11 Ways to Dispose of or Repurpose Cut-Down Trees and Logs (2024)

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, you still need to dispose of the wood

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If you’re aiming to clear your yard of some unwanted trees, you may have a plan for the actual removal, but knowing how to dispose of cut-down trees and plan for tree log removal is not as straightforward. Luckily you have a lot of options here, and we’ll break them all down.

How to Dispose of Cut-Down Trees or Logs

Whether a tree fell from a storm or you hired a company to cut it down, the next step is disposing of the tree. Below are ideas on how to dispose of cut-down trees to get them off your property entirely.

1. Check Your Local Yard Waste Recycling or Municipal Composting Program

Many villages, towns, HOAs, and other local organizations offer municipal composting programs or local yard waste recycling. There may be a local transfer station where you can take the downed trees, logs, or branches for disposal.

Additionally, many townships pick up yard debris on a couple of specified dates each year, usually in the spring and fall. Check what programs are available in your local area and make arrangements to transport the yard debris to the proper location or schedule a pick-up.

2. Burn Brush on Site

Another option for getting rid of cut-down trees is to burn the wood in place. This option may be more time-consuming, as you’ll need to dry the wood somewhat. However, for leafy branches, this may be more time-efficient than sawing off individual branches and figuring out what to do with them. You should have experience with these types of controlled burns before moving forward, though.

Keep in mind that some species of open-pore “cottonwood” or “alamo” varieties soak up water very easily from rain if left out too long, so you might have to place a tarp over these species to let them air out. Leave airflow space underneath for airflow and let dry for six to 12 months or use fuel to help the wood burn more effectively.

Note: Using fuel to burn wood is not legal in all areas, so always check with your local officials first. You should also aim to do this when humidity is high so you minimize risk to the surrounding soil, according to Oklahoma State University. Keep in mind that burning brush on these days may take longer.

You should carefully ignite the brush by using a tool like a drip torch, road flare, or propane torch. You should also not use gasoline to burn the brush, as this can be dangerous.

3. Give It Away

This might sound straightforward, but if you know neighbors, lumber mills, woodworkers, or others who could use free wood, why not just give it away? You might have to encourage a company or a few friends with trucks to come out and do some heavy-duty lifting, but you can rest at the end of the day knowing the wood is no longer in your hands.

4. Have a Professional Do the Job

Last but not least, if you want your tree demolition to be out of sight and out of mind quickly, then the easiest way to do it is to hire a tree service company to do the job. This option might cost more in the long run, but it will almost certainly save you time—especially if you are removing many trees and will have a lot of cut-down pieces remaining afterward.

A pro knows how to get rid of cut-down trees efficiently and can also use a stump grinder to remove stumps, remove roots, and ensure that power lines are clear of large trees.

Not to mention, a professional can inspect all trees on your property to help identify any sickly or unhealthy trees and remove them at the same time, saving you the trouble of having to repeat this process if another tree were to fall or become a hazard.

How to Repurpose Cut-Down Trees and Logs

Getting rid of cut-down logs entirely is not the only option available. There are many different ways to repurpose valuable wood from fallen trees, with our favorites detailed below.

1. Store for Firewood

Storing chopped-down trees as firewood is a fairly simple way to get rid of the branches of your former trees. Not all trees can be used for firewood, however. Poplar, for example, is hard to split and is very smoky if you burn it when it’s not completely dry. Do your research before splitting some wood for firewood.

Even splitting low-quality wood with a power splitter can take a lot of work. If the wood is soft and wet from being freshly cut, you will also have a harder time splitting the wood. On top of that, you’ll need to cut the pieces to fireplace length, which may be a challenge depending on the species of trees.

However, if you’re up for a bit of a challenge, this method can be a great way to make sure the wood from your tree log removal is put to good use.

2. Use as Furniture

Depending on the species and quality of wood, you might be able to use stumps and straight branches as legs for chairs, tables, and even stair railings. This project is a great way to add some custom furniture to your home while also preserving the memories of the trees that used to be on your property, making it a win-win.

Of course, you’ll have to have some serious furniture-making chops to take this project on, or you can work with a custom furniture company to make your dreams come true.

