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felling now, processing later?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by pybyr, Feb 1, 2009.

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  1. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    Under the apparent theory that deciduous trees have the least amount of moisture in the wood after they lose their leaves and before they begin to emerge from dormancy for the next season--

    [see
    http://www.earthworksboston.org/articles/OCdormancy.htm
    pointed out to me by Lee of Lee's wood Co]
    [thanks, Lee]

    would I be smart to start dropping next year's firewood even though the snow is too deep to start limbing it, cutting it to length, or splitting it (at least for someone of my intermediate level of cutting experience- I realize that the pros work into and through the winter)

    my thinking is, that if the moisture levels are at their lowest right now, then even though the wood won't really be able to dry further until I cut it to length and then split it, if I cut it now, then it also won't gain back the moisture that apparently comes back up from the roots in preparation for and during the growing season?

    Thanks

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  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    If you leave the limbs on, there will be a flush of leaves in Spring that will draw out even more of the moisture. Some trees like Birch, you could score the bark lengthwise and it will start to recede and peel, speeding the drying.
  3. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Well if you can drop it now it'll store in log form a lot longer (years+) seeing there's very little moisture in the tree now.

    If the snow is as deep as you say I would give harvesting a bye for now. Since it sounds to me like you plan on C&Sing;it all up this spring anyway the seasoning advantage gained isn't that much compared to a personal injury. When you're falling a tree good foot control is vital...or you can be in a world of hurt. Stuff you don't think of ...just happens.
  4. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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  5. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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  6. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    I just snowshoed through the area where I cut my wood- it was a really nice afternoon and I wanted to get out anyway.

    Snow depth is approaching a full three feet in the middle of the woods where there are no drifts - and yeah, it'd be hard to move fast in snow that deep, or on snowshoes.

    You're right- the money and pollution I am saving by going off oil and with 100% wood will all go out the window if I perform an inadvertent self-amputation...

    but I guess it is an idea (felling before trees break dormancy) is an idea for me to keep in mind if there is ever a winter with little snow.
  7. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I think it will speed drying by a bit, and the wood does have less moisture in the winter from my observation. Leaving branches attached supposedly does speed drying a bit in the early stages, and I have seen buds open on downed wood, in costrast to BHV's protestation. maybe not full fledged leafing out, but continued growth for a period. This is most prominent, however, when it's very rainy and the tree gets moisture anyway (saw it this past year with a very rainy spring).
  8. bigoak9745

    bigoak9745 New Member

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    I agree. Drop them now and cut them up in the spring, then haoul and stack by summer. I go out every Feb. and cutr 4-6 trees taht I will use to go with the dead or windstorm ones. This has worked well.
  9. syd3006

    syd3006 Member

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    This sounds like an interesting idea that would be a good idea for me as I will be right out of seasoned wood by spring. The problem with it in my case is that portion of my property that I harvest wood on is in a river valley that is prone to flooding in the spring. The trees would be laying in water until the flooding recedes and also could be floated downstream. I would really like to get started on next winters wood but the head start I get could be offset by these other circumstances.
  10. DaveBP

    DaveBP Minister of Fire

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    Trevor, if you're really hot to get some dry wood for your new gassifier's next season and the snow is deep this winter, wait until they are just leafed out and then drop them. Let them lie there until the leaves are completely wilted, almost crunchy. That will dry them to less than winter MC, enough to make them split noticeably different. Biggest problem with this technique is it puts you out there with the blackflies. I usually try to get my wood done before blackflies but I rarely get anything done by my set schedule.

    I use to drop a bunch of trees and get back to them later. But you get involved in life and a while later you notice that those trees are down and waiting and certainly not getting any drier. Tree length wood rots faster than it can dry here in New England (I'm talking dry, not "it'll burn if you throw it on a bed of coals and keep the draft wide open"). I expect that last statement will generate some other opinions.

    Now whenever I can get out to them I drop a tree, pull it out with my Kubota and Farmi log winch (both 25 years old, well under half my age) and buck it and split it same day. One tree at a time most often. Keeps my workyard less cluttered. I put it from the splitter right into the tractor bucket and when the bucket is full, I drive it right over to my stack racks (pallets) and stack it. Old metal roofing goes on it when I'm done for the day. Rain never touches split wood and split wood doesn't very often touch the ground. I've found this the best way to get dry wood in the least time. It doesn't take any more work/cord than the other methods I've used for years. I work by myself exclusively and rarely in snow more than ankle deep.

    Hustle buns this year and get 2 years worth stacked. From next year on, cut firewood whenever it damned well pleases you and you'll stay ahead and burn that bone dry stuff for the rest of your life. You get spoiled.

    Enjoy your gasser, I'm looking forward to getting mine hooked up.
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