NC State Extension Publications

Utilization of Storm Damaged Timber

Following a storm timber owners are often interested in salvaging their timber, but the utilization of storm-damaged timber depends on physical damage to trees and the length of time between damage and harvest. This publication provides guidelines for the utilization of storm-damaged timber.

Sawtimber trees with broken tops may be unusable for lumber because of wood splintering and internal tearing (shake). Salvage of usable sawlogs from broken trees depends on the height of the standing stumps. Uprooted or leaning trees usually can be converted to lumber. Badly splintered trees also present problems in debarking and chipping prior to pulping or conversion to hardboard or particleboard. However, trees with shake or just end splintering can usually be processed successfully although there will be some decrease in the quality of chips.

Fungi and insects require time to degrade the quality of timber. Rapid harvest and removal is the most effective method to prevent damage by these organisms. However, if this is impossible, timber can still be utilized for some products for up to a year. Table 1 provides guidelines for the utilization of storm-damaged timber for various products. The times are approximate and will be affected by timber species, size, part of the state, and whether the trees are standing or on the ground.

When logs cannot be used rapidly, it is possible to prevent attack by fungi and insects by storing the logs under water. Valuable logs can be protected by floating in a pond or by keeping waterlogged under a water spray. To be effective, the logs should be water logged as soon after the harvest as possible and should be kept wet continuously. Ponding and water spraying can prevent deterioration for at least a year. For more information on use of these methods contact your county extension agent.

For more information, visit the NC State Disaster Portal.

 


Table 1. Utilization guidelines for storm-damaged timber.
Species Product Harvest Within Comments
Pine or Hardwoods Veneer and lumber appearance 4 - 6 weeks Blue stain prohibits use if left longer
Pine Lumber-framing 3 - 4 months Should be kiln dried to prevent emergence of secondary insects. Do not use where toughness is important
Pine or Hardwoods Lumber-decorative boards and paneling 12 months Should be kiln dried
Pine Posts 4 - 6 weeks Blue stain will affect toughness and preservative treatability
Pine Poles, piling Not recommended
Pine or Hardwoods Pulp, hardboard, particleboard 12 months Blue stain, decay, and low moisture content may affect the pulping process and chemical or energy requirements. Should be mixed with sound wood.
Pine or Hardwoods Fuelwood 12 months Low moisture content increases heat value

Authors

Department Extension Leader - Specialist
Forestry & Environmental Resources
Associate Dean of Extension, Department Extension Leader & Professor
Forestry & Environmental Resources

Publication date: Jan. 1, 2011

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.