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Need help on type of tree/firewood this is.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by firemarshallbill, Jan 10, 2006.

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  1. firemarshallbill

    firemarshallbill New Member

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    I cut down this dying tree this weekend because the trunk had rotted and the tree fell over and was a hazard. I have absolutely no clue on what type of tree it is and wether its worth splitting and burning and hope someone can help me out.
    Thanks for your time.

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Well, it's a hardwood, so it's probably worth burning. The bark looks like cherry, but the grain pattern looks a lot like ash. I would say cherry, but it makes no difference once it's in the stove and heating your house. Looks like a good splitter, too.
  3. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    What does it smell like? Bark looks a little thick for cherry and the wood is the wrong color.
  4. firemarshallbill

    firemarshallbill New Member

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    Thanks for your input guys. I really can't explain what it smells like... I can't describe it. I will try to split a couple of pieces later today and take a better picture. Its amazing how much the color of the tree has changed in less than 2 days from a very yellow to the color you currently see.
  5. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Based on a quick glance of the photos and your description I was saying "Holy cow, you've got a hedge tree" The picture of the bark is just at the limit where I can start to see detail, but hedge is definitely a very yellow wood (think bright mustard yellow here) that changes to a tan-carmel color over a few days and gets even darker with more age. It's a little hard to tell how true the color rendition is on your camera, but I definitely see hints of yellow in it.

    If you post more pics, try to get a shot of any leaves that were on the tree and a good shot of the bark. That will help pin it down more. If it is hedge, it should have almost "tear-drop" shaped leaves and bark that forms thin loose strips on the side of the log, and it will be heavier than blue blazes, especially wet!

    Corey

    PS - Looking at some of the leaf litter in the second (right hand shot) One leaf at the 2-3 o'clock position on the log looks like a sycamore maple leaf (three fingered with a slightly jagged margin) One on the far left side just below the cut log looks like it could be a hedge leaf, but that may be stretching it. Can't really make out a lot of the other leaf litter. Get us some better pics! :)
  6. pmac

    pmac Member

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    OK... I'll ask a dumb question here... how does one guess softwood vs. hardwood just from looking at the wood?
  7. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I don't think it looks like softwood, but thinking about it, I'm not really sure how you differentiate. It's more a matter of "I know it when I see it."

    Softwood technically includes the connifers like pines, spruce, fir, tamarack. And I think with the exception of tamarack (larch) they are all evergreens. I don't know where cedar and hemlock fit into the equation, but they're softwoods, too.

    If you're familiar with the barks of various trees, they're pretty easy to spot--usually.

    Why'd you have to go ask that question, pmac?
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Out here, the larch is considered a hardwood. When it's dry it is really hard to saw and work with. It takes a long time to season, but it burns a bit more like hardwood too and splits more like elm :-( . Interesting point of history, a lot of Venice is built on larch pilings.
  9. pmac

    pmac Member

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    Just wondering if you guys actually know what you're talking about, or making it up as you go along ;-)

    Actually, as I was taking wood out of the pile yesterday, it occurred to me that I have no idea how to tell what sort of wood it was that I was picking up... so this thread caught my eye!
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    When you get right down to it, all decidious trees are hardwoods and all conifers are softwoods. Some softwoods are harder and denser than some hardwoods, but that's just the way it goes.
  11. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Larch splits like elm? I hate larch!!!
  12. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I would have said it looks like pine, but Eric cut more wood last year than I ever have.
  13. firemarshallbill

    firemarshallbill New Member

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    Hi all-
    As soon as I got home, it was starting to get dark, so I hurried to split a couple of stumps. I took some more pics, hope they help. The color was definately mustard yellow when i cut it down and the color changed fast within the last 2 days. I'll try to find some info on a hedge tree and compare.

    I live in southeastern MA and have different types of trees on my lot. The only ones I can recognize are one pine and one japanese maple. I have many others, but growing up in the city, trees were just trees. I don't think my dad had one tree on
    his property while growing up.

    I looked around where the tree was, and couldn't find any tear dropped shaped leaves,
    but I don't rake in that area nor do any landscaping, so the leaves you see may be from the
    majority of the different trees in that area which are of varying types from this one (smooth bark and extremely tall).

