Black Walnut Tree Value: Assessing Worth by Age, Size, and Quality

The black walnut tree, known for its rich wood and abundant nuts, has been a topic of interest for woodworkers, investors, and homeowners alike.


Black walnut tree value varies based on size, age, and wood quality. Mature trees can range from $1,000 to $10,000 and more each. Black walnut is priced between $8 to $18 per board foot, depending on the quality and if it’s rough-sawn or planed.

But what truly determines the value of a black walnut tree, and how much is the one in your backyard worth?

Black Walnut Trees

Black walnut trees are highly regarded in the woodworking industry and beyond.

Here’s why:

Wood Quality:

  • Heartwood: Known for its deep brown color, black walnut wood is a top choice for furniture and cabinetry.
  • Demand: The woodworking industry has a high demand for black walnut logs, making them a sought-after resource.
  • Forest-Grown Trees: Trees cultivated in forest settings often have minimal branching in their lower sections. This ensures a larger portion of clear, blemish-free wood, increasing its market value.

Nuts Production:

  • Season: Annually, from late summer to October, black walnut trees drop significant quantities of lime-green nuts.
  • Size: Each nut is roughly the size of a baseball.
  • Uses: While wildlife, especially squirrels, enjoy these nuts, they also have substantial economic value for humans. They can be consumed raw, used in baking, or even in certain soup recipes.
  • Yield: A thriving black walnut tree can produce over 300 lbs of nuts each year.
  • Market Value: With prices ranging from $10 to $12 per pound, harvesting these nuts can offer a significant annual income.

In essence, black walnut trees offer dual value – both in terms of their wood and the nuts they produce. This combination of benefits makes them a valuable asset for woodworkers, investors, and homeowners alike.

Walnut Board

How Much Is a Black Walnut Tree Worth?

When assessing the value of a black walnut tree, it’s essential to focus on its potential for lumber and veneer production.

Here’s a breakdown:

Key Determinants:

  • Diameter: The tree’s diameter, especially at its base, plays a crucial role in determining its market value.
  • Wood Quality: The presence or absence of marks, scars, and blemishes on the wood can significantly influence its value.

Measuring Techniques:

  • Biltmore Stick: A traditional tool used to measure the diameter and height of the tree’s lower section.
  • Purpose: Helps calculate the tree’s total board feet, tonnage, and cubic feet of usable wood.

Estimate Your Tree’s Age Calculator

Tree age is a crucial factor in determining its value. To make this process easier, the World Animal Foundation developed a Tree Age Calculator.

Simply input your tree’s measurements, and our calculator will estimate its age. This tool complements the Biltmore Stick and other measurement methods, giving you a more comprehensive understanding of your tree’s value.

Grading the Wood

Lumber Grading:

  • Grade A: Pristine wood with no apparent damage or knots.
  • Grade B: Wood with minor blemishes or light damage.
  • Factors: Blemishes, branch removal, knots, cracks, embedded metal, bird peck scars.

Veneer Grading:

  • Prime Veneer Trees: Typically have a diameter of 20” or more at chest height, exhibit few defects, and stand tall and straight.
  • Value Increase: The larger the diameter, the more lumber and veneer can be derived, increasing its market value.

Market Value Examples:

  • An 18” diameter, 12’ length black walnut can be valued at nearly $900.
  • Increasing the diameter by 6” to 7” can potentially double this value.

Additional Resources:

  • Tree Value Calculator: A handy tool for estimating the value of various trees.
  • Visual Representation: This video showcases felled trees ready for milling, cumulatively worth upwards of $90,000.

The value of a black walnut tree is influenced by various factors, with its diameter and wood quality being paramount.

Last update on 2024-06-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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