we buy SAPLINGS 

GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS: applies to Full-Length Saplings as well as Pieces Cut-To-Length.

Saplings cut after leaves are off and before bark starts to slip. We accept poles between October 1 and January 1.

Species: Hardwoods only: Hard or soft maple, cherry, hop hornbeam, beech, white oak, black or yellow birch. No white or grey birch, red oak, ash, basswood, poplar, striped maple, or softwoods.

Freshly cut trees only: less than three weeks old.

Clean bark: no dirt, ice or snow.

No skidding damage.

No dead wood.

Branches removed without damage to the trunk.                                   

Ends cut square. 


Size: Base: no more than 3“ diameter. Tip must be cut at 1-5/8" dia.  

Length: The whole tree between 3” and 1-5/8" no matter the length.   

Sweep: Must not exceed diameter. Bends and crooks must be minimal.

A $15.00 pole is over 25’ long and very straight. These come from a slow-growing forest with competition for light.  When they occur they are ash, hard maple, or black birch. Most soft maples are between $6.50 and $7.50. We will pay $4.00 for a slightly wiggly 15’-18’ pole with down to a 2-1/4” base diameter. Less than this we cannot use.                     


Pre-cut poles may be easier for you to transport to us, and will bring you a little more financial return. Transforming raw saplings into usable yurt parts is called ‘tree straightening,’ because a person with a good eye can get straight wood out of moderately crooked trees. This involves cutting at natural bend points and choosing pieces for appropriate structural members based upon size and shape. Of course, most saplings are too crooked, and should be left in the woods where they will straighten as they grow into full-size trees. The specs below must be followed carefully! Pre-cut poles are either Lattice or Rafters:


Length: 82”  +/- 1/4”.  Diameter must be NO LESS than 2” and NO GREATER than 3”. Sweep must not exceed one half the diameter. Lattice pieces are used to build the ‘baby gate’ wall around the yurt. They must be very straight as each piece will be split in half. Quality lattice will come from the lower parts of straight-growing trees. We have almost limitless need for these. $5.50 each. 


Length:140”  +/- 1/4”. Base must be between 2-1/4" and  2-3/4”. Tip must be between 1-3/4” and 2-1/4”. They may wiggle a little, but the overall direction of growth must maintain a single orientation. The sweep must not exceed the diameter. Rafter pieces will typically come from slightly higher up than Lattice pieces. $5.75 each.

We also buy large quantities of  105” ($4.50) and 85” ($3.00) rafters. Same tolerances.


We recommend you bring a dozen or so first, as folks often either leave a lot of perfectly good stuff lying on the ground in the woods; or they aren’t careful enough with sweep or diameter or length, and we hate to disappoint you after you get here with all your hard work. That said, if you’re aware of this and you follow the specs carefully, you should be ok.


Two Girls Yurts

(603) 499-2568



Red oak is super strong, of course. I've found that if unpeeled, the outer 1/8" will get powder post beetles. Maybe only 20% of the pieces. You can hear them overhead in the night, and there will be little piles of sawdust on the floor. Will they eventually eat through the rafter? I doubt it, unless your yurt is abnormally moist year-round. Peeling the poles will allow them to dry out quickly (and maybe also remove the beetles' camoflauge). Interestingly, ripping the lattice in half isn't enough: peeling the bark side of the lattice is neccessary to stop them.

Our local (quaking) aspen is basically celery. Easy to bend in two and break, and super wet. My test for any lattice lath piece is to try to break it: if I can, it goes on the burn pile. Aspen does dry pretty hard though, if you can keep it straight during the drying process. The biggest problem is getting it to dry without sprouting fungi, and it's also very susceptible to rot later on too. It's just too humid in our climate to trust aspen.

White birch, by the way, is much stronger than aspen, and not as wet. We use it for yurt frames that need to be peeled anyways, such as ones that will be taken down every year (it's just easier with peeled poles). Yellow and Black birch work great without peeling. I haven't run across any grey birch that is straight enough for yurt building.

You can use softwood. I size things up a little: maybe add 1/4" to the specs. The interesting thing is that at diameters under 1-1/2" a spruce/fir is still quite straight (New England hardwoods are not, as they jog left and right to support their branches). This means that you can use them for lattice without ripping in half. Down to about 1". Definitely have to peel softwoods, though. The bark is rougher, and harbors many more boring insects.