Tree Surgery Waste

 Timber
 Wood Chip
 Other

Tree Surgery tends to result in a fair bit of waste, but that doesn’t stop us from re-purposing it for other uses. This past week Butlers have been chipping up Christmas Trees to raise money for Sue Ryder. We’d like to share with you the journeys that tree chips and other waste might go through once they’ve been chopped off. There are lots of ways we can recycle these different tree parts – and you can even try some of them at home! So let’s launch into the different kinds of waste you’ll find, and what we can do with them.


Tree surgery waste will usually fall into one of three categories: timber, wood chip, and non-chippable waste. Timber is made from the trunks of trees and is usually classified as either softwood or hardwood. It goes through a number of processes to before it becomes used elsewhere. It begins with felling the tree, before transporting the trunk to a site where it can be debarked at cut to a desirable length. The wood is then seasoned to remove excess water so it can be properly prepared for market. Timber is particularly useful for construction, and is used in making everything from fences to buildings. Other trees which can’t be converted into useful timber will be made into logs to be kiln dried and delivered to customers as heating fuel.

Wood Chip

As part of our charity drive for Sue Ryder, Butlers were chipping down old Christmas trees and turning them into wood chip. Wood chips are made by putting trees through a machine called a wood chipper. It’s important to take the right safety precautions when doing so, since the machine can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Different sizes of wood chips are used for different applications, so it’s important to put tree waste through the right chipper for the application you want. Chips work great as fuel for biomass boilers as  well as material for composting. They’re also useful as mulch in landscaping, or animal bedding – truly they’re useful in all kinds of cases!


While the waste from trees can be usefully repurposed for a number of applications, materials like hedge trimmings or saw dust aren’t as versatile. That doesn’t mean you can’t used. Butlers have a composting machine in the yard which turns these products into a useful compost or garden mulch. This can even be used as fertilizer. It’s important to note that even the least-useful waste products can still have a purpose somewhere. The law is quite strict about tree waste, especially for tree surgeons, so we always make sure to clean up after ourselves – and it’s even better if we can put it all to good use somewhere else.

Is it even fair to call all these materials waste when there’s so many great uses for them? One of the greatest things about trees is in all the ways they can be recycled as something else. Next time you find yourself with some waste from gardening, think of all the ways it can be put to use, and make sure if you throw it out that you know it’s going to find a new purpose somewhere else.