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Discussion Starter #1
I was wandering around the new property with my boys and wife when we came upon this.

Based on the bark I believe it to be a Bur Oak. I didn't have a tape to measure it, but I would estimate the diameter to be about 5' across, which would put the age of this tree at approximately 390 years.:treehugger::treehugger:

Holy crap what a find. I intend to clear out all of the smaller trees and do anything I can to keep this ancient specimen alive and healthy.
 

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:bigthumb: that is indeed a nice fine. i would do all i could to save that tree also.:good2:
 

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To think that this tree could have been a sapling when the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. It's unreal
 

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As every woodsman who's entered my property in conjunction with my harvest underway has said: Big oaks don't respond well to being "released."

That tree doesn't have the viggor of a younger tree. When you release it, it's like asking your Gramps to go from 3 naps a day and in bed by 8, to power lifting in one shot. What do you think would happen to Gramps? Yep, the trees croak too.

You can thin some of the competition, but I'd do it over the course of several winters.
 

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Yeah you have to be careful doing what you want to do. It is a real beauty.
For one it opens that biggun up for a singular lightning rod, and for another the trees around it might take some of the snow load and wind load from it.
I see it also has a giant lower branch. We had a 300 year old white oak not far from here. It was a glorious tree but had a giant branch like that. One year that branch broke off. The tree went downhill after that and eventually died about 10 years ago.
 

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Big tree registry

I agree that you might do more harm than good by "releasing" a tree that old. At the very least, make changes over years, not days and avoid using any equipment around the roots.

Check out the Michigan big tree registry to see where it stands with other big trees. You might have a winner! Michigan Big Tree Program — The Michigan Botanical Club

Treefarmer
 

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We had a big oak that size. Had is the operative word here. It was all by itself. Big lighting storm came through and yep, it got hit. Split the oak right down the middle from the top to within 5' from the ground. I could see right through the middle of that majestic tree. One side died and the other side kept living but the whole tree had to come down. It was my shade tree where there was no other shade. While mowing in the heat it would be 5 or 10 degrees different between the sun and the shade. Hated to see it go.
 

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We had a big oak that size. Had is the operative word here. It was all by itself. Big lighting storm came through and yep, it got hit. Split the oak right down the middle from the top to within 5' from the ground. I could see right through the middle of that majestic tree. One side died and the other side kept living but the whole tree had to come down. It was my shade tree where there was no other shade. While mowing in the heat it would be 5 or 10 degrees different between the sun and the shade. Hated to see it go.
But then you made a baseball bat out of it and won the world series, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
And that's why I posted this here......Good points about not disturbing it too much.

Of course I realize that trees DO have a finite life......so along that line - anyone have any idea what a tree like this might actually be worth to sell should it have to come down? It's actually in an area that would be fairly accessible for logging equipment.

Assuming the insides aren't hollowed out it's got to be some desirable wood.

There are a number of other large oaks (both standing and fallen) on the property as well, but I know it was all logged about 40 years ago so they obviously left a few granddads standing when they cleared it out.
 

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And that's why I posted this here......Good points about not disturbing it too much.

Of course I realize that trees DO have a finite life......so along that line - anyone have any idea what a tree like this might actually be worth to sell should it have to come down? It's actually in an area that would be fairly accessible for logging equipment.

Assuming the insides aren't hollowed out it's got to be some desirable wood.

There are a number of other large oaks (both standing and fallen) on the property as well, but I know it was all logged about 40 years ago so they obviously left a few granddads standing when they cleared it out.

I am by far, not an expert. But some friends up the road logged their woods last year. It hadn't been touched in at least 50 years. The loggers left all the big trees like your's as they said the trunks weren't straight enough and all the big branches coming off the main trunk wouldn't yield enough desirable wood. They seemed to cut younger stuff that was straighter and had more higher canopy branches, but still had a good trunk diameter. Jim Timber, Treefarmer, CADplans.......does all of that sound right to you?:unknown:
 

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Yep. She's got a 80% or better chance of being hollow, and the large branches are all considered defects for anyone doing large-scale millwork.

If you cut it up into mantles and short wood, you'd get some boardfeet out of it for sure, but we're talking portable bandmill or an Alaskan (chainsaw).

