My wife and I have owned our property in northeast Georgia for almost 10 years. Our 100-acre property sits at the base of Wauka Mountain.
It wasn’t until one day while I was walking my property, that I noticed a tree that had a large growth on it. From then on, we always used it as a landmark to describe where we were on the property at any given time.
Not until much later when I was watching a TV show, did I find out this growth was worth something. I quickly learned that these strange growths are known as burls. The episode that was on that day featured people that were harvesting burls and selling them.
In doing some research, I found that scientists haven’t really determined why burls form on trees. Yet, many people think the odd bulges are the result of a stress caused by things such as infestation, fungus or physical damage. They can occur on any type of tree, but usually on older hardwood. And they can develop on any part of the tree, but most burls form on the bottom half of a tree’s trunk.
The real value in each burl is the beauty of the grain. Typically, the wood grain, the arrangement of wood fibers in a tree, runs one way. However, the wood grain inside burls can run many ways, creating beautiful designs that are highly sought after by woodturners.
Burls usually have the appearance of eyes or swirls in the grain. Depending on the direction you cut the burl, you will get a different, intricate design.
To give you an idea of a burl’s value, burl slabs go for as little as $10 and as much as $300 on eBay. However, the higher value starts to kick in when woodturners transform the burl slabs into different objects. These skilled craftsmen turn the beautifully and naturally designed burl slabs into items such as furniture, home decor, musical instruments and even use them for car interiors.
While I have no intention of cutting it down and selling it, I do consider it a true hidden gem on my property. I used to look at it as just a growth on a tree, but now, I look at it in a new light. I see it for its value, as a great conversation starter and the hidden beauty that lies within it.
If you have trees on your property, I encourage you to take a walk and search for these hidden treasures. It can even be a fun activity to do with your family! And if you’re in the market to buy a new property, make sure and keep an eye out for them. Who knows? You might make some money in the process!