3. Turn Into Mulch/Wood Chips

For the same reason that you can’t use all wood from chopped trees as firewood, you also can’t just use any old branch or stump to make your own mulch or wood chips. If the wood in question is larger than 24 to 27 inches in diameter, you’re going to have to invest more to chip the wood.

Towable chippers that are capable of chipping entire 4-foot trees are mainly used for major land-clearing jobs and run at about $500 per hour or more.

With that in mind, if your trees are smaller or you’ve already hired a tree service company to come on-site, turning your chopped trees into wood chips may very well be the right option for you. You can also take the brush to a brush chipping company in your area if you’ve already had the trees cut down.

4. Create a Property Line

11 Ways to Dispose of or Repurpose Cut-Down Trees and Logs (1)

Photo: Andriy Blokhin / Adobe Stock

Another idea on how to get rid of cut-down trees is to get your DIY on. Create a charming rustic fence, or go for the eco-friendly, low-maintenance route by simply rolling the logs in a single-file line to the edges of your property as a property line barrier. Bear in mind that any untreated wood will become insect, mushroom, toadstool, and fungus havens as they decompose.

5. Use as Compost

If you don’t mind adding a bit of wood to the natural scenery on your property, one way you can dispose of tree cuts is by simply stacking them and letting them rot away. Better yet, you can create compost sites from the stacked wood and pile up unsightly branches on the inside.

Or, if you want to conceal the stack, consider planting some shrubs around them. Just be sure not to place the wood too close to any property, as you may tempt some ants, termites, or venomous snakes to enter your home.

6. Create a Habitat

While deadwood might not look as beautiful as live trees, they have an equally as important role. Deadwood provides a habitat for certain animals, like insects, butterflies, bees, birds, reptiles, and small mammals. It can also make a great home for various wild plant species. Habitats are a great solution for how to get rid of wood from cut-down tree logs and branches.

To build a habitat on your property, gather tree stumps with the entire root structure attached or log sections. Dig a hole in the ground so that the bottom third of the wood will be buried. Place the wood into the hole and backfill the open space with dirt and other organic matter, like ferns and leaves.

7. Create Coasters, Cutting Boards and Other Wood Objects

Trees, branches, and logs are the perfect raw material to create wooden decor items. From coasters and cutting boards to key hangers and jewelry hangers, to side tables or bowls and dishes, there are plenty of potential DIY projects for your fallen tree.

Most of these projects can be completed using an electric saw, sander, and a little creativity. Be sure to use appropriate safety gear like glasses, gloves, or masks. In addition to the wood, incorporate other materials into your project, like rope, metal furniture legs, or hooks.

If you’re not the crafty type, reach out to local artisans and woodworkers. Offer to provide the raw materials, then purchase custom wood pieces from your tree or branch.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you recently cut down a tree and are left with the tree stump, there are a few different methods you can use to remove it. First and foremost, you can simply dig the tree stump out of the ground by loosening up the soil and roots. Use a reciprocating saw to aid in the removal of the root system.

You could also carefully burn the stump to remove it. Use other pieces of wood to create fire on top of the stump and continue to add more wood until the entire stump has burned.

Finally, you could use a chemical made specifically for stump removal. Per the manufacturer’s instructions, drill holes into the stump and pour in the chemical. As the chemical is absorbed, it will soften the stump, making the removal much easier.

11 Ways to Dispose of or Repurpose Cut-Down Trees and Logs (2024)


11 Ways to Dispose of or Repurpose Cut-Down Trees and Logs? ›

You can use them to create garden benches, walkways, planters, raised garden beds, and even stunning garden gates. They can also be turned into unique and exotic coffee tables or used to build a fence. And don't forget the fun options, such as log swings for your chickens or forest toadstool decorations.

What can I make with logs? ›

You can use them to create garden benches, walkways, planters, raised garden beds, and even stunning garden gates. They can also be turned into unique and exotic coffee tables or used to build a fence. And don't forget the fun options, such as log swings for your chickens or forest toadstool decorations.

What can you do with logs in the garden? ›

Log planter

A partially rotten hollow log or stump with a spongy interior makes a great place to grow ferns and plants that like moist shade, adding atmosphere in a woodland garden or a dim corner.

