9 Best Fallen Oak Tree Uses (And What To Do With Them)

Old fallen oak tree in autumn forest

One of the most popular trees out there, oaks are a fixture throughout the many wooded areas of the world. It’s no wonder that these trees pop up so often, whether you see them as young trees beginning to grow in a developing neighborhood or as ancient beings with hundreds of years of life experiences behind them.

Oak trees typically fall due to old age, wind, or lightning strikes. Typically, you can still use most fallen oak tree wood on your property! The best fallen oak tree uses include cutting the wood for firewood, turning the oak wood into mulch, and using the wood for creative landscaping.

So, without further adieu, let’s discuss what to do with a fallen oak tree if it so happens to fall in your area. Are you ready? We are! Let’s get into the 9 BEST fallen oak tree uses and what to do with them. 

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What Is An Oak Tree? 

The massive and old angel oak tree in south carolina

Oak trees have around 500 subspecies of trees and shrubs that are distributed throughout the world. 

These trees contain both female and male flowers, which reproduce to create an acorn, the ‘oak nut’ which acts as the seed of the tree. 

There are so many types of oaks, each of which is good for different things. Both red and white oaks (the two main categories that subspecies fall into) are commonly used for lumber when cut down, producing furniture and flooring while also being used in millwork, construction, and more. 

If you wish to grow your own oak tree for aesthetic or practical purposes, something like these Red Oak Tree Seeds from CZ Grain could help get you started!

What happens when the oak tree is not intentionally cut down for use but falls for whatever external reason? 

We’ve got you covered! Let’s dive into what you should do when a tree first falls on your property. 

What Do You Do With A Fallen Tree In Your Yard?

One of the first things you’ll want to do when dealing with a fallen tree is inspected the wood of the tree. It’s important to know that you cannot necessarily repurpose every tree. Some factors might render the wood unusable, unfortunately. 

For example, if a fallen tree ends up having been infested by insects or disease, the wood will likely be rotten, brittle, or both. This weak wood will be poor to use, especially if you were hoping to create furniture or any other weight-bearing pieces from it. 

If you are creating nicknacks, you may be able to recover some sections of wood to use for more craft-based purposes. This should be done at your discretion, and with the understanding that the wood may not be as easily worked with as you might hope. 

It can be disheartening to have to completely lose a tree and not be able to repurpose its wood, but sometimes it is worth the loss to avoid further issues or injury down the road with wood that is not reliable.

If you believe that your tree may have fallen due to pest or fungus damage, you could do a little research by reading similar articles from us such as 5 Animals & Insects That Eat Oak Leaves, or 6 Simple Tips To Prevent And Remove Oak Tree Fungus to learn more!

9 Amazing Fallen Oak Tree Uses

From furniture to home decor, functionality to aesthetics, reusing wood from fallen oak trees can serve as an environmentally conscious, cost-effective way to spruce up any area. 

If you have a fallen tree, it’s time to spring into action and make use of the wood while it’s still relatively fresh. After a while, you may not have a choice between leaving the tree to nature and using it for yourself- animals move quickly, too!

Here are 9 of the best ways that you can use the wood of fallen oak trees.

Cut Fallen Oak Into Firewood

A stack of beautiful wood. Firewood chopped and ready for the kindling of the fireplace lie beautifully. Natural energy

Looking for a simple, not super time-consuming, way to get a fallen tree taken care of while still reaping the benefits of all your newly gained access to completely free oak wood? 

Chop the wood up and get yourself tons of firewood. Depending on the size of the tree, the temperature of your location, and the frequency that you have fires- this firewood has the potential to last you for quite a long time. 

Also dependent upon the type of equipment and experience you have, you might hire someone to help you break the tree up into pieces that have a firewood-sized width or length. Use an ax (or a woodcutter, this is easier if you have access to one) to break those pieces up into little logs that will fit into a bonfire or a fireplace and burn evenly. 

If you want to invest in a great tool for cutting up wood, you could get something like this INTERTOOL 35-Inch Splitting Maul.

One thing to consider, that the University of Kentucky reminds us of, is that your firewood will need to dry out. You can’t just chop up a fallen tree and throw it into the fire- this will create smoke and your fire is likely to fizzle out in a hazy plume. 

If you have access to a kiln, you could very quickly speed up the drying process. Most likely, you will just need to practice some patience and plan on using this firewood next year.

Fresh firewood pieces will take anywhere from 6 months to a year to dry out. Hey- we said that chopping the firewood wouldn’t take super long, this is a whole different part of the process!

Store your firewood until it can be used, mindful of the fact that a tarp can be placed over the stacks of wood to ensure that no more moisture gets into it. 

Finally, enjoy nice nights outside roasting marshmallows, or a cozy evening in front of the fireplace with some movies. Either way, this is a relatively simple method to handle a fallen oak tree that is practical and fun- all in one!

If you’re interested, take a look at our guide: 10 Best Oak Trees for Firewood Ranked to learn more about the best oak firewood!

