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Palm trees, okay to burn?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by mjhfoster, Nov 24, 2009.

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  1. mjhfoster

    mjhfoster New Member

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    Gunma, Japan
    While cutting up some of that cherry and Keyaki I spied a felled palm tree. They grow in Japan and appear similar to the Windmill palm trees with the hairy bark.

    [​IMG]

    Would I be able to split, season and eventually burn this type of tree?

    I suppose my question is in 2 parts. Would the hairy bark be safe to burn (i.e. burning bits flying up the chimney pipe/or be smelly/ leave a residue...) and thus I'd need to remove the bark first?

    And secondly, is the wood similar to other trees (soft or hard) and burnable?

    In my mind, trees are trees and all burn if seasoned properly, though some do a better job of giving out heat.

    Anyone tried palm?

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  2. PJF1313

    PJF1313 Member

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    ANYTHING is burnable ;-)

    I'm in the N.East, so, for me/us palms are out of the question (for now - unless global warming kicks into high gear, than I'll be under water! and what I burn will also be "wet", and the LEAST of my problems! :snake: )

    Hopefully, some of our WAY Southern tier; 50th State members will give you an idea.
  3. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    I always wondered what the guts of one of those lookyed like.
    Cut one open ,take a pic and post it. Thanx ,I thinx.
  4. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Interesting question, Matt. Can't recall it ever coming up here before...not even from our So. California members. I'm with Lee, I think it would be really interesting to see what the end of a split round looks like. If you've got a tree down, buck a few rounds and let's have a look inside. Rick
  5. mjhfoster

    mjhfoster New Member

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    I'll be out that way again this coming weekend so I'll open her up and take some piccys!
  6. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Must have mucho water.
    The palm are not trees. All the trees we are familiar with, like oak and pine are dicots, palms are monocots. They are the largest of the monocots. More like a giant grass than a tree
  7. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I'm curious too. My first thought is that if there are palm trees around, why would you need wood for heat? I guess "cold" is relative.
  8. Heem

    Heem New Member

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    "Monocots are also distinguished by the lack of secondary growth, or wood. Some dicots cannot produce wood, however no monocots can. Some monocots appear to be woody, such as palm trees, but the wood-like trunk is actually an accumulation of leaf bases."

    from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-monocots.htm
  9. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Ever been to Vegas in January? :coolsmile:
  10. mjhfoster

    mjhfoster New Member

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    I came up with this:

    http://www.woodburningstovehq.com/w...k-to-use-for-firewood-in-a-wood-burning-stove

    The original Q was:

    'A bf has offered to cut/split and deliver some firewood, from Palm Trees he as been asked to remove from a relatives home. He knows that my family has a Wood burning stove, but my mom isn’t sure if it’s safe to use in the stove and/or metal smoke stack pipe (it is double insulated through the ceiling according to the landlord). So…is it ok firewood?'

    And the reply is:

    'Yes, but it would have to be dried down very well. It is used in many counties in the tropics as a source for fire. It is usually mixed with other woods for heat. It has a very high fiber content, that may present problems when splitting.'

    No idea who gave the advice, so it might be better just to try an cut some, season it and post a definitive result next year, or the one after that.

    Well anyway, I will have a go at cutting and splitting a 6inch diameter log and will post a pic, probably this Sunday.
  11. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    Well, since there are palm trees on my block and I grew up with a windmill palm in my front yard, here goes:

    They are full of moisture, extremely fibrous and create a ton of smoke when burnt. However, the outside 'hair' on windmill palms will burn like roman candle. One of my childhood neighbors thought it would be funny to scare me with a firecracker. The firecracker blew, ignited the palm and almost caught the house on fire.

    If there are other options for wood, go that route. Palm will be a disappointment unless you are just burning it in an outside firepit.
  12. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    I spend a fair amount of time in the S. Pacific for work, and I've burned my fair share of palm trees--mostly coconut palm. Like any wood,it will burn, but it's certainly not ideal......It's VERY wet wood, and needs a lot of time to dry. It's also very difficult to split. Still, it does burn. We use Rocket Stoves in many of our projects, and many of the villages where we work use coconut husks as a fuel for the Rocket Stoves. Once properly dried, they actually burn quite well.

    NP
  13. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I have seen a bunch of palm trees being cut down (I used to live in Southern California) and, at least for smaller fan palms like the one in the original post, they hardly look like wood. Instead, the trunk is sort of very fibrous, dense stem, a little like compressed grass. It apparently is hard like wood, but has different properties. I bet it creates a lot of ash, but also think it'll burn and you should definitely try it.
  14. L.S.-n-B. inc.

    L.S.-n-B. inc. New Member

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    Yes, you can burn palm tree. I used to be in the tree service business here in Phoenix. Fan palm, the type you refer to as 'windmill' will burn like cardboard. In other words; so fast as to be useless. That's after you allow it to dry. In Phoenix it takes very little time for the palm wood to dry because of the arid, hot climate. Usually about a week or two for pieces that are 12 inch diameter by 4 ft. long. We cut and hauled most palm chunks this size because it is junk wood that we took to the landfill.

    About 70% of fan palm weight is moisture.

    For those that do not know much about the desert, while camping in the low desert in the winter, your water can begin to freeze at night and skin can get sun burned by afternoon.

    Be careful while handling palm's that are not 'skinned' (those that have the remnants of the fronds) because they often contain Black Widows and Scorpions.

    Below is a photo of a fan palm that I felled into the trailer as a whole in order to expedite the job. The 'wet' weight of the tree which over hung the trailer tail gate was to great to be transported safely. I had to dice up the end of the tree into wafers that could be handled by two people, rolled to the front of the trailer and dumped inside in order to balance the load. As I recall, within a day the 'wafers' were so light (dried out) that they were no longer a counter weight to the tree trunk, which was still very wet.

    Attached Files:

  15. KeepItNatural

    KeepItNatural New Member

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    Wow, I was not expecting that tree to be that big at the base.
  16. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    HehHeh . . . I was thinking the same thing . . . but what do I know . . . I've just a hick from Maine . . . and palm trees are only something I see on TV or when I've gone on vacation in the Carribean.
  17. Valhalla

    Valhalla Minister of Fire

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    The folks on "Survivor" seem to burn it every week.
    Seasoned correctly, it should produce heat
    in a proper stove.

    Could also be interesting for a furniture project!
  18. TreePapa

    TreePapa Minister of Fire

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    We used to have a big palm weed (they are NOT trees) in our front yard. I think it was a "Washinton Plam" it looked similar to the one in TreeService's trailer photo. We used the "hairs" on it for firestarter. One match, burns like kerosene! Like zamboni alluded to, improperly maintained palms are a great fire hazard. If the top growth is not removed at least every other year, they can explode into fire with any ignition. Tree services around here probably make 1/2 their money on palm maintenace (if they have a good climber and / or a bucket lift). We eventually got tire of paying to give the ugly monster a haircut (and of the nasty, sticky seeds it dropped) and had it cut down. We did NOT save the trunk for firewood or for chewy cookies for the jolly green giant. The stump is still in the front yard, surrounded by a rosemary plant bigger than a volkswagon.

    Peace,
    - Sequoia
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