Can you use tree branches for firewood? ›

It is generally safe to harvest firewood from fallen trees and branches but depending on the species, some firewood is better than others. Hardwood species offer better firewood than softwood such as fir, hemlock, and cedar.

How do I get rid of logs? ›

How to Dispose of Tree Branches, Cut-Down Trees, or Logs
  1. Check Your Local Yard Waste Recycling or Municipal Composting Program. ...
  2. Rent a Dumpster. ...
  3. Burn Brush on Site. ...
  4. Give It Away. ...
  5. Have a Professional Do the Job. ...
  6. Store for Firewood. ...
  7. Turn Into Mulch/Wood Chips. ...
  8. Create a Property Line.
Aug 18, 2023

How do you get rid of tree stumps fast? ›

Drill holes into the tree, fill the holes with Epsom salt, and apply water to the top of the tree stump to allow the salt to penetrate. Then, tightly cover the top of the tree with a tarp or garbage bag. Fungal infections will kill off the stump over time.

Can logs decompose? ›

The time it takes for a tree/log to completely decay varies depending on climate, species and size of the pieces of the tree. Forest researchers at the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Minnesota have created a computer model that calculates how long it will take for a tree to completely decompose.

What can I split logs on? ›

Tips for Splitting Wood Logs

A maul combines a sledgehammer with a wedge in one tool. It's heavy but does a good job of splitting logs. A splitting axe is similar to a maul, but it has a narrower, lighter head that easily slices through logs. Always stand the log on a short chopping block, never on the ground.

Are rotting logs good for the garden? ›

As it rots it slowly enriches the soil adding loads of carbon-rich organic matter. Although this might offend our sense of order, there are plenty of practical and decorative ways to use dead and decaying wood that can have long term benefits for soils and ecosystems.

What can dead wood be used for? ›

Woodchips, Mulch & Firewood

The most obvious—and easiest—use you can get out of your dead tree is to chip it down into woodchips or mulch that can be used to landscape and garden, or split it into firewood. Mulch offers numerous benefits to trees including protection, moisture and appeal.

Why do people put logs in the water? ›

Storage of logs in water has the additional advantages of minimizing fire risks, washing away dirt which could dull saws, and preventing splitting of logs which might otherwise dry prior to milling. Cargo mills typically used a system of floating log booms to contain stored logs from delivery until milling.

Is a dead tree good for firewood? ›

Since your trees are already dead, the curing process will have already started, and the wood should be dry enough to burn in a shorter time period. Hardwoods like oak will burn better if seasoned for more than a year.

How long does it take for a cut tree to dry out for firewood? ›

How long does it take to season firewood? It can take 3-12 months or longer to season firewood. On average, it usually takes around 6-months to dry out the cut-firewood that you purchased from a store or supplier. Depending on the original timber's moisture content, it can take more or less time to season.

What wood should not be used for firewood? ›

Poisonous Wood

Burning poison oak, poison ivy, poison sumac, Brazilian peppertree and poisonwood creates smoke with irritant oils that can cause severe breathing problems and eye irritation.

Is it OK to leave tree roots in the ground? ›

Leave the Roots Alone

Though it may take years, tree roots eventually decompose and add organic material to the soil. This increases the nutrients available for other nearby plants and trees. If tripping hazards are a concern, cover the roots with wood mulch.

How long do tree roots live after tree cut down? ›

It can take many years, and in fact some types of trees have roots that will grow new trees and not die. Chinese Elm and Carrotwood are two such types. Others may take seven to ten years or longer. Grinding the stump speeds the process but still leaves the deeper roots.

How do you honor a tree after cutting it down? ›

Cutting Down Trees: Compassionate and Spiritual Practices to Honor a Tree's Life
  1. Connect with the tree.
  2. Express gratitude.
  3. Present an offering.
  4. Provide healing.
  5. Hold a ceremony.
  6. Take photos or create art.
  7. Give the tree a name.
  8. Plant a new tree.
Mar 9, 2023

How long does it take a cut down tree to decompose? ›

Organic Matter

What about yard waste? Wood from trees, like stumps, branches, and limbs will take a very long time to decompose, upwards of 50-100 years if left whole.

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