Create Furniture That Is Eco-Friendly And Unique From Fallen Trees

You don’t have to burn the wood that you cut down. 

If you have any experience or are committed to learning how to woodwork- this could be the perfect opportunity for you!

You could build a set of patio chairs that reflect the transformation of your tree while allowing it to stay in your backyard, or on your property somewhere. 

If your home has more of a rustic feel, or you’re hoping to incorporate your fallen oak tree into the interior where it can remain well-preserved, perhaps a rocking chair or lounging chair in the corner would be a better fit. 

While there are many factors, from sanding to staining, that take place as the furniture itself is being built- you can be sure that you will have a piece that not only looks great but is also a fun conversation topic. 

Maybe you prefer to keep it simpler (and less weight-bearing) and build a little slanted shelf that could hold a few books or some blankets in your living room. 

Whatever furniture you pick will be unique, and authentically yours, bringing nature and your old tree and turning them into something that you can continue to use and appreciate.

You get to know where your wood was sourced from while making all other decisions about everything from design to comfort and where you want to display your newest furniture piece (or pieces, if you’re feeling ambitious.)

Create Other Unique Household Items With Fallen Oak Trees

Did you think it was just furniture you could make out of your fallen oak tree? No way!

So, what else could you make, in that case?

Let’s talk about a few of the unique household items you’d be able to create using your fallen oak tree’s wood.

Oak Coasters

You could create some really beautiful yet functional pieces by cutting some branches into little cylinders that are ½ inch to an inch in height.

Sand them and treat them however you see fit, and voila! You’ve got yourself some coasters that are great for a coffee table, or wherever else in your home drinks tend to get placed on bare surfaces. 

These coasters will go together, of course, but will each vary in a way that makes them fun and unique. No cookie-cutter pieces here!

Oak Tree Cutting Boards

Speaking of ‘cutting’, you could make some wonderful cutting boards out of this wood. 

Perhaps you just want one, or maybe you’ll decide to create a 5-piece set of different-sized cutting boards that can be used on all occasions. Say goodbye to plastic cutting boards and hello to durable yet-replaceable ones that should last you quite some time.

Oak Picture Frames

Looking for something that can be a bit more purely decorative? We’ve got you!

What could be better than a photo of you and a loved one, or some beautiful landscape, or a degree, surrounded by natural oak wood that frames it? The oak wood frames you use on a photo fall in your entryway may be what draws your guests’ eyes at first, but your photos will quickly become the stars of the show- as they should be. 

This is a fun way to add an extra touch to the already-personal elements of your home. 

Oak Candleholders

Are you a candle lover but tired of the same old wax warmers or little glass jars that candles come in? Add some oak wood!

Whether you opt to cut a small piece of wood (from an oak branch that is about the width of a standard drinking glass) and hollow it out far down enough to fit your favorite candle, or you simply want to sit a tea-light or candle atop a piece of oak, you will soon forget about your boredom with the old candle holders you’ve been using.

These are all great ways to add some decor to your home all while maintaining a common look and theme. Oakwood is beautiful and can be used in so many ways, including some that we haven’t yet mentioned. 

That being said, let’s continue- shall we?

Make Hanging Wall (Or Mantel Piece) Decor With Fallen Oak

If little things sitting around your house stress you out, you can opt for decor that is a little more eye-level. 

Beyond picture frames hanging on walls, you could also hang an interesting-looking piece of oak wood as a centerpiece above the focal point of a room. (Extra points if the wood looks at all like driftwood or is curved uniquely.) 

Not only would this draw the eye of anyone you invite over, but it can also be a special way to commemorate a tree that has fallen but was once important to you for any reason. 

Maybe your kids climbed the tree every day after school, or it was planted after a wedding, or you just really loved reading in the shade of its branches on hot summer days. 

No matter what the backstory may be, you can keep a piece of any special tree with you even after it has fallen.

Turn Fallen Oak Wood Into Woodchips Or Mulch

Mulch background

Take a note from the University of Florida and go ahead and turn some of your leftover oak tree pieces into mulch!

Spreading this organic mulch around your other plants- from trees to flowers to the garden vegetables you’re growing- will help to support them. While your oak tree may be gone, it is far from finished with its work in your landscaping. Now, it just helps you out in a different way.

Instead of paying all that money to buy bags of mulch each year, you could rent a wood chipper and call it a day! 

If you see yourself doing this task more often in the future, you may want to invest in something like this Sun Joe Electric Silent Wood Chipper.

Any machinery and equipment should be mindfully operated and carefully used, of course.

Fallen Oak Can Make Great Outdoor Chairs And Tables

If you are not keen to use fallen oak wood to build chairs that go indoors, we get it! That doesn’t mean, however, that you cannot still repurpose this wood into furniture that gets used in the great outdoors. 

