What built-in stresses can be expected in a single row of trees grown along a fence? I have 65 acres of timber (cherry, oak, maple ash, etc.) in large stands on a farm in Ohio that I plan to selective harvest to improve the stand (by thinning and removing over–mature and damaged trees) over the next few years. I have sought the advice of our local state forester in developing my harvesting plan. I plan to cut the trees, pull the logs out to a landing site, pay a local portable sawmill to cut the logs into boards, and deliver the lumber to a local kiln to maximize my return on this resource.
My concern is for several large cherry trees that are growing along some of the fields. I was told that sometimes trees not grown in a stand, such as those growing along fence lines, do not benefit from the density where the masts may be smaller, the tree packing tighter, and rapid vertical growth due to the competition for sunlight. Fence line trees are subjected to the full brunt of wind and weather. These trees grow in all directions, with limbs at all levels, rather than shooting for the sky, and that exacerbates the effect of the wind and weather further.
I was told that stresses can develop within the wood under these conditions that make drying and use more challenging. The fence line trees vary from saplings to over 40 inches in diameter and with heights in excess of 80 feet. Should I assume that all of this is blocking material or firewood? Can I make an assessment during harvest? (I am aware of the fencing impacts and the possible presence of metal for the first 8 to 10 feet with regard to the sawing operations and safety.) Even if dried properly, can this wood distort more than normal later if used for furniture or cabinetry? Maybe the opposite is possible. Since these trees have been stressed more than typical trees, the built-in strain compensates for the stresses.
Do you have any thoughts on this matter? When I see a building expansion or new development underway, and the cleared trees are hauled off to a dump, I think it is a terrible loss. I would like to ask the owner for these trees and turn them into useful boards. But if these trees are less useable, only suitable for firewood, then I will look at this issue in a different light (fireplace light).
(Value Added Wood Processing Forum)
From contributor F:
You have been advised correctly regarding open grown trees. They will tend to have a good deal more stress than stand trees. They will, however, have a good deal more interesting grain than stand trees. Don't pass up the opportunity to really cash in on what may be some beautiful turning wood. Some of those crotches will yield magnificent pieces of wood! If you do decide to plank the wood in these trees, just make the planks thick (or make cants) so they can be resawn after they cure out for a considerable time. You may want to wax the ends of the prime stuff so they don't check badly. Don't use for firewood!