Arborists Cut Down Trees, Harvest Logs

Arborists remove community trees as merchantable logs.


City crews in Evanston take down an infested ash tree. Photo: Philip Haywood

To harvest community trees for their timber value, arborists need, first, to determine what trees have wood that could be valuable timber and, then, to remove those trees in such a way as to preserve their value. Trees need to be brought down in longer sections, typically at least 8 feet long, but most municipal removal operations and equipment are now designed to manage shorter sections. The Wood Utilization Team is addressing this issue through education and training.

To find a qualified arborist, consult the Illinois Arborist Association’s directory of certified arborists.

Hundreds of arborists have stopped by the Wood Utilization Team’s displays at the Illinois Arborist Association conferences.

For arborists and urban foresters

  • To teach urban foresters how to remove trees in ways that preserve their timber value, the Wood Utilization Team sponsors Urban Timber Harvesting for Hardwood Lumber Utilization and Recovery (UTiH2LzR) training sessions and outreach in coordination with the Illinois Arborist Association.
  • For municipal managersTo teach municipal managers how to grade trees and logs for timber value, negotiate removal contracts, and market urban and community wood, the Wood Utilization Team sponsors Municipal Managers Urban Timber Harvesting for Hardwood Lumber Utilization and Recovery (M2UTiH2LzR) training sessions and outreach in coordination with the Illinois Arborist Association.
  • Fall 2011 M2UTiH2LzR  Training Information
  • Fall M2UTiHLzR Article
  • EAB Updates

The Wood Utilization Team also sponsored an undergraduate class, Environmental & Urban Wood Reclamation, at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) to evaluate the potential uses and benefits of wood harvested or reclaimed from the Illinois municipalities of Evanston, Wilmette, and Oak Park. Their findings are summarized in their final report. Graduate students at the IIT’s Institute of Design explored opportunities in Chicago’s urban forest. Their very creative thinking is summarized in their final report.

For the wood that isn’t lumber quality . . .

The trees that, due to disease, growth patterns, and other factors, do not have marketable timber can be removed with conventional methods in much shorter sections. These trees and the branches of trees with merchantable logs can be used for firewood, mulch, bio-fuel and other uses. Biomass energy is a renewable alternative to fossil fuels.