Living in the boonies isn't necessarily carefree, but for rural dwellers, the fresh air, babbling brooks and peaceful environment make the location choice worth any trouble. Although life may be cheaper outside of urban centers, you and your spouse still need financial resources to purchase items necessary to be fully self-sufficient, such as quality vehicles and small farm equipment, which can run up a tab. With careful planning, you can turn your wooded lot into an income source to help you fulfill present and future financial goals.
Contact your local or state forestry department, according to the United States Department of Agriculture Forestry Service. If you live near a state university, contact the university's agricultural extension service. Such services can help you locate a professional forestry consultant, and this should be the first step for novices interested in selling trees. For a fee, a forestry consultant can guide you through the entire process from start to finish.
Take inventory of the trees you wish to sell. If you have previous experience preparing a woodlot's inventory for sale, using colored cord or spray paint, label the trees eligible for cutting by type — for example, birch or pine — and maturity. University of Maine's cooperative extension advises landowners to consider the aesthetics of the lot during the planning stage, as overcutting could create an eyesore if the lot's located close to neighbors or along a roadway.
Contact local mills or loggers, let them know your inventory and solicit bids. It's important to contact mills based the type of trees you're selling. A sawmill, for example, buys mature trees to create construction products and a paper mill buys younger trees for pulp. Review bids carefully and sign a contract with the business providing the most attractive offer.
Replant trees to replace those that were removed. Replanting your forest maintains your land's value by preventing soil erosion and damage to vegetation and streams. You can buy trees from a greenhouse or from your forestry service or university agricultural extension office.
- Like stocks, bonds and commodities, tree prices are affected by supply and demand. When prices drop, consider waiting to harvest your trees until you can get a higher price.
- While you don't need permission to sell trees from land you own outright, you should be advised that both you and the logging company must be knowledgeable of and comply with state and local laws put in place to protect the environment, says the Virginia Department of Forestry.
- If you live on a wooded lot in a planned community, most likely, your homeowner's association rules prohibit you from removing and selling the trees, even if the planned community is located in a rural area.
Maya Black has been covering business, food, travel, cultural topics and decorating since 1992. She has bachelor's degree in art and a master's degree in cultural studies from University of Texas, a culinary arts certificate and a real estate license. Her articles appear in magazines such as Virginia Living and Albemarle.