Everyone here agreed that 14" and up trees needed to go to the mill so the younger trees could thrive in their new found space. I was surprised at first, because a 15" oak is only 50yrs old here, and certainly not geezerly; but alas, Al insisted that those trees would likely die within 5 years. A guy who's spent 39 years in the field (literally) who's seen it time and again.

I've got a wolf tree (what these giants are called) that I had to throw the marking tape to tie it (couldn't reach) that's on the edge of my orchard. I left it because it's neat, but it was a happy accident that I only cleared 25% of it's neighbors.
 

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Been learning a lot from my in-laws regarding logging and timber value. That tree would not be considered high value as others have said. It's not straight enough and all of the branches hurt value too. My brother-in law has a wood mizer bandsaw mill, and it's 'fun' to spend saturday's sawing boards. We were working on a black oak that was 28" wide x 16ft long this past weekend.... talk about weight and HARD wood!! It made beautiful clear lumber though. Calculated over 500 board foot out of it! Next up was a white oak, just as big, 18' long. Needless to say, after 2 broken blades and a torn up belt, we called it a day and went for lunch lol.
 

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Majestic trees

I am by far, not an expert. But some friends up the road logged their woods last year. It hadn't been touched in at least 50 years. The loggers left all the big trees like your's as they said the trunks weren't straight enough and all the big branches coming off the main trunk wouldn't yield enough desirable wood. They seemed to cut younger stuff that was straighter and had more higher canopy branches, but still had a good trunk diameter. Jim Timber, Treefarmer, CADplans.......does all of that sound right to you?:unknown:
Yes, unfortunately it does sound correct. Those beautiful large old trees usually contain internal defects which make it hard for commercial mills to get any return on their purchase, particularly when mills now are usually set up to run a particular range of logs. We've got mills that run nothing over 16" diameter logs, or 28" diameters and smaller. Very few mills in our area can run anything over a 36" diameter.

The highest value for very large logs is to veneer mills, however those logs need to be very, very high quality without many knots, splits etc. Usually older trees have those defects so the high volume commercial mills usually aren't interested.

There are two markets though they take a lot more work.

If you can find a low volume specialty mill who sells to the craft furniture market they can turn the defects into interesting furniture. The only market is if you can develop and market a history for the tree. Wood from historical trees with a story sells for whatever the market will bear. "George Washington ate lunch under this tree" or "Abe Lincoln rested before giving the Gettysburg address here". Then it becomes commemorative wood, not just lumber.

Treefarmer
 

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Woodmizer fun

Been learning a lot from my in-laws regarding logging and timber value. That tree would not be considered high value as others have said. It's not straight enough and all of the branches hurt value too. My brother-in law has a wood mizer bandsaw mill, and it's 'fun' to spend saturday's sawing boards. We were working on a black oak that was 28" wide x 16ft long this past weekend.... talk about weight and HARD wood!! It made beautiful clear lumber though. Calculated over 500 board foot out of it! Next up was a white oak, just as big, 18' long. Needless to say, after 2 broken blades and a torn up belt, we called it a day and went for lunch lol.
I've got an old Woodmizer and while I don't run it much any more it's stands ready. In my experience if you are breaking blades you either hit metal- been there and done that too often or the blades aren't sharp enough to sustain the rate of cut your trying to get. The other option is that you have the wrong blade with not enough gullet for a large log or not enough set or the rake angle is off for the size log and species.

The feed rate on a 28" log is necessarily pretty slow but I've cut oak that size, actually larger. I've only got a 28" throat and cut a log much larger by using a chainsaw to make a milling cut for the outside blade guide to run it to get the first slab off. Worked our butt off on that long only to find out it was defective inside. . .

That's the fun of running a small mill. You don't know whether you hit gold or fool's gold in a log but for the commercial guys it ain't fun.

Treefarmer
 

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Yes, unfortunately it does sound correct. Those beautiful large old trees usually contain internal defects which make it hard for commercial mills to get any return on their purchase, particularly when mills now are usually set up to run a particular range of logs. We've got mills that run nothing over 16" diameter logs, or 28" diameters and smaller. Very few mills in our area can run anything over a 36" diameter.

I took a look on my way past there today, and I'd say it's the same here as there. There are definitely still 36" diameter and larger trees still standing, I'd bet stuff barely over 24" is still standing too. It was obviously a very select cut, and I think they left the woods in good shape.
 

