Repurposing Tree Parts

December 22, 2021 · 2 minute read
Repurposing Tree Parts

If you want to get me excited, show me how you repurposed or recycled a tree or part of a tree. This includes cabinets or furniture used with solid wood and used on the landscape or in a house with no stain so you can see every grain in the wood.  

Here are a few examples I came up with this past weekend.

  • Leave the leaves: Utilize the leaves in your yard as a mulch bed around trees or mow the leaves with a lawn mower so the parts of the leaf fall between the blades of grass and breakdown for the soil. The leaves also serve as a habitat for many beneficial living organisms.
  • Fence made with branches:  Everytime I ride up the Cannon Creek Greenway in Richmond on my bike I am reminded of what a cool idea this is.
  • Birdhouse post: This could be a small tree being removed and leaving the trunk about five-feet tall or using a limb as a post and putting it in the ground like you would any other 4’x4′ post, then planting a feeder or house on the post (trunk).
  • Mushroom logs: Logs and even stumps can be inoculated with mushroom mycelium to grow edible mushrooms like shiitake, oyster and lion’s mane to name a few. Below are some shiitake logs at my house.
  • Wildlife piles: Search online and you’ll find many styles and techniques to create wildlife piles. My warning is that not only will bunnies and birds love these piles but so could copperhead snakes; so just be careful before throwing your hands into a pile of sticks.
  • Sitting bench: The top of the log does not need to be cut flat, but it makes a more comfortable bench.  This will take more time, skills and the right equipment.
  • Furniture:  This can take the shape of fine furniture with kiln-dried lumber or rough outdoor furniture with air dried lumber.
  • Support beams: This could be for a Treehouse, an outdoor platform or the inside of a building to help support the building. If you want to see a lot of examples of this you can look no further than the Camp Truetimber (our office below).
  • Art: Here’s an example of a project by Patrick Dougherty in the Dumbarton Oaks area in Washington D.C.  Truetimber was able to help Patrick in 2010 obtain the branches and deliver them to D.C.
  • Path/Border: This is a simple way to use fallen dead limbs or cut limbs to line a path or to create a border between mulch and lawn.
  • Create stools: The nice thing about stools around a firepit is they can usually be moved easily with two people and if the fire gets too hot you can move out further and if the fire gets too cold you can move in closer. Another use for stools could be for an outdoor classroom. Warning: If they are too tall in diameter, they’re easy to knock over and could be an issue if anyone tries to climb on them.
  • Mulch: Fresh wood chips are great for your landscape because they contain all of the tree parts which benefit the soil by adding nutrients and organic matter as they breaks down. These chips also provide the same benefits as other mulches like helping retain moisture, helping modulate soil temperature and helping suppress weeds.