Burl harvesting

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Forum topic by bigblockyeti posted 11-07-2014 07:16 PM 1678 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5138 posts in 1745 days

11-07-2014 07:16 PM

I have a white oak tree that is growing a decent size burl about 30 feet off the ground that I’m considering harvesting for a future project. Does anyone have specific advise about doing so without risking tree infection beyond what would be expected for normal pruning or branch removal?

14 replies so far

View rantingrich's profile


372 posts in 1370 days

#1 posted 11-07-2014 07:26 PM

Yes make sure it’s YOUR NEIGHBORS tree then just hack away

-- Rich

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5138 posts in 1745 days

#2 posted 11-07-2014 08:39 PM

This tree is actually on the line, but if it died for whatever reason and fell, my house would likely be hit, his is over 150 yards away. The tree provides good shade and I have no intention of doing anything to it that would negatively effect it’s ability to continue to do so.

View mahdee's profile


3888 posts in 1792 days

#3 posted 11-07-2014 08:41 PM

That tree is hollow. I have a bunch of in my place. Be very careful when cutting these types of tree as they are unpredictable as how where and when and how they fall. Lots of firewood though. I just cut one 20 minutes ago.


View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4230 posts in 2586 days

#4 posted 11-07-2014 09:03 PM

David Ellsworth loves turning oak.

He did mention that harvesting burl for trees will kill the tree.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5138 posts in 1745 days

#5 posted 11-07-2014 09:49 PM

The picture only shows one of the branches, at 22” in diameter its quite small compared to the trunk which is over 60” at the base. My goal is to just remove the burl, in much the same way a branch would be cut. This particular tree has had several large limbs trimmed over time and still appears to be very healthy.

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2539 days

#6 posted 11-07-2014 10:16 PM

I would think that cutting the burl off, and simply tarring the open cut should not affect it too much. If and when you cut the burl off, you find it to be punky, (rotted wood inside or in the middle), than the branch is dying and you are about done with the life anyway.

BTW, any sign of insect damage on the bark at the trunk? That is a real indicator that the tree is dying.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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5138 posts in 1745 days

#7 posted 11-07-2014 10:20 PM

No sign of insect damage, there is a small hole where a branch used to be that I’ve seen a chipmunk using as home two years ago. A few small branches fall when we have wind, but everything else looks very healthy.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3610 days

#8 posted 11-07-2014 11:53 PM

Yes tar or seal the wound end. Lucky begger LOL wish it were mine don’t forget to let it dry slowly or have it kiln dried if you need to get going with it.Have fun Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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1 post in 879 days

#9 posted 01-24-2016 10:34 AM

I found a small burl at a local lake that had washed ashore. It seems to be from the root area and is about 24 inches tall and about the same in circumfrence. I apears to have been dead for sometime now. I cut a small piece off the side of the burl and found some beautiful grain. My question is what direction do I cut it ? The section I cut was cut vertically but was wondering if horizontal would be better?

-- Scott Persinger

View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2321 days

#10 posted 01-24-2016 03:38 PM

Two things:

A. I would think you will definitely damage the tree.

B. Chainsaws and extension ladders DO NOT MIX.

View bench1holio's profile


5 posts in 841 days

#11 posted 03-02-2016 04:14 AM

Just chop it!

View bigblockyeti's profile


5138 posts in 1745 days

#12 posted 03-02-2016 02:08 PM

I would, but it’s 30 feet in the air and I only have 24’ ladder which give me an effective (unsafe) reach of about 28 feet from the ground. Believe me, I’ve looked at this from several different angles and the prospect of wielding a chainsaw 30’ off the ground cutting on a branch I’ll likely have a ladder perched against puts up too many red flags for me. The guy down the street and I both need some trees trimmed, if I can get him to rent an aerial lift, I’ll trim what he needs to be done in exchange for letting me use the lift too. I don’t see that happening before this summer though.

View DarrellJ's profile


7 posts in 840 days

#13 posted 03-02-2016 06:43 PM

Could you just harvest the branch without killing the rest of the tree? I imagine the grain in the area around the burl could also be interesting (to say the least).

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5138 posts in 1745 days

#14 posted 03-02-2016 07:50 PM

I probably could, but under the tree are several small hardwood saplings, many of which would be severely damaged if I dropped the limb (they help isolate me from the busy road). By itself, the limb would be quite a chore, not to mention, it’s one of the larger ones on the tree and I really don’t want to start cutting alot of weight off the tree the opposite side where my house is. Though it’s unlikely it could fall, if at some point it did and it fell on my house, it would easily knock the bedroom and garage right off the house given how massive it is.

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