Just think of hosting a backyard party and getting to tell your friends or relatives that the chair they are sitting in, or the piece of wood acting as a side table, or the little outdoor coffee table, was made from that tree that blew over in the storm a while back. 

Not only is this environmentally conscious and a great way to repurpose a free and available resource, but it is also cool!

Use Oak Pieces As Decorations

Whether this looks like planning for a rustic-themed event or simply adding some character into the design of your home, pieces of wood in any shape or size are great additions to areas where you have already decorated. 

Fallen Oak Pieces At Events 

For example, if you are planning an anniversary dinner, you might gather some pinecones, needles, and other leaves to put in clear vases while sitting candles on top of little wooden coasters. These can be cut directly from branches and you can vary the size so that the look is cohesive without looking like you bought matching wood cylinders from your local craft store. 

Add an old book or some dried flowers and boom, you’ve got yourself a creative and fun centerpiece that has real thought put into it. 

Another great way to use elements that tie in an oak tree is to decorate your centerpieces with acorns and use them as additional decorations!

Fallen Oak Pieces At Home

Trying to figure out what you can do to freshen up your entry table or the alcove near your dining area? 

You can take a similar idea from the event options, and shift it into something fitting for a home decor scenario. Maybe a little less ‘centerpiece-focused’ and a little more ‘spread out throughout your home’, for example.

Do you have a bowl where your keys go once you walk in the door? Sit that on a thin but wide cylinder of wood, and place a taller but thinner (from further down the branch) piece of oak wood next to that centerpiece. 

If you want to get fancy, carve a little circular section from the top of that taller wood piece and sit a tealight into it. You can use an electric one, in the name of fire safety!

Feeling extra bold? Maybe you take a piece of the trunk or one of the largest branches (if the tree was quite mature) and turn it into a bedside table, an end table by a couch, or a statement piece by the front door where you throw your mail from time-to-time. 

The possibilities for incorporating wood as decor in your home are endless, and we know that you will do something super cool!

Use Fallen Oak For Creative Landscaping

Growing herbs and vegetables, including tomatoes, in a small victorian kitchen garden

Keeping with the theme from a few ideas up about using some of the oak wood to create mulch, you could also always use parts of your tree as a landscaping element that is a bit more obvious. 

Line a flower bed with evenly-sized pieces of wood (cut from a medium-sized branch, for example.) Who needs rocks, anyway? These wood pieces can help prevent erosion of the soil and mulch in your flower bed while also creating a unique, fun, visual effect.

To protect yourself while moving around these pieces in your yard, you may want to put on something like these Ironclad General Utility Work Gloves.

Let Critters Live In Fallen Trees

The bird spots the owl in a tree hole.

Fallen trees can be the perfect habitat for many little creatures, from chipmunks and squirrels to raccoons and red foxes. If you have a large property and feel comfortable leaving your tree to the land you’ll create less work for yourself while providing a potential new habitat to some woodland critters. It’s a win-win if your area is appropriate for this.

Especially if you are someone that would love to be creative but just does not have the time, or if you have no interest in using the wood for anything personal. These ideas are all great, but they aren’t for everyone. 

Leaving a tree to go back to the earth is the most natural way to do it and, as long as disease or infestation is not a factor, this can be so deeply beneficial for the area around where your tree once stood.

Naturally, of course, this is just one of the amazing ways how oak trees help the environment. You can read more in our piece: 7 Amazing Ways Oak Trees Help The Environment.

That’s A Wrap!

Now that we have shared some amazing ways that you can make use of your fallen oak tree, it’s time for you to put them to the test!

So, get your saw, your ax, your hammer and nails, your wood stain, and anything else that you could need to create all of the best pieces for inside your house and out.

Remember, these are only some of the amazing uses for fallen oak trees. Get creative, and let us know if you come up with any more. This is all a new part of your tree journey, and we just hope that these ideas spark something in you- whether it be creative, functional, or both. 

The fact that a tree falls is never ideal, but the loss of your tree does not have to mean the loss of all that it has to offer. 

Like nature itself, trees can provide some pretty unexpected gifts if you take the time and effort to search for them. Plus, all that free wood should get some use out of it- do you know how much all that firewood, or a new chair, or some end tables, would cost at the store?!

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to learn more about oak trees, check out our fun article: 32 Incredible Facts About White Oak Trees.

References:

Bugalho, M. N., Caldeira, M. C., Pereira, J. S., Aronson, J., & Pausas, J. G. (2011). Mediterranean cork oak savannas require human use to sustain biodiversity and ecosystem services. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment9(5), 278-286. 

Julyus, P. (2019, November). inland waterways transportation interior decor laminated wood layout LEAN. In Nautical and Maritime Culture, from the Past to the Future: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Nautical and Maritime Culture (Vol. 3, p. 219). IOS Press.

Robinson, S. C., Tudor, D., MacDonald, G., Mansourian, Y., & Cooper, P. A. (2013). Repurposing mountain pine beetle blue wood for art through additional fungal colonization. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation85, 372-374.

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