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Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by fishman, Mar 9, 2009.
Is standing dead considered already seasoned?
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I burn alot of standing dead, especially this time of year. Some trees are good to go and some still have high moisture content, especially toward the trunk. Lots of times, I find myself burning the wood from about the middle of the tree up, and toss the rest in the pile for next year.
I agree, maybe totally seasoned toward the end of the branches, but the closer to the ground or the bigger around you get, the less seasoned it is.
That being said, in my experience, all of it will burn, and you might have a little moisture sizzle coming from it, especially the bigger pieces, but it seems to not be a big creosote producer.
I would of run out of wood this year if not for the standing dead, that is mostly what I have burned since beginning of February. I have also cleaned my stovepipe every 3 weeks, just because I am paranoid using not-all-the-way seasoned wood. I have a cord or so left over, so it is my most seasoned wood for fall.
I personally don't consider firewood seasoned until it is cut, split, stacked for >12 months. That being said, a moisture meter will tell the real story.
When I run low I go hunting for standing or fallen dead to tide me over. In either case, the points about drier toward the end versus near the bottom as well as total diameter do apply. If it helps, remember that in standing dead the moisture must eek its way out from the inside to the outside through any available openings. The thicker it is the longer it takes. In cut and split wood there is a much larger surface area for the moisture to evaporate.
Long story short - you can probably burn standing dead (or at least parts of it) but a moisture meter is your best friend (look for at or less than 20% as optimal). You can pick one up for peanuts at Harbor Freight.
I think that it's partly seasoned in terms of it's not being green and will dry out quicker. It seems that green wood is more thoroughly saturated with moisture and really needs that longer period to properly season. Some folks even hold to the notion that properly seasoning firewood entails splitting, stacking and allowing the wood to alternately get dry and get rained on. I know more than a few old timers that claim that splitting, stacking and allowing to dry without getting wet periodically won't produce the best results in seasoned firewood. I'd like to know what science might be behind this. I know the best furniture and barrel grade hardwood comes from very slow seasoning and no kiln-drying. In fact the highest quality barrels are made from oak that has been stickered and allowed to season several years with no cover at all. I've cut a bit of standing dead hard maple and although it does dry out faster than live maple and will burn, it has a good sizzle to it. Definitely much less moisture though.
I burn standing dead and deadfall when I camp on my property. There can be quite a difference in how much moisture some of this wood still has. The wood will vary from punky and damp to relatively well seasoned (ash) - to oak still holding a bunch of moisture. I would not even bother burning any of this in my wood stove.
Rarely. But it all depends. We sometimes find it dry enough but not that often. It usually needs time just like any wood. After a few years you will know the difference for sure.
I have seen trees where the top 2/3 was ready to burn, and at the base water was squeezing out when split.
As others have said . . . there is dead and then there is dead . . . it truly depends on how dead the standing dead tree is (dead two years or more vs. dead one year) . . . size of the tree in terms of diameter (smaller = more dry typically). . . species (white ash vs. oak for example) . . . etc.