View Messages

Return to All About Black Walnut

Veneer Logs and Sawlogs

[Post a Follow Up] [Post to this category]
From: Distler Nate
Galena, IL
I have about 30 cherry, red oak, white oak, and walnuts that I plan on clearing out to expand a field. I plan on doing all of the cutting and hauling myself. I know the Doyle system and know the current prices. What I do need to know is how small of a DBH is acceptable to get a veneer price for these sort of trees. I was told by some buyers that 14 DBH is acceptabe for veneer in walnut and cheery and every thing smaller would be for saw logs. Of course it also depends on the tree, I guess that is why the walnut veneer price they qoated me was in the $2 to $12 range. I was also wondering how late in the spring can you cut? Since the sap plays a role in the cutting and the trees should be cut in fall and winter. When does the sap come back in the spring? Is May to late to cut black cherry? I was also planning on taking a hill side that was used for pasture and planting trees on it. There is a 10 acre timber right next to it that has white oak, cherry, and elms in it. Since the pasture is no longer needed, I planning to plant some trees for retirement(40-50 years). The hill side is roughly 12 acres. I would like to plant walnuts since they compand such a high price. How long does it take a Walnut VS. Cherry to mature? Your advise to what I should plan to plant would be appreciated.. Thanks for all of your help and info, Nate

Extension Message
From: Jay Hayek
Extension Specialist, Forestry
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Greetings Nate:

The wonderful thing about veneer quality trees is that the per unit price ($/bd ft) generally increases as diameter increases, i.e., a 20” DBH black walnut with four sides clear (4SC) might be worth $3.00/bd ft whereas a 28” DBH black walnut with 4SC might be worth $8.00/bd ft. These prices, of course, are used as examples and do not necessarily reflect current pricing. There are, of course, always exceptions. Trees which produce false heartwood, such as ash and hard maple, are sometimes more valuable in the smaller diameter class (18-22” DBH) because of the smaller percentage of false heartwood.

Based on my conversations with veneer buyers, a premium is usually paid for logs with low sap content (trees harvested during the dormant season). However, it should be noted that veneer prices are driven by foreign and domestic markets – if markets are up, prices are up; if markets are down, prices are down. Therefore, prices paid in October through early February usually command higher prices due to lower sap content. It is important to note that most veneer mills have their own standards and specifications. Some mills might accept logs with DIB’s of 14” whereas other veneer mills require logs with DIB’s of 16” [DIB is “diameter inside bark” at the small end of the log]. Therefore, this generally means that you need to grow your trees to a minimum of 16-20” DBH.

Here is a good publication from Purdue University on Veneer Attributes for Central Hardwood Species:

Regarding which tree species to plant on your hillside -- let your soil types dictate which species you should plant. Here in Illinois, red oaks, black walnut, and black cherry will have faster growth rates than white oaks. Depending on your soils and site, you might be able to produce merchantable timber in 40-60 years. Contact your local Farm Service Agency office to get a soil map of your property. From that map, you will be able to identify the soils types on the hillside. From this information, your local DNR District Forester can give you advice on planting trees suitable for your soil types.

DNR Forestry Offices:

Farm Service Agency Offices:

Best of luck and thanks for the questions!

[Post a Follow Up] [Post to this category]
Return to Illinois Forestry.
Search current board