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)

Dead standing wood, seasoned or not?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by sowers25, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. sowers25

    sowers25 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    69
    Loc:
    NE West Virginia
    I have been cutting some dead standing trees, mainly oak. I split it right away and am getting moisture readings of over 20%. How long should I expect to wait once it is all split, stacked, and covered before it will be dry enough to burn. Is there any way to speed up this process? Maybe stack inside the basement?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. certified106

    certified106 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,472
    Loc:
    Athens, Ohio
    Man that is a tough question to answer since there are many things that factor into whether the wood will dry quickly or not. How long was the oak dead standing, was the bark off of the wood? I have cut dead standing oak that was ready in three months and other dead standing wood took a year or two. Sorry I can't be much more help.
    PapaDave likes this.
  3. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    It depends on several factors.Tree species,size,location,how long tree has been dead,even time of year.I wouldnt stack it in the basement yet though,needs more air to it for it to dry faster.Outside would be best.

    I can drop one & everything under 7"diameter be bone-dry,,no bark,weathered silver grey,have long deep vertical cracks,.& sound like a baseball hitting a bat when 2 pieces are hit together.And be ready to burn immediately.Yet anything larger from same tree or a different dead tree 20 ft away the same size or smaller can be quite wet & need cut,split & stacked in a sunny,windy spot for anywhere from 3-4 to 12-18 months.

    IMO your eyes,nose,hands are a better moisture meter than you could ever buy.

    Nose - Does the wood have a strong smell?

    Eyes - Does it look 'wet' or darker like its been exposed to moisture?

    Touch- Does if feel 'cold' or wet to the touch?

    Weight - Even 'dead' wood that's still full of moisture will weigh almost as much as fully 'green' wood.

    When wood is near optimal humidity - under 18-20% these things wont be as noticeable.
    jackatc1 and Backwoods Savage like this.
  4. kennyl70

    kennyl70 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    46
    Loc:
    Missouri
    like the others.. it depends really. usually if its dead and standing you can get good burn right away outta the top and some of the upper main. I usually 2 part the dead standing, i drop it, top it and some of the main. then cut the rest of the lower and split and stack to dry, and again depending on the moisture,could be next years wood. or late late season. just have to feel it out and see.
    Standingdead likes this.
  5. swagler85

    swagler85 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Messages:
    1,195
    Loc:
    NE Ohio
    Great info above and one more thing, that will dry better outside in be wind than in the basement.
  6. kennyl70

    kennyl70 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    46
    Loc:
    Missouri
    if you have a way to cover it alittle outside by far. i would loose stack it outside for a bit anyway before i took it in. but thats just me.
  7. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,389
    Loc:
    Broadstone England
    I usually go looking for dead standing trees in late Spring, no leaves = dead in my books.

    Some dead standing trees c/s/s in small splits will be ready by the following winter (but not oak which still seems to need at least 2 years).

    Ash and cherry seem to be best for this treatment round here.
  8. Larry in OK

    Larry in OK Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Messages:
    103
    Loc:
    NE Oklahoma
    No, yes and maybe. I cut a bunch of standing dead and I get to cut a bunch of stuff that was dozed down a couple of years ago. On the standing dead Oak, depending on how long dead maybe the top 1/3, stuff 8-9" or less in diam. will be dry enough as measured with a MM. Even on stuff that dozed down even 2-3 years ago anything bigger than 8-9" won't be dry enough. I cut up one old Black Walnut that had been down long enough all the bark was gone and anything bigger than that was still showing 25% on my MM.
    On the other side, I cut up a monster Hackberry in early April that had washed out of a creek bank, my buddy had pushed it up on the level with his dozer and after only being C/S/S since then now shows as 13-15%.
  9. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
    I've cut dead standing spruce in mid summer .
    It burned good that fall.
    I think some was below 20% & burnable right away.

    I agree, it depends. weather, wood type, how long dead. Even
    what part, the top wood seems to be drier than the bottom.

    Dead standing birch here is rotten or punky. They don't stand log after dead.
    Not worth the bother to cut, but the bark is good fire starter.

    If you need wood right away, cut the dead standing & the top will be the driest.
    Pine, spruce (evergreen) dead standing are usually the driest & bunable soon or right away.
    Locust is another wood dead standing is pretty dry.
  10. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    The easiest way for me to know its dry it to have it cut/split at lest a full year before burning.
  11. Standingdead

    Standingdead Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    160
    Loc:
    Saratoga county, NY
    Just don't forget when taking down standing dead trees, it's a good idea to have your hard hat on. You will be surprised how many times you start cutting and a dead branch breaks off.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  12. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    The easiest way for me to know its dry it to have it cut/split at lest a full year before burning.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  13. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,716
    Loc:
    WNY
    We CSS a LOT of standing dead beetle kill pine (I'd say in the range of 50-60 trees, mostly scotch but some eastern white) earlier this season and very few even acted like pine (no sap to speak of). We ended up burning a few splits last burn season just to see how it would act. Not bad, but not as good as the box elder we've had CSS since last summer is burning now (that was NOT standing dead when cut). I'd say it's better to stack it, even for a few months, but some will probably burn ok right away.
  14. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    "Dead standing wood, seasoned or not?"
    YEP
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Good that you are getting the dead standing. We do the same here. How long to wait? I say wait a year. Stack in basement? Absolutely not! If you want it to dry the fastest, split it a bit smaller than you normally would and stack it loosely in a single row out where the wind will hit the stack of wood. This is how wood dries the best. Also, when I say stack it loosely, I would not stack it more than 4' high at most lest the stack tip over on you. Heck, nothing wrong with stacking 3' high either, but outdoors! Never indoors.

Share This Page