Value of a Walnut Root Ball

The base of a downed walnut tree could be in good condition and yield valuable wood. July 11, 2013

A friend of mine has a big walnut that blew down - uprooted - all intact, real big. Should he save the root ball? Been down for a year and a half. Trunk has not been totally laying on the ground. Will a timber buyer be interested in this?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor H:
The root ball is where the big money is; the wood is all swirly, lots of crazy figure. There is the worry of a rock grown within, but saw blades are worth it if the wood is there. Gunstock makers love it. Grab everything that grew vertically and save it from the woodstove!

From contributor S:
If the log has not been in ground contact it is fine. I sawed one that was supported by its branches and rootball for nearly a decade - beautiful wood.

The roots are nearly worthless. The work is intense; the results, minimal. The buttress where the trunk flares out just above ground level is where the best stock wood comes from. Don't waste your time trying to clean up and saw anything from below ground level.

I am always looking for crotch wood from the crowns of black walnuts.

From contributor G:

I would definitely power wash the root ball for a table.

From contributor Q:
The root ball is only worth cutting if it is actually a ball shape, indicating that it is a burl. Just under the surface, at the base of the tree, is a common spot for burls to grow, but not every tree has a burl there. If it does have a ball, then it's likely some awesome burl wood. If it's just roots growing out this way and that, then you're going to ruin some blades for nothing. Root balls are pretty easy to notice because they have hundreds of tiny sprouts that look like hair at the base of the tree. At least this has been my experience.