Treecycle – urban logging

Cutting down a well established tree is a terrible thing; but sometimes it just can’t be helped if the tree poses some sort of threat.

At times, a tree may be brought down by natural forces rather than those exerted by humans; such as storms.

Clearing up the fallen tree can be quite time consuming and expensive.

The last time I had to remove a dead tree, hours were spent in cutting it up into small enough chunks to fit in my van and then after transporting it some miles I was charged 50 bucks by the waste depot to add it to their green waste pile.. which they turn to mulch/wood chips and resell :). At least it didn’t wind up in the general garbage stream.

While the tree I removed didn’t have any real “value” in terms of wood – at times they do; and that’s where treecycling comes in. Treecycling is also known as urban logging.

According to an item on Grist, an estimated 2 million board feet of lumber is wasted annually in the local landfills in the Charlotte, North Carolina metro area due to storms, land clearing, maintenance or disease. That’s just one small city; so imagine how much is lost around the world each year.

Instead of this useful timber being wasted as firewood or simply sent to landfill, some mills will visit a home or place of business and turn the fallen trees into lumber. The service is usually free on condition that the mill can sell the lumber.

Depending on the size of the tree, a small saw mill may be set up on site or the tree cut into logs and hauled away for further processing.

These urban loggers won’t take it all, just the valuable portions of the trunk, but this can still save home owners a substantial amount of money and effort in clearing fees. If the remaining branches are small enough, it is sometimes worth the money to then hire a chipper for a day to make short work of the remains and use the chips as garden mulch and covering so no part of the tree is wasted. Mulching is also a great way to save water in the garden.

Treecycling can also be carried out for your own use. In some areas, you can hire a miller with a portable rig who will turn the tree into boards of your specification. This can be rather expensive, but is quite popular with folks who are into doing their own wood work or were very attached to the fallen tree and would like to keep it around in some form – just preferably not taking up half their yard :).

To find these sorts services, try the following search on Google:

treecycling city


treecycle city

… where “city” is the name of your town or city

A time of the year when there are plenty of “fallen” trees is just after Xmas when people are throwing out their Christmas trees. There are approximately 30-35 million real Christmas trees sold in North America every year.

Programs are sprouting up all over the world whereby the trees can be put out on the kerb for collection or they can be taken to a central point where the trees will be turned into mulch or used for erosion prevention.

While I’m a bit late in suggesting this for the Xmas that’s just been and gone, it’s something to consider for next year. For more information regarding where you can treecycle your spent Christmas tree, contact your local council; or if you’re in the USA, try the search feature at the top of the page on Earth911.