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Removing a black walnut tree

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  • Removing a black walnut tree

    We are having some trees removed from our paddock next week. They are getting bulldozed down and chipped onsite. There is a black walnut tree that is sort of out of the way but Mr KC wants removed (the walnuts are kind of a pain to deal with). I say it is a bad idea because there is bound to be some scattered chips that are dangerous to the horses. I think leaving it is the safest option. Or maybe we can get them to drag it somewhere out of the way and use it for firewood? Any other ideas?

  • #2
    If it is large enough, sell it. I don't know that trees are easy to sell - I think there has to be a certain height below the lowest branch & a certain diameter to the trunk. However, if it is large enough, I believe it is quite saleable.

    I'm puzzled as to why the trees are being chipped. Once they are down, there are people who will come & cut them up & split them for firewood (I found such people on Freecycle) for free or maybe even pay you for the wood.

    I agree not to chip it. There will be some chips around in any case, just from cutting it down, but chipping it up would likely result in lots of loose chips. If you are determined to chip it up, maybe discuss it with the people doing the job. Could they perhaps pull that tree to a different place away from all horse paddocks/pastures before they chip? Could they clean up the chips (might be an extra charge)?


    • #3
      Definitely do not chip a Black Walnut tree anywhere near a place where horses will be. I remember a farm that had about 40 horses all founder one night after a new truck of shavings was delivered. It turned out to be Black Walnut.


      • #4
        Check with a logger before you get in a hurry to chip anything except small stuff. If you are within 100 miles or so of a paper mill or major shipping outlet, there's a market even for pulpwood.

        The black walnut -- unless it's a scraggly miserable specimen, it's worth something as lumber.


        • #5
          Ummm, interesting problem. Yes, the chips would be very dangerous. But honestly, I have no idea for how long. Anyone know the half-life of Black Walnut chips?

          Just off the top of my head, here are a couple of things to think about. Call your closest large animal teaching university and ask them how long these chips would be an active danger. It can't be forever, as eventually they will break down into dust or compost into, well, compost.

          Ask the tree guys if they have a way to handle it. No everyone can handle a huge pile of wood-chips everywhere. We have a small chipper and it came with a bag that attached to the discharge chute if you needed to relocate your chips. Explain to the tree guys that the Walnut chips are poisonous to horses - they might help you figure out something.

          We have a huge black Walnut in the middle of one of our fields. It has some sentimental value to us as we got married underneath it. So when we fenced that field we fenced it off by itself. But it wasn't in the way of anything else.

          Good luck and let us know what you end up doing!

          The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.



          • Original Poster

            Yeah, I wondered if it might have some value. The folks doing the job are retaining the "salvage" rights, so maybe they will want to take it (although it didn't sound like it when Mr KC discussed it with them. I wasn't there although I had mentioned the problem to him).

            Evalee, most of the trees are scraggly pines. There are only a few hardwoods. We have a nursery near us that will take the chips.


            • #7
              I Concurr..

              Do Not allow the black walnut chips to contaminate your other chips.
              one... they're toxic to horses and people.
              two .. they take longer to compost
              Further, the wood ...if not of size and quality to be marketable is valued by local wood carvers or craftsman. Someone will be glad to rid you of the tree.
              Equus makus brokus but happy


              • #8
                Don't chip the walnut!! Put an ad in your local paper that you have a mature black walnut to be taken down - someone will come get it for free. The wood is very valuable, or at least it used to be. My sister in law has a grove of 8 mature ones and has been told by her landscaper they're worth $50,000 if she ever decides to get rid of them.
                I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


                • Original Poster

                  Well, I found this interesting website:


                  I will go inspect/measure my tree tomorrow to see if I can pay off my mortgage .


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post
                    Definitely do not chip a Black Walnut tree anywhere near a place where horses will be. I remember a farm that had about 40 horses all founder one night after a new truck of shavings was delivered. It turned out to be Black Walnut.
                    Unforntunately That has happened at a farm right across the street from us


                    • #11
                      I'd leave it up. Cutting it down will leave sawdust and a weeping stump - both of which will cause your horses to founder. Grind the stump - same thing. Founder.

                      Leave it up - no problem.

                      If you decide to take it down anyway - put an ad in the paper. Black Walnut is worth a fortune. Exceptionally valuable hardwood.
                      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                      -Rudyard Kipling


                      • #12
                        Do not chip the black walnut.

