How to Determine the Value of Cedar Trees


Value of cedar trees depends fully on the application. Value for the landscape will be different from that of a tree that is to be cut into boards. Eastern red cedar will have more value than a Western cedar tree as far as board value. While value of a cedar tree for landscape may be subjective, pricing a cedar tree for boards is very straightforward. Use the board foot calculator in the Resources section to determine exactly how many board feet are in the trunk of the cedar tree.

Step 1

Run the tape measure up the side of the tree to a height of approximately 4 to 5 feet. This is the breast height for measuring the diameter of the tree. All trees are measured at this height for the diameter.

Step 2

Hold the tape measure horizontally to the tree's trunk at the 4- to 5-foot height. Measure the diameter of the tree by holding the zero end of the tape to one side of the tree trunk, and read the overall width of the tree. As an example, the trunk may have a width of 16 inches at this height.

Step 3

Deduct approximately 4 inches from the overall width of the 16-inch diameter cedar tree. This will equal 12 inches. Typically, this much will be cut off at the sawmill to make square boards. Understand that all trees are measured, for the most part, in 8-foot lengths. Also understand that a board foot is the way all boards are measured. One board foot is equal to a 12-inch-long piece of wood that is 1 inch thick and 12 inches wide.

Step 4

Use the calculator located in the Resources section. Enter 12 inches into the "Nominal thickness" section. Place 12 inches into the "Nominal width" box. Both of these measurements, 12 inches, equal what the size of the final square timber will be after it is cut on a sawmill.

Step 5

Enter the overall length of the board--this is commonly 8 feet. Note the total board footage is equal to 96 feet.

Step 6

Find the local cost of a cedar board foot price by consulting your local wood market through the agricultural extension service. Add this to the price box. The final answer will be the cost of that lumber from the tree.

Step 7

Understand that you may not receive the final cost of the finished boards for your value. You must take into consideration the cost of harvesting the cedar tree, hauling the log to the mill and the final cost for cutting the lumber. In most cases, sawmill operators know this cost and will be happy to relate the final value to you.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure


  • Purdue University: Landscape Tree Appraisal (PDF)
  • Iowa State University: Forestry Extension

Who Can Help

  • Missouri Extension Service: Board Foot Calculator
Keywords: cedar trees, red cedar, cedar boards

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.