The Best and Worst Seasons to Search for Burl Wood?

The Best and Worst Seasons to Search for Burl Wood?

28th Apr 2021

burl wood

In 2020, the average Americans spent 14 hours a week outside. What else was there to do? We all picked up new hobbies in search of sustainable leisure.

If you turned to woodworking, you are no doubt in search of burl wood. It is some of the most sought-after lumber due to its grain patterns.

What is it, and when is the best time to look for it? Read this handy guide to burl wood and find out.

What Is Burl Wood?

No two pieces of lumber are the same. Each has a unique grain, and woodworkers love to find these grains for their projects. It's how the pieces stand out.

Burl wood is the most unique. Burls form when a fungus or other irritant infects a tree. The tree protects the infected area by growing knotty, warty tissue around it.

These knots and bumps create fascinating grain patterns carpenters love to use for inlays, table-tops, and furniture. Burl wood decor is sought after and expensive due to its look and scarcity.

When Should You Harvest Burls?

Burls are often called "pearls of the woods." Though they look unsightly on the trees that line your property, know that you can turn them into something beautiful over time. You can also sell them for a tidy profit.

Winter Is Best for Cutting

Try not to trim burl from a live tree unless you are ready to use the whole tree. Cutting a burl from a tree still alive might kill it.

That said, it is possible to harvest smaller burls from live trees if you do it during the right time of year. Bleeder trees, like maple, birch, and elms, drip a tremendous amount of sap from their wounds.

Because of this, it is best to harvest in late fall or early winter. Trees are dormant this time of year, and the sap is less plentiful.


Should you decide to harvest a small burl from a live tree, make sure to cover the wound to help it heal. Tree tar or even latex paint should provide enough protection to keep the tree free from harmful bacteria or fungus.

Poaching Burls Is Illegal

Seeing burls in the woods is a glorious experience for any carpenter, but you cannot cut them without permission. Though lumber prices currently soar, with futures rising 85%, poaching burls is unlawful.

Be wary of burls not cut from the center of the pith. These are too often illegally harvested with unsustainable practices. Have patience with your burl projects.

Harvest Burls in Fall and Winter

If you are a woodworker, nothing is more exciting than spotting a burl. The intricate grain makes any project unique.

When harvesting, remember to do so in the late fall and early winter when the tree is dormant. If you can, use the whole tree for more sustainable lumber practices.

Global Wood Source is family-operated and specializes in unique and exotic lumber. Contact us before you begin your next piece for the finest wood around.

Global Wood Source is a family-owned and operated lumber yard and mill specializing in exotic woods from around the world and rare domestics. We personally acquire and inspect each piece of log and timber obtained from forests and jungles worldwide.