for diameter affecting a tree’s worth so much is that there is more volume for usable products. Larger diameter black walnut trees can produce more veneer and provide a lot of sellable lumber.

How is a Black Walnut Tree Graded?

A black walnut tree is graded based upon the clear wood rating within the lowest 16 ft. of its length past the stump. Clear wood is wood that is free of blemishes or damage, and it is desirable because it can be used to create any wooden products.

The grading scale used to rate trees is much like the one used in U.S. school systems, and it determines how valuable a tree is. No two tree species are alike or hold the same value.

Grade Condition
A No clear damage, blemishes, knots
B Minor blemishes, light damage
C Small knots on one or both sides of the tree
D Scratches and knots are more frequent
1 Many knots covering the entirety of the tree, some spots may be knot-free
2 Large knots in a high concentration, possible scratches, and damage

Just like in school, you want your black walnut tree to have an A or B rating. The less knots, blemishes, and damage to the tree, the more valuable the black walnut tree is. A 25” A-rated black walnut tree would sell for $1,400+, whereas the same diameter with a B-rating would go for roughly $800.

Within the A and B range, black walnut trees are highly valuable. Once you get into the C, D, and 1 and 2 ratings, the tree depreciates in value.

Why Grow Black Walnut Trees?

For many large property owners, black walnut trees are a huge moneymaker, and that is why they grow them. There are countless products that can be crafted and sold using black walnut trees, such as:

  • Veneer
  • Gunstocks
  • Acoustic guitars
  • Furniture
  • The walnuts themselves

Yes, even the walnuts that fall from black walnut trees can bring in money. Many black walnut tree owners are able to sell each 100 pounds of shelled black walnuts for $10-$12. That may not seem like a lot, but many healthy black walnut trees can produce 350 pounds a year.

The big money from black walnut trees comes from its lumber used to make products such as high-quality furniture. Black walnut lumber is sold by the board foot. Board foot refers to a 1 ft. length that is 1” thick. A common volume that black walnut lumber is sold in is 20 board ft.

The cost of 20 board ft. of black walnut lumber is $339-$350. That comes out to $16.95-$17.50 per board ft. of black walnut tree lumber. Because they can easily grow to be 70-80 feet or more, black walnut tree lumber can be sold for $1,356 at extremely low end.

If a black walnut tree is A-rated and has a wide diameter that is 20” or more, the lumber can easily sell for $1,400-$2,000.

Do Black Walnut Trees Really Harm the Plants Around Them?

Yes, it is true that black walnut trees can harm and even kill other plants or trees surrounding them. In fact, black walnut trees are known to produce a chemical known as juglone. Juglone is an organic compound that some plants, such as black walnut trees, produce.

The main harm that juglone does to other plants is stunt their growth. Because black walnut trees naturally produce juglone, often times, the plants in close proximity to them will cease to grow or even die.

Property owners can avoid the damage caused by juglone by planning their forest gardening. Avoid planting black walnut trees near gardens or other trees. There is no way to get a black walnut tree to stop producing juglone but spacing nearby plants out by a 50 ft. radius is the only sure way to avoid the effects of juglone.

How Long Before My Black Walnut Reaches Full Maturity?

It takes a full 30 years for a black walnut tree to reach full maturity. Many property owners will chop them down for lumber or to sell them well before then. However, if you plan on making money off of your black walnut tree, look at it as a long term investment.

The larger the tree, the more the lumber for you to sell. With that said, considering that black walnut trees can grow 70-80 ft., you may not want tree looming that large over your property. In that case, consider chopping it down once its diameter between 20” and 30”.

It is also worth noting that you should not wait 30 years for your black walnut tree to grow if it takes a lot of damage or grows nots. That will only depreciate its rating, and ultimately, its value. If and when your black walnut tree has a big diameter but is showing wear and tear, cut your losses before it gets worse, and cut it down for lumber.

Profitable Trees to Grow

Aside from black walnut trees, there are other trees you can grow and turn around for a profit. In fact, growing trees for profit is a great part- or full-time business for anyone who loves working with plants and being in the outdoors. Trees are an incredibly valuable, renewable resource that, although ideal, do not need a 100-acre tree farm. You can even grow trees for selling purposes in a tiny backyard.

For small growers, the most profitable trees tend to be the ones that are easy to grow, in demand by buyers, and elicit above-average pricing when sold. In addition to the black walnut, here are some trees that are worth growing if you’re looking to make some money:

  1. Instant shade trees. Mature, large trees that provide “instant shade” in just a year or two are highly desirable among both landscapers and homeowners alike. There are also willing to pay much higher prices for them as well. Two popular “instant shade” tree species are the American elm and the Red maple.
  2. Thornless locust. While the common locust is very often used for erosion control and restoration, newer varieties are more popular for landscaping projects. Both the Sunburst and Shademaster locust are fast-growing, thornless, and are even a great choice for an instant shade tree. They reach a mature height of 13 to 30 feet in just roughly six years.
  3. Hybrid Chestnut. These trees are blight-resistant chestnuts that offer the best of both Chinese and American chestnut trees. They can also be grown in most areas throughout the United States, especially in areas that are generally too hilly or poor for other crops. Hybrid chestnuts produce about 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of nuts per acre and their timber value is almost as high as the black walnut.
  4. Willow. As more people have taken up fiber arts in the last few years, the market craft fibers, or wood that can be woven, has nearly tripled. The willow tree is very easy to grow and prolific. In fact, one tree can produce hundreds of profitable willow shoots, or rods, every year.
  5. Flowering dogwood. The dogwood is frequently found on the top ten list for landscapers. They offer both colorful fall foliage and gorgeous spring blooms. The Kousa dogwood is one of the most desirable, as it produces sweet red berries, resistant to disease, and deer tend to leave it alone.
  6. Christmas trees. This may sound like an obvious option, but the “real” Christmas tree business is booming. Despite the fact that artificial trees exist, their sales are declining and the number of real trees is increasing ever year. If you have an acre or more of land, Christmas trees can make for a very profitable business. Consider this: fresh-cut trees sell for an average of $42 and one acre of land can hold roughly 1,800 trees!

If you’re looking to make a profit by growing trees, the black walnut isn’t your only option. However, they are one of the best choices, producing a double income since the nuts can be harvested as the tree is growing.

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What Did We Learn?

On the low end, black walnut trees are worth $700 if it has an A or B rating and a minimum 20” diameter. Each 6” added to the diameter past the 20” mark greatly increases the value, with a 26” diameter black walnut going for $1,400 or more.

If you plan to make money off of your black walnut tree, pay attention to its quality and watch out for nots. An A or B rating can add hundreds and hundreds of dollars to how much money you can make off the veneer and lumber the black walnut tree produces.

Related Guides

  • How Long Does It Take For A Tree To Grow?
  • What Is The Cheapest Time of Year For Tree Removal?

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Walnut is a healthy product with a mild and slightly tart taste. It owes its name to Greek merchants who sold such nuts in Russia. The ancient Greeks called it the acorn of the Gods and the tree of life. This is not surprising, because the walnut contains a complex of valuable vitamins and nutrients.

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Walnuts have a pleasant taste, so they are widely used in cooking and medicine. The product must be included in the menu of astronauts and athletes, and such a nut is also recommended for use by people engaged in heavy mental or physical labor. Walnuts make a delicious topping for confectionery (cakes, cakes, ice cream). They are added to pastries, salads and desserts. The nutritious product has a beneficial effect on brain function, normalizes metabolic processes, sleep and the activity of the cardiovascular system.

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