Cut down 3/29/15
From a 5" shoot, now 35 " tall when this pic taken on 4/15/15---- 2 1/2 weeks after cutting
Advice excerpts from John Waggoner, USA Today: click to read entire article!
Three investment lessons from the trees
II. Invest in timber for the long term.
GMO LLC, a respected Boston money manager, periodically issues a forecast for various types of investments over the next seven years, adjusted for inflation. Their most recent outlook is fairly gloomy: U.S. large-company stocks will lose 2% a year, and high-quality stocks will gain just 0.5% a year.
The standout: Timber, which GMO forecasts will gain 4.8% a year, after inflation.
III. You need a lot of patience – and land – to make money growing timber on your own.
High-quality hardwood, such as walnuts, can fetch high prices. Why not skip making an IRA contribution this year and plant a couple of walnut trees instead?
And that's an interesting thought. Greger points out, however, that timber is no sure thing. You'll have to be on guard against fire, insects and the occasional beaver. And you'll have to trim the trees to grow straight and tall – otherwise, it will be hard to cut a good-sized log out of that.
And you'll need time. More common pine, the kind you make two-by-fours out of, grow about 10% each year up to age 50, almost doubling in volume and value every 7 years. You usually need a 10-inch log to sell for logs, which are far more valuable for pulp.
As for walnut: You'll need about 60 to 80 years to get the right color and grain for prime veneer. So they'd be better investment for your grandkids' college than for your own retirement. And your biggest expense will be hiring someone to cut them and haul them to market, Greger says. "You might not be paid very much for that tree."
So you can learn a great deal from lumber, and, with the right investments, actually make some money. But the best return you can get from your own trees is to walk outside on a spring morning and see them in bloom.