How can I reuse or recycle pruned Catalpa wood?

We’ve had another email from friend of Recycle This, Petra:

I need your help again. I hope I can explain the topic well, because I’m not used to discuss garden items in English.

We have a Catalpa tree in our garden, which produces every year a lot of new branches. The year after, in March, you need to prune all these new
branches to make room for the new ones. My question is, what can I do with all these old branches. Of course I can burn them in the fireplace, but the wood grew fast and burns fast.

I was thinking about braiding a fence, like they do with willow branches, but I’ve no idea if Catalpa branches can be used for something like that. All other ideas are also welcome.

I hadn’t heard of a Catalpa tree so wondered if they are something that doesn’t grow in the UK – but apparently the oldest one in the world is in Reading so I’m not only wrong, I’ve been wrong for 150 years. Shows what I (don’t) know.

Apparently pioneer farmers in the US used Catalpa farmers to make “strong, lightweight rot-resistant fence posts” so I guess they could be used for some small structural purposes. I’m not sure whether it would be suitable for weaving like hazel or willow though – it might snap when it dries – anyone know?

It’s also supposed to be good for woodworking because it has an interesting grain – but I think you’d be limited on what you could make from year old wood (crochet hooks? sculptures of single strands of spaghetti?).

Any other suggestions for ways to use the wood?

Related Categories

garden, items

Search for other related items

3 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle pruned Catalpa wood?”

  1. Melinda says:

    Some people stick branches in the ground in the garden to support peas. Perhaps they could be used for this. Pea brush, I’ve heard it called.

  2. It just wouldn’t make great baskets, since it’s relatively brittle. I don’t see why it couldn’t be woven into fence panels, especially if you have new material to make repairs every year.

  3. Alice says:

    I think someoe else recently asked what they could use to make plant labels? I use a stick (and these sound great if they don’t rot easily), shave a flat bit at one end, and write on the shaved bit with a CD marker pen.

    BTW Small sticks are pretty good for kindling, even if they burn fast. Maybe you’d get through them if you had a big outdoor bonfire and just used a big pile of these under the rest of the wood to get it going?

Leave a Reply

Your name
Your email (it will not be published. If you want people to contact you, leave your email address in the message too.)
Your website (if you've got one)