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Tree Potential: Realizing better financial benefits for your trees

Picture this: Sitting on your land today is a hardwood which measures 9 inches in diameter. Much too small for sawlog product but definitely sellable for pulpwood. But why settle for pulpwood today when you can sell it for higher valued sawlogs down the road? In our world at Kretz Lumber Company, we call this “tree potential.” With the help of a forester, you can paint (or mark as others call it) your hardwoods in order to culture trees with the best potential to grow into higher quality product classes.

Hereʼs another example of why we would advise landowners to let certain trees grow in order to realize better financial benefits: Notice the hard maple tree with a nice clean, straight stem. Today the first log is about 10 inches in diameter. Though it has veneer surface quality, it is still a #3 log because the minimum standard for higher priced veneer logs is 12 inches. But it has the potential to grow into a higher priced veneer log because of its healthy, clean stem. Wait until the tree matures and youʼll have a much higher valued hardwood. Today, this #3 hard maple log is only worth about $6 to the landowner. But if we identify and allow this tree to grow for 10 more years, it will be worth $40. An attractive rate of return, especially when you consider the potential number of trees this could include on any given property.

By identifying healthy trees and nurturing them to higher product classes, landowners not only increase the value of their timber but also end up leaving quality trees during a harvest. Itʼs sustainable, itʼs healthy and usually the harvest is hardly noticed. When we leave a healthy forest intact, we are creating a sustained ecosystem. It also provides landowners with periodic income, and if the trees have good potential quality, a nice investment. When landowners understand this incentive, we see more and more people practicing sustainable forestry. Itʼs a win-win.

Interested in learning more about the value of your timber? Do you have questions youʼd like to ask a forester? Email us at or call 1-800-352-1438. And for more information about Kretz Lumber Forestry Services, visit

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