by Gene Wengert
firstname.lastname@example.org WOOD DOCTOR’S Rx
QWe have some trees in our neighborhood and through- out the city that came down
during the recent hurri-
cane. It seems a shame to let these go
to the clean-up piles that are sent to
the dump. Are there any issues with
using these trees for lumber?
AIt is indeed disturbing to see the number of trees that are seemingly wasted after a hurricane or severe
storm. When considering using these
trees for lumber manufacturing, there
are three large concerns.
First, due to the warm weather, the
conditions are ideal for the growth
of staining fungi (sometimes called
sap stain or blue stain) in the trees
and logs. Therefore, prompt (often
within a week) harvesting and sawing is
required. With all the urgent concerns
after a storm, spending time harvesting
trees and sawing is not a high priority.
So, with the likely delay in processing
in warm weather, the bottom line is
that the lumber that will eventually be
produced from storm damaged trees is
The second major concern is that
trees grown in cities and not in a forest
will have several quality and processing
issues. These trees often have metal
in them (nails, metal fencing, staples)
that will ruin a saw blade. Such trees
also have large branches and this
means that the lumber produced will
be full of stress and will not dry flat.
Such trees often have root damage
while growing and develop a bacterial
infection that results in wetwood with
obnoxious odors and reduced strength.
A small shop may be able to work with
such lumber sometimes and the resulting defects, but most operations cannot
See more at the Wood
Dr. Knowledge Center
See more columns at
Sponsored by Northwest Hardwoods.
Using hurricane-damaged trees
Increased moisture in stored wood.
; Want more? To search a full list of
Wood Doctor’s Rx question and answers, go to
Gene Wengert, “The Wood Doctor,” has been training
people in efficient use of wood for 35 years. He is
extension specialist emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Flood damage in Baton Rouge. Credit: Tru Cabinetry.