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has anyone heard that burning Russian Olive is toxic?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by ilmbg, Jul 7, 2009.

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  1. ilmbg

    ilmbg New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
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    Loc:
    Wyoming/Montana border very dry, very cold
    I was told that burning Russian Olive was toxic- I don't remember if I had ever burned any before.
    What is your take on this?

    Thanks.

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Do a search here for "Russian olive". Looks like a lot of people have burned it but I don't remember anybody talking about toxicity.
  3. JoeyD

    JoeyD Minister of Fire

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    South Jersey
    Being a woodworker when I not burning the stuff I have to ask where are you located? That stuff might make some nice turnings. You might look into selling it and using the money to buy some other cr@#p to burn. ;)

    I know I would be interested.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I hate that stuff and it seems to be cropping up all over the countryside around here.
  5. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I haven't heard about anything like this, not that I have done any research on the subject. It seems unlikely to me that Russian Olive produces anything more toxic than any other wood if burned properly (dry wood in a hot stove), since most woods are pretty similar to eachother chemically, I think. All wood smoke is toxic to some degree - I think just the CO2 would be be enough to fit the definition of 'toxic', and particulates certainly are toxic in high quantities, but that shouldn't matter because you shouldn't be breathing the smoke from the wood stove. The smoke goes out the chimney to be diluted by the outside air. Unless there are people breathing a lot of your chimney smoke, I don't think toxicity should be a big concern, and if there are people breathing the stuff, then you should be concerned no matter what wood you're burning. I am not trying to claim there aren't things that produce toxic smoke (such as treated woods, paints, plastics, etc.), just that I don't think a naturally occurring compound in Russian olive is likely to be a problem.

    I do have a small amount of Russian Olive in my wood stacks and it seems really dense. I expect it to make good firewood, but it is a pain to collect. Russian Olive bushes are branchy with few straight stems. I would love to cut them all down just to get rid of them, but I doubt I'll get much firewood out of them because it just isn't a very productive way to increase my supply. They do make nice brush piles. Too bad they aren't easier to harvest; they grow back so quickly from the stumps that they could be the perfect renewable firewood supply.
  6. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    What length and diameter is 'turnable' ?

    People keep asking me for cherry ( an artist frien took some rounds for carving) but never come and get it.
    I'll carry an armload of nice smelling splits in and these same people are flabergasted that I cut it up for firewood.
    I can't keep 8 foot logs on the ground forever. :)
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