Metro homeowners could get cash for some valuable trees growing in their yards

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Money is growing on some trees around the metro.

Homeowners can get some good money in exchange for a certain type of tree, but getting those trees out can cost more than you might think.

Larry R. Smith II knows the value of lumber. Through his company, L and K Hardwoods, which he started in 2011, he takes trees and turns them into works of art.

Some his best work, he said, is done with Black Walnut trees -- a tree that has significant value if it meets certain standards.

"You take a big walnut log. It could have a 1,000 to 1,200 board feet of lumber in it. You multiply that number by $6 or $8, and the potential there is a $6,000 to $8,000 log out of just one log," Smith II said. "It's a prized wood here in the Midwest. It's beautiful. It's one of the few woods that doesn't require any sort of stain on it."

Smith II said his company, and other reputable businesses, will pay home owners good money to safely cut down and harvest Black Walnut trees.

"People reach out to me asking if I buy walnut trees: 'I`ve got a walnut tree in my yard, and I`d like to cut it down. But I want to turn it into some furniture and make it a family heirloom,'" Smith II said.

Anthony Dooley, the owner of Dooley Brother Trees, said there are companies out there that have left metro families with a little cash and a big mess in their yards.

"We were called out earlier this year for somebody that said they wanted their trees to be harvested. They had multiple walnut trees on their property, they came out, and the harvester destroys their property. They took out multiple trees to get their equipment back to the walnut they were trying to harvest," he said.

Dooley's company has been called multiple times to clean up the mess left behind by unlicensed and careless harvesters. He urges home owners to do their homework before someone offers them cash for trees.

"Check insurance. Make sure they know what they`re doing, even talk to them. Ask them their process about what they are going to do. Ask about collateral damage. It's understandable that there is going to be some damage on the lawn and some brush removed, but make sure large trees that matter to you aren't going to get damaged. Make sure they are going to take care of your property. Make sure they are going to do what they say," Dooley said.

But before you make a call to get your tree cut down, Smith II said now every Black Walnut tree is made of money.

"The publicity walnut has gotten over the years -- people think just because they have a walnut log in their yard that they are sitting on a goldmine. But that's not always the case. Depending on the quality of the tree, it could be worth a lot of money or something that’s going to cost way more to bring down than it’s even worth," he said.

A tree's value varies from its size, width and the condition it's in. Experts will give homeowners estimates.