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But then you made a baseball bat out of it and won the world series, right?
Oh yah! Remember when the Cubs won the world series? Well that wasn't me. :laugh:
Actually it all became firewood for my neighbor. What was left by the people that cut it down. They left me with all the big heavy stuff they couldn't handle or cut up.

I was surprised right after it was cut down that it was easy to split with an axe. After a few years of just laying there it was impossible to split with an axe.
 

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I've got an old Woodmizer and while I don't run it much any more it's stands ready. In my experience if you are breaking blades you either hit metal- been there and done that too often or the blades aren't sharp enough to sustain the rate of cut your trying to get. The other option is that you have the wrong blade with not enough gullet for a large log or not enough set or the rake angle is off for the size log and species.

The feed rate on a 28" log is necessarily pretty slow but I've cut oak that size, actually larger. I've only got a 28" throat and cut a log much larger by using a chainsaw to make a milling cut for the outside blade guide to run it to get the first slab off. Worked our butt off on that long only to find out it was defective inside. . .

That's the fun of running a small mill. You don't know whether you hit gold or fool's gold in a log but for the commercial guys it ain't fun.

Treefarmer
Yup, the first blade was replaced because it got dull. He takes them to a company and they resharpen them. 2nd blade got stuck and bent while pulling it back out after it slipped the belts. I've been there before when they 'break' and that's a scary moment lol. He did say he wants to get 4 degree blades for this large tree. He's been using 7 degrees, which has worked well for the smaller stuff we did last year. Cut a ton of Ash....

It's definitely a lot of fun!!!
 

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Resharp

Yup, the first blade was replaced because it got dull. He takes them to a company and they resharpen them. 2nd blade got stuck and bent while pulling it back out after it slipped the belts. I've been there before when they 'break' and that's a scary moment lol. He did say he wants to get 4 degree blades for this large tree. He's been using 7 degrees, which has worked well for the smaller stuff we did last year. Cut a ton of Ash....

It's definitely a lot of fun!!!
The Woodmizer Resharp service is hard to beat for quality. The blades look and cut like a new blade.

If you have to back a blade out, it really helps to slide a wedge in the cut in and lift the "board" up a little while backing the blade out. It is scary when a blade breaks but the ones I've broken all stayed contained. It made a lot of noise but no harm.

Ash is beautiful to cut. I've only cut a few ash logs as we don't have it in my area but I did a few logs for a friend. Beautiful wood and it milled really nice. I'm sorry we are losing those trees. Hopefully there will be some solution to the emerald ash borer.

Treefarmer
 

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Ash is beautiful to cut. I've only cut a few ash logs as we don't have it in my area but I did a few logs for a friend. Beautiful wood and it milled really nice. I'm sorry we are losing those trees. Hopefully there will be some solution to the emerald ash borer.

Treefarmer
Don't I wish! I'd guess that somewhere between 2/3 - 3/4 of my woods is ash. It's all dead or dying. :banghead: Of course, the noticeable effects of the borer started showing up about a year or so after we bought the place. I'd heard of the borer before, but didn't realize the damage it could do, nor was I knowledgable enough to look in the trees to say "oh, those are going to die." We we bought the place, it was just a "beautiful, 5 acre wooded lot". LOTS of work to get it "beautiful" again.

Around here the local road departments are struggling to keep up with dead ash trees in the right of ways. With every good storm, there are always trees down across roads now.
 

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Lots of work to be done

Don't I wish! I'd guess that somewhere between 2/3 - 3/4 of my woods is ash. It's all dead or dying. :banghead: Of course, the noticeable effects of the borer started showing up about a year or so after we bought the place. I'd heard of the borer before, but didn't realize the damage it could do, nor was I knowledgable enough to look in the trees to say "oh, those are going to die." We we bought the place, it was just a "beautiful, 5 acre wooded lot". LOTS of work to get it "beautiful" again.

Around here the local road departments are struggling to keep up with dead ash trees in the right of ways. With every good storm, there are always trees down across roads now.
There's a lot of work to be done with both the emerald ash borer and the hemlock woolly adelgid which is causing similar devastation in hemlocks. I hope the solution won't take as long as it has for the chestnut blight. It's a tragedy to lose whole species of trees, especially those that have some wonderful uses. The good news is that scientists have more tools and a better understanding of pests. I know they are concentrating on biologics for the hemlock woolly adelgid but there may be a disease that affects one or another of those pests and nothing else.

We can only hope.

Treefarmer
 
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