Selling Your Timber
Trees require many years of growth to become merchantable timber products. Well-managed pine trees growing in fertile soil could be thinned for pulpwood in as little as 12 to 15 years, and produce sawlogs in 25 to 30 years. On the other hand, oak trees growing on a dry ridge may take 60 to 80 years to reach merchantable size. The value of trees increases tremendously as they mature. Pine sawlogs can be worth five to seven times more per unit volume than pine pulpwood. Thus too much is at stake to sell timber without having an accurate knowledge of products, volumes and values. Landowners should also incorporate environmental protection measures in their timber harvest plan, and have a plan that ensures a new productive forest will be established following the timber harvest.
You need not sell timber frequently to sell it successfully, but marketing can be a mysterious and complex process. Unfortunately, there is no single publication that will make you an expert timber seller. But there are questions you should ask, and answers you should know before selling your timber.
Most landowners will find that the services of a consulting forester are needed and beneficial. For those who feel confident dealing directly with timber buyers, we recommend obtaining a minimum of three bids on a clearly defined boundary of timber. Never sell timber without a written timber sale agreement.
To request an exam of your timber to determine if it ready for sale and to find out more about timber sales, contact your county forest ranger.