Hickory, another highly valued species of tree in North America, boasts exceptional strength and hardness, making it ideal for various wood products such as furniture, tool handles, and sporting goods. With its beautiful grain and durability, hickory has become a staple in the woodworking industry. So, what is the value of a hickory tree? The answer to that question depends on several factors. A mature hickory tree can be worth around $188 for a landowner who owns the tree, $282 for the logger who cuts the tree, and $2817 for the sawmill that processes and sells the lumber. Here’s a table showing the typical values of hickory trees based on their size and position in the value chain.
If you are still confused, don’t worry! in this article, we will discuss exactly what determines hickory tree value as well as the different types of value and how much an acre of hickory can be worth.
The Three Prices of Hickory
The value of hickory trees and wood cannot be standardized as it varies greatly depending on various factors. The price of hickory and other trees can be categorized into three distinct types based on different stages of the supply chain: Stumpage values, Log values, and lumber values. These values can be influenced by factors such as the location of the tree, the quality of the wood, and the demand for hickory in the market. Understanding these values can help landowners, loggers, and sawmill owners make informed decisions about the hickory trees they own or work with.
Stumpage values are crucial to determining the value of hickory trees. This refers to the price paid for the right to harvest timber and is typically the closest estimate to the true value of a hickory tree. The price a landowner can receive from a logger who harvests hickory trees on their property depends on the region and other factors like the quality of the timber. To learn more about what affects stumpage prices, we have an informative article on the subject available. Additionally, we provide links to resources for prices by state and province to help you understand the stumpage prices in your area. The typical range for hickory stumpage in 2023 is between $200-$400 per MBF.
Hickory log prices refer to the cost paid by mills to purchase delivered logs, which means that the mill purchases the logs once they have been transported from the site of harvest. Since these prices are higher up the value chain, they are generally higher than stumpage prices. However, similar to stumpage prices, log prices are not standardized and vary based on the individual mill. For accurate pricing, it is recommended to contact a local sawmill. On average, hickory log prices in 2023 can range from $350 to $550 per thousand board feet (MBF).
Hickory Lumber prices refer to the prices paid by consumers for milled hickory boards. As hickory lumber requires milling, kiln-drying, and planing, it is the most value-added product and, therefore, the most valuable. Furthermore, there are additional costs associated with lumber due to these processes, as well as the cost of retail itself, which may also include marketing. Typically, lumber sales are intermediated, which means that lumber prices may differ by wholesale (prices paid by stores and warehouses) and retail prices (paid by end-users). The typical retail prices of hickory lumber range around $4,500 per MBF.
Determining the Board Foot volume of a Hickory Tree
All the prices state above are denominated in “MBF” or “thousand board feet.” This is the most common way sawlogs are valued. It is a rough measurement of the lumber yielded from any tree or log. Thus, how much a hickory tree is worth will be mostly a function of how many board feet it yields.
Determining board feet yield prior to milling is a science all its own, but luckily, there are volume tables and log rules to help us out. Below is a board foot volume table for trees based on the diameter and the number of usable logs in the tree.
Finding the board foot volume of a tree can be complicated business, however. It requires proper measurement and basic knowledge of forest products. If you are interested in measuring your own trees, I recommend you give our article on the subject a read.
Once you know the board foot volume, you can calculate an estimate of value by dividing the board feet by 1000 to get MBF and multiplying that number by the price per MBF.
You can see us go through the process of estimating the value of a tree in this video below:
The value of hickory trees largely depends on their size, but not all board feet are created equal. The quality of the lumber also plays a significant role in determining a tree’s worth. Consider two hypothetical hickory trees depicted in the diagram below.
The tree on the left has numerous dead branches, resulting in logs that are full of unsightly knots. The lumber made from the upper portion of the log is likely to be of poor quality and fetch a lower price. In contrast, the tree on the right is straight and branch-free, indicating that it will produce several high-quality hickory logs that are in demand and command a premium price at the mill. Other defects such as sweep, rot, cracks, and wounds can also reduce lumber quality and yield. To learn more about what constitutes quality timber and how to cultivate it, please refer to our free guide available at the link below.
Which Species of Hickory Is Worth the Most Money
Hickory is a highly valued tree species for its dense, durable, and beautiful wood. Among the various species of hickory, the most valuable for lumber production are the shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) and the shellbark hickory (Carya laciniosa). These two species are known for their distinctive and attractive grain patterns and their strength and durability, making them popular choices for flooring, cabinetry, and furniture. In addition, pecan (Carya illinoinensis), a type of hickory, is also highly sought after for its edible nuts and its wood, which is used for flooring, furniture, and veneer. While other species of hickory, such as bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis) and mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa), are also used for lumber, they are generally less valuable due to their less desirable wood properties.
How Much Is an Acre of Hickory Worth?
Now that we understand what determines the value of single logs and trees, how much would an entire acre of hickory trees be worth? Luckily, we have ways to measure that as well. Volume tables can help us estimate how many MBF are on an acre of forest land.
Below is a volume table you can use to estimate the thousands of board feet on a given acre.
The left axis represents the amount of basal area per acre. To learn more about basal area, what it represents, and how to measure it, we have an article on the subject here.
Typically, however, an average-stocked stand of mature hickory might have 70 square feet of basal area and 1.5 logs per tree (on average). At this level, an acre of hickory would have 7.3 MBF/acre and a stumpage value of $1,500-$3,000 per acre! In 100 acres of such a stand, the trees may be worth around a quarter million dollars. Not too shabby!
The Wildlife and Ecological Value of Hickory
Hickory trees are highly valued not only for their lumber but also for their significant ecological benefits. These trees provide crucial support for a diverse range of wildlife species, including squirrels, chipmunks, birds, and deer. The nuts produced by the hickory tree are a nutritious food source for many animals, and the dense foliage provides cover and shelter for birds and other small animals. Moreover, the leaves, bark, and wood of the hickory tree serve as habitat for various insects, fungi, and microorganisms. These microorganisms, in turn, contribute to nutrient cycling and soil health, benefiting the entire ecosystem.
In particular, the importance of hickory trees for deer is worth mentioning. White-tailed deer are herbivorous and require a varied diet to meet their nutritional needs. Hickory nuts, along with acorns, are a crucial food source for deer, especially during the fall and winter months when other food sources may become scarce. Even so, hickory nuts are not considered a preferred food source for deer do to their hard outer shell. Overall, hickory trees play a critical role in supporting the biodiversity and health of forest ecosystems, making them an essential species to protect and preserve.
How to Sell Hickory Trees
If you have hickory trees on your property and are interested in selling them, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, you need to determine the type of sale you want to make. Do you wish to sell the rights to harvest the timber, or do you wish to sell individual logs? The type of sale you choose will have a significant impact on the process and the potential revenue you can earn.
If you wish to sell the rights to harvest your hickory trees, you will need to have a significant parcel of timberland. Loggers typically require a minimum of 10 acres to make the investment in harvesting your trees worthwhile. Working with a forester can help you navigate the process and ensure that you get the best value for your timber while also protecting your property for the long term.
On the other hand, if you wish to sell individual hickory logs, the process is more manageable. If you have a single tree on your property that you want to take down and sell, you can post an ad on online marketplaces like Craigslist or Facebook to find interested buyers. Many people with small, portable sawmills are willing to purchase logs directly from property owners.
Determining the value of hickory trees can be a complex and challenging process. Proper training and years of experience are required to make accurate assessments of their worth, and even then, the value of a tree is subjective and depends on what someone is willing to pay for it. However, by utilizing the information and resources available here, you can make informed estimates of the value of the hickory trees on your property.