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Cut Down Dead (And Buggy) Trees - Seasoned Already?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by pmac, Jan 5, 2006.

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  1. pmac

    pmac Member

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    Hi...

    I'm not fortunate enought to live on a wooded lot, so we usually get our firewood delivered, however...

    ...we recently had two trees taken down in the yard, both of which had been pretty much dead for at least a year. One is a cherry, about 2' + in diameter at it's base. The other a hackberry, probably close to 3' in diameter at the base. Both trees, in some sections, had some serious bug damage, looks like carpenter ants, judging by the hundreds of dead bodies I see every time I split a log.

    Should this wood be seasoned, or is it already because it's been dead for awhile? And - perhaps a very dumb question - does it matter if I burn the pieces that are softened from the bug damage... and full of bugs?

    On a completely different note, found a web page I thought may be of interest here:

    http://zenstoves.net/Wood.htm

    Scroll a little past halfway down, an interesting table comparing various qualities of different types of firewood...

    thanks...

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  2. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    This is just my personal knowledge here. If it's been dead for a year branches are probably good to go. Probably. wood is like a candle wick...the trunk, being closer to the ground is most likely to be wet. I wouldn't know hackberry if it fell on me, so I don't know anything about it...but cherry I have burned in the past....even buggy stuff I let dry out better has burned VERY HOT and produced a great bed of coals. My dad took down an old apple tree last year and kept trying to get me to take home the wood. I kept putting it off and one of his neighbors came over and took it off his hands. Oh well. better that than have it go to waste.
    I'd start with the branches and work my way down.
  3. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Agreed...You'll need to season the wood. I have cut some oaks that have been dead a year and they're still wet 60 feet up.
  4. pmac

    pmac Member

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    I never heard of it either, until I got the quotes from the tree removal people...

    That sounds like a good idea... thanks!
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  6. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Dead oaks will rot standing where I live.

    Felled many dead trees and they all need to be seasoned.

    I split buggy wood in the winter. The insects are rather "sleepy", plus the Wrens have quite a feast.

    The bugs will become rather lively if you bring that wood inside, and let it warm up. I kinda like the popping noise the insects make as they explode.

    Cheers.
  7. pmac

    pmac Member

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    Yeah, I guess the last thing I should be doing is inviting in a pile of carpenter ants... bring it in as it's ready to be burned!
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    It all depends on the conditions. I think starting from the top and working your way down is a very good way to approach it.

    Technically, the wood is "seasoned," although it's often "wet." The difference between this wood and green wood is that dead wood will dry out a lot faster than green wood once you get it cut and split. Green wood needs to sit in a relatively dry place (cut and split) for about a year. Dead wood should be ready to burn a lot sooner than that--as soon as it feels light.

    As mentioned, some trees die and rot where they stand fairly quickly. It all depends on the circumstances. I consider solid standing deadwood to be a gift from the wood gods. It's uncommon where I cut (the Adirondacks), but very common where I grew up in central Wisconsin.
  9. pmac

    pmac Member

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    We hike a lot up in the Adirondacks (beautiful place)... and now that you have me thinking about it, I guess the only standing deadwood I've ever really noticed has been in the middle of areas flooded by beaver dams!

    Lots of blown over trees (esp. white birch) because of the shallow soil up there... but that's not quite the same thing...
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    We get some beech dieoff and some blowdown. Beech is excellent firewood, but I've noticed that it rots very quickly once it dies. Yellow birch is subject to pocket die-off as well. It rots out even more quickly, although the bark remains intact so you can't tell until you make a cut whether the tree contains any solid wood. The short answer is: almost never. Down in the south central Adirondacks where I am, we have no white birch or oak. The preferred firewood species are beech, hard maple and yellow birch.
  11. bruce56bb

    bruce56bb New Member

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    mac, we've a lot of hackberry around here and it is "ok" wood,not as good as oak or locust. i would rank it just below ash. have fun splitting it as it is very stringy. to me it is very easy to identify by its bark, on the younger trees the bark is almost like warts and on the older trees it is flaky in similar shape of locust. also, hackberry can be burnt green.
  12. pmac

    pmac Member

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    Yep. Most of the white birch I've seen up there was in the High Peaks region. Lots blown down a couple years ago, I guess, in a strong, very local, microburst...
  13. pmac

    pmac Member

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    You're not kidding; I was splitting some yesterday and had to pull a lot of splits apart by hand because of all the "strings"...
  14. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Not to mention the big ice storm they got in the late '90s. It missed us by about 50 miles, but devastated the forests in the high peaks region. They won't recover for decades.
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