1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Cutting dead standing trees?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Reckless, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. Reckless

    Reckless Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Messages:
    254
    Loc:
    Orange county, NY
    Whats a good rule of thumb for cutting up trees that have been down for a while or dead trees still standing? I just bought my house and there are down oak all over the place and some solid dead ones still standing that you can tell have been there a while. I cut one up today and the inside still seems hard and it split nice but the bark is all slimey under and has a little white substance (mold?) Still safe to burn right? I will be peeling the bark before burning of coarse since its basically falling off when I split it. Thanks guys and girls!! Im guessing as long as the wood isnt mush inside its good.......

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. arngnick

    arngnick Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2013
    Messages:
    244
    Loc:
    Mansfield, PA
    If the wood is hard...BURN IT :)
    PA Fire Bug likes this.
  3. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,081
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Once you get the wood bucked up, split, stacked and under cover the slime and mold will go away . . . cut away.
  4. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Messages:
    5,498
    Loc:
    Southern IN
    The sap wood on Oaks goes bad pretty fast, especially on down wood, but the heart will last a long time. I've got a cat stove and I don't like to burn a lot of punky wood through it. I don't know for sure if burning those micro-organisms diminishes the functioning of the cat much, if at all; At worst I would just have to simmer the cat in the vinegar/water solution to remove any chemical masking that might occur. I plan to do that at the end of every season anyway, so no biggie. That said, I sawed a bunch of punk off of some Cherry rounds that I split and stacked over the last couple days. It took a lot of time, but I couldn't help myself. ;lol
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Hey Reckless, we have some white oak that had been down at least 10 years and it all was touching ground. In fact, all of it had sunk into the ground some. Just a little bit of punk but lots of good hard wood there yet.

    Rule of thumb says run a saw at least half way through it. You'll know if there is any good wood in there or not because if it punk that saw will cut like a knife through soft butter.

    Rule of thumb for those standing dead. BEWARE!!! Sure, it can be great firewood but those trees can also be killers. You have to know what you are doing before sawing one down or be very, very lucky. Nobody on this forum can tell you what to do on cutting those down without being right there to see it up close and live. Any other recommendations on cutting the standing trees down is just generalities and you need specifics.

    Good luck.
    nrford, BobUrban, Thistle and 2 others like this.
  6. Reckless

    Reckless Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Messages:
    254
    Loc:
    Orange county, NY
    Thanks for all the great feed back guys!! Yea I have about 3 standing dead trees (well two now) they are completely limbed by nature, no more than 10-15 ft tall and dont seem to pose an immediate threat, but always super cautious when cutting down any tree. As for punkyness, all the rott seems to be in the top half leaving me with 8 ft of solid oak to split up and burn. Hopefully taking these down wont make the wood peckers turn towards my house looking for food :eek: man Ive never see such big woodpeckers till I moved here (mid-eastern NY).
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Sounds like you might have the pileated woodpeckers then. They can get really big. Not sure if they are a protected bird or not but think they are at least in some areas. We enjoy seeing them and was happy when they finally moved into our area.
  8. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
    Down or standing dead trees seem to be drier wood.
    Will still need to be CSS & dry out more but they seem to dry a lot faster than green wood.
  9. Reckless

    Reckless Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Messages:
    254
    Loc:
    Orange county, NY
    I believe you are correct, black with red heads and a hint of white. Man these things are monsters!! Nature is a beautiful thing, now lets go fire up the chainsaws!! j/k ;)
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  10. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2010
    Messages:
    1,553
    Loc:
    Central Michigan
    Big old oaks - dead or alive - often are hollow in the center and pose a great deal of threat when felling. As mentioned, just be careful.

    Regarding the downed stuff I will repeat the formentioned that there is often a lot of good wood in there although oak punks out fast on the outside(sap wood) the heart of the tree is good heat. I cut a cord like that this winter that had been down at least 6 years.
  11. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,920
    Loc:
    southern ontario
    Can't mistake a pileated for anything else. Very distinctive call that it almost always makes when flying. Looks like a small flying dinosaur. Swoops a bit..maybe I should say undulates. Anyway, doesn't fly level. Sounds like a jack hammer when pecking. And makes absolutely monster holes in the trees. They will come back to the same tree for months/years so are easy to observe. Stay far enough away so they can be hard to get good photos of. Years ago had a baby on the ground in front of my kitchen. Last year had the oldest one I've ever seen in my garden. We have a number living on out property. Sometimes see three on the same tree.
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    images.jpg
    rideau likes this.
  13. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,920
    Loc:
    southern ontario
    He's really light gray. Mine are very black. Looks little, too. Is that a juvenile? Nice picture. I bet all the dead ash has attracted them, if you haven't had them previously.
  14. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Messages:
    5,498
    Loc:
    Southern IN
    They are the Monster Maul of woodpeckers. ==c
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    That picture is was not at our place. I agree that ours is more black too. And I too have wondered if it is all the dead ash that brought them here as we've only had them since the ash started dieing.
  16. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    Messages:
    1,359
    Loc:
    Shenandoah Valley, VA

    See if they nest in one and try to leave it if you can. Love seeing those guys - they have a cool flap / drop like a stone/ fighter jet turn at last second flying style. Had one tearing up some locust borer larvae in my stacks recently.

Share This Page