    I only have one pine on my land, but that is on the other side of my lot. I don't know much
    about this, but the tree definately doesn't look like its from the pine family. But, I could be totally wrong.

    By the way, is it easier to split when the wood has been freshly cut down, or should i wait
    until spring?

    Whatever it is, I'm burning it. its free. If its a soft wood, I'll try to use it
    in the late fall and/or mix it up with some red oak I had bought advertised as "seasoned" but isn't
    even close to being seasoned.

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  14. firemarshallbill

    firemarshallbill New Member

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    Here is a pic of the base of the tree that I haven't cut yet.

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  15. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Looks like the Sugar Maple I use to cut in Northern Michigan, but I'm no expert.
  16. zogboy

    zogboy New Member

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    Looks like box alder to me, I finaly got the back cleared of them....what a nasty tree to control. I burned a green trunks that were 3' x 15' and bigger in a pit we dug with a d6. It took 2 weeks and a barrel of fuel oil...I am happy they are gone :)
    soft wood vs hard wood. I figure if you can dent it with your finger nail it is a soft wood.
    Tamarak / larch is soft but it is used in boat building for natural curves.
  17. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Firemarshall
    What town in SE Mass
    I'm in Middleborough

    I know one thing
    If it splits, burn it ;)
  18. firemarshallbill

    firemarshallbill New Member

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    babalu, westport. grew up in new bedford. Almost bought a house in Middleboro.
    Did you get your stove/fireplace at Woodstoves and Fireplaces Unlimited in your town? They seem like good people.

    Your right, if it can be burnt, burn it!
  19. wingnut

    wingnut New Member

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    The tree definitely looks like it was mature.. Might be a Cottonwood? Some mature cottonwood I have seen has that kind of heavy bark. I have seen some willow look like that also. Might be ether one?? On a side note I just got my Osburn 2200I delivered today. 6in Forever Flex and insulation came yesterday.. I don't know if I will get it installed before I go on vacation but I might try.
  20. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    No
    They dont carry Morso
    I bought it in New Hampshire and saved about $400

    Good duck hunting in Westport
  21. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    I'm still going to stick by my original hedge prediction. I've attached your photo with a hedge leaf overlay and pointed to some that look like it in the leaf litter (although, again, it's hard to tell) Also, here is a website that shows some hedge split

    http://www.osageorange.com/Osage_Orange_S.html

    Some of the colors on the web site photos are off, but some towards the bottom aren't too bad. I would say the "Staves Example 2" photo is about the truest rendition of color I have seen and also the best one on that page.

    Lastly (in my next post) I'll attach a photo of some hedge I was playing around with the moisture meter on...ignore the markings, but check out the overall color and the creamy sapwood at the edge of the log and see if that looks like what you see.

    Corey

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  22. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Here is the fresh split hedge - again this color is a little off...I will fire up the splitter and try to get a good pic tomorrow. I'm 99% sure this is what you have.

    Corey

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  23. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    Warren. If you think you hate Elm...try splitting sweetgum. I had a huge one taken down in September. As part of my workout in the morning, I grab the maul and start wailing away on a piece. The maul just bounces right out of the top usually. I have employed the "sheering "method of splitting. Sheer off pieces from the sides instead of actually trying to split it down the middle. It takes forever to dry and burns about halfway between pine and oak. leaves a thick ash.
  24. firemarshallbill

    firemarshallbill New Member

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    It definately looks similar in color to the osage web site, but not sure on your pic of split. Maybe because yours has dried more?

    Does osage get a decent size? This thing was pretty big... and heavy. My back is still sore.
  25. KarlP

    KarlP Feeling the Heat

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    If you don't want it, I'll be happy to take it off your hands. :)

    I'm 99.44% sure that's Mulberry. Its in the same family as osage orange. Whatever it is, I burn a lot of it. The wood is mustard yellow. It foams a lot when you first cut it and the ends turn a dark brown as it dries.

    The wood is HEAVY and burns very well once dry. It burns hot and slow. It easily stays as glowing coals through the night. Its often tough to split because there are internal remains of branches going every direction and the tree has bends all over the place.

    The only downside is that it throws sparks like crazy if it is the slightest bit green or damp. It makes excellent firewood for a stove. Be careful burning it in an open fireplace because of the sparks.
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