                        When we took down our black walnut, it was already dead, so we were unable to sell it. I paid $750 to have it cut down (it was right next to our house, so it was a tricky job).

                        However, a neighbor with a sawmill offered to rough cut the big logs for us into 2" slabs in exchange for some farm equipment that we weren't using and didn't need... and I estimate our workshop has several thousand dollars (retail, not wholesale) worth of wood in it... which now makes our workshop nearly unusable. It's very beautiful.

                        Just from the scraps, I also got about a cord of firewood out of it. The black walnut needs to season for a couple of years, but once it is dry, it burns just fine.
                        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                        • #13
                          Beautiful wood and a sin to grind it up IMO!! Just fence it off and leave it.
                          "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"


                          • #14
                            If the black walnut is in good shape I would leave it alone, it will provide great shade and it is the shavings that area toxic. Shaving, even from cutting it down, could cause real problems for your horses. If it absolutley has to go keep the horses out of that area until every possible shaving/chip has been burn and the area waterdown really well. We had to remove a dead BW from a friends pasture last year. We cut it down, dragged the whole tree out of the pasture with the tractor to cut it up elsewhere and burned the crap out of the ground around the stump (about 15' around the whole stump), ran the hose on the area for quite awhile and kept the horses out for about a week (rain the whole week also).


                            • #15
                              Don't be so paranoid!

                              Oh fer cryin' out loud. BW trees aren't harmful. Keep it. I have about 40 in my pastures and no horse problems ever. If limbs fall, don't worry about it. I leave them & the nuts on the ground. Horses don't bother the bark or try to eat it ever. They do eat the lower leaves regularly. I personally doubt that chips spread out are harmful unless the horses stand on the piles for long periods of time. It's prolonged exposure and standing in the sawdust that causes founder. Old farmers had livestock under these trees for ages and somehow their horses survived! Mine do!

                              And I've tried selling both lumber & nuts and not found it to be doable. They want 3 foot thick tall/straight specimens and still want to charge to bring in equipment. Keep hearing about the profit but doesn't seem to be the case around here on first investigation. Does anybody want some nuts? Free?!!!


                              • #16
                                Leave it up. A friend had a black walnut tree fall in her paddock; they cut it up to remove it and her pony foundered from the sawdust left behind. It's when the trees start to decompose (sawdust, wood chips, etc) that they are so toxic to horses.

                                I have black walnuts in my paddocks and the horses leave them alone for the most part. Everyone once in awhile I'll see them nibbling on the bark, but they usually stop pretty quick because it tastes yucky. We had another tree fall through our fence and take a branch off one of the black walnuts; we were very careful to remove the branch quickly and rake up the little bits and pieces left behind.


                                • #17
                                  Tree hugger

                                  Don't cut it down. We have several on my farm and never had any problems.


                                  • #18
                                    My neighbor chopped up his black walnut for firewood. It had been there for generations, since before my grandfather lived there. I just about cried. Such beautiful wood and not common, it was really kind of sad to end up as firewood. The part that curves down into the roots is used for gunstocks and also I think furniture. It would probably still be pretty valuable.
                                    "Uh, if you're going to try that, shouldn't you unplug it first?"


                                    • #19
                                      We have hundreds and hundreds of BW trees on our property (did I say HUNDREDS?!)
                                      ALL of my paddocks are bordered in some fashion by several of them

                                      Limbs fall in, so do branches so do leaves. None of the horses are ever affected. To be honest, I hate the damned nuts and I worry about one of them bruising a foot or twisting an ankle on one but thats about it

                                      We did and do cut down the BW trees and you simply have to use common sense. Drag it away and cut it up away from the paddock, pick up whatever shrapnel you can. The limbs that we DO cut up are done in areas that wont have horses in the for 6-12 months. That is more than enough time for any toxins to be leached from the surrounding soil

                                      We also just had a whack of trees culled and cut down - BW's included - all done under Ministry of the Environment to preserve the woodlots on our property. Whoever believes they will get rich cutting down and selling BW's needs to buy swampland in FL instead ...

                                      yes - they are worth more than maples, or ash but we got $80.00 for a BW instead of $60.00 for the maple and $40.00 for the ash tree. At the end of the day for the 200 trees they cut and took away, we got just under $2000.00 and about 25% of them were BW's , so it sure didnt pay off the mortgage - not even close!

                                      After boarding at many places over the years that did have BW trees on the property and it never affecting any of my horses - pregnant mares and foals included, I have learned to make peace with having them around ...

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