Bows – Growing Straight Logs

Q: I have been building bows for five years and have had a hard time getting osage orange logs. I recently purchased some small osage orange trees so that I could grow them and harvest them later. What is the best method for growing them straight?

A: Art Morris, tree expert with Bartlett Tree Services, says if you’re strictly growing the trees for use as bow staves the best approach would be to stake them. Focus on keeping the trunk relatively straight while leaving the stakes loose enough for the trees to move in the wind. If the trees are staked too tightly they won’t develop the trunk taper (thickness) that is critical if the wood is to be used for bow making. Also consider removing or shortening lower limbs periodically to help maintain a clean trunk free from knots and defects, never removing more than 25% of the tree’s foliage in one year.

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