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Recycling tree logs for indoor or outdoor furniture can add a creative art piece to your home or garden, and it repurposes wood that might otherwise have gone into a landfill.
With a bit of creative woodworking skill, this garden chair was crafted from a trunk section of a tree that required removing.

Published June 26, 2014 By STEVE HOUSER


Although the term “logscaping” sounds like a name created by beavers or our beloved squirrels, it is actually an effort to bring old ways back into more common use in today’s world. I know you are already thinking that a big pile of logs covering your yard would not be cool but — hear me out. The term refers to a basic re-purposing of logs in an urban or rural setting for various uses that are more sustainable as opposed to the logs just becoming firewood or dumped in a landfill. Wood or logs from lost trees can be used for many different purposes. A million satisfied beavers and squirrels just can’t be wrong.

Logs can be used to reduce soil erosion, create a plant stand or outdoor furniture, used as bed borders, and create artwork, among many other uses. When a tree must come down, folks typically want it removed from the site. However, a tree is a precious natural resource that should be re-purposed on the site from which it was grown whenever possible. Recycling logs and limbs also helps to reduce the transfer of damaging pathogens and insects from one site to another.

Leaves, twigs, limbs, and mulch, left to decay on the surface of the soil will help to provide a healthier soil as well as healthier plants and trees, in return. Re-purposing a tree also helps to conserve precious water resources by holding moisture in the soil and reducing soil exposure to direct sunlight, which decreases soil evaporation. My preference is to leave organic materials on a site to help restore soil health and avoid moving the material.

Bois d’Arc branches have been re-purposed as step risers to stabilize a path through the woods.

What to do with all the logs? In nature, from death comes life. Walk through any natural forest that contains large logs that have been left on the ground for a long period of time and carefully look underneath it. Watch out for what crawls or slithers from underneath and notice the area under the log will be teaming with life underneath. Roots of nearby trees congregate under the logs because they are sources of moisture and favorable environments. A few logs left on the soil surface along with other organic material is very beneficial, especially if you add a few tree cookie walks as well!

One further note, too many logs or too much dead material can create a fire hazard, so logscape with moderation. (I felt this should be noted before I receive hate mail from Smokey Bear).

American Indians used logs and limbs for everything from teepee poles to totem poles, hand tools, and arrows. They were the original logscapers.

American Indians logscape by re-purposing Eastern Red Cedar trunks into teepee poles.

Although trees in a rural area can be used for wood products, trees in an urban setting are difficult to remove in large sections due to the weight of larger logs and restricted spaces to remove them. However, here are some cool ways that logs can be tree-cycled into better uses:

• Chairs or tables
• Using logs as soil retention catches topsoil runoff, which helps to diversify the habitat, plants and ultimately…the wildlife that exist in an area
• Logs used as steps up a trail
• Logscape planter
• Cookie walks
• Teepees

Finally, using logs for soil retention catches topsoil runoff, which helps to diversify the habitat, the plants, and ultimately the wildlife that exists in an area.

A tree lost in a South Texas storm became a carving story shared on the Internet.

Don`t trash it…tree-cycle it!


Editor’s Note: Arborilogical Services is serious about re-purposing the wood materials generated from pruning and removing trees. None of the woody material is taken to area landfills. The majority of it is converted into mulching material to be used in North Central Texas gardens and landscapes.  If you are interested in acquiring some of the shredded mulch generated from pruning and tree removals, contact your Arborilogical Services certified arborist or contact our office by phone or by service request from this website.

About the author

Mr. Steve Houser

Mr. Houser is a Dallas native with almost 40 years of experience as a consulting arborist and expert tree climber. He is the president and owner of Arborilogical Services, “The Experts Your Trees Deserve.”®

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