How to Reuse Magnolia Wood From a Dead Tree


Magnolia wood has many potential uses, but wood from a tree killed by insects, disease or rot may be useful only as firewood. A healthy magnolia tree brought down by a storm, on the other hand, yields a cream-colored hardwood suitable for making boxes, bowls, furniture or woodwork. The U.S. Forest Service classifies magnolia timber in two categories: lumber and veneer.

Things You'll Need

  • Ax or chainsaw
  • Wood chipper
  • Chop down the dead magnolia tree with an ax or chainsaw. If the tree was not diseased, cut smaller limbs and chip them for composting or mulch. Limbs 4 inches in diameter or larger may be cut, split, stacked in 2-foot lengths, seasoned for a year and used for firewood.

  • Examine the magnolia's trunk wood for holes caused by insects and for signs of rot. If the wood is too damaged, it may still be split and seasoned for firewood or burned outdoors. Take insect-damaged wood into the house only when you're ready to use it as firewood.

  • Cut the trunk into any lengths you desire, depending on what you want to make, if the wood is in reasonably good condition. Place the blocks of wood in a low-humidity environment and allow the wood to dry completely before working with it. Working with fresh-cut wood leads to cracking and splitting. Unless you have access to a kiln, this process takes as long as seasoning firewood.

  • Drill holes into the magnolia stump, fill them with slow-release fertilizer and cover the stump with 2 to 4 inches of topsoil if it's too big to dig out. The gradual process of decay will be hastened and the stump will release nutrients into the soil.

Tips & Warnings

  • Magnolia is classified as a medium-heavy hardwood and is considered easier to work with than oak, maple and cherry. Items made from magnolia wood should be stained or painted for best results.
  • Don't allow magnolia wood to season indoors if the wood is insect- or disease-infested. As the wood dries, insects will look for another home, and fungus will release spores into indoor air.

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