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Tree Blow Downs

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by waynek, Feb 7, 2009.

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  1. waynek

    waynek Member

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    Spring of 2008 was a time of excessive rain and flooding in southern Wisconsin and I experienced an unusual amount of tree blow downs in my woodlot. There was not enough rain to create mudslides on the hillsides, but the soil became soft and on a couple of real windy days, older, large trees blew over. The trees were fully leafed out when they toppled over.
    Some expired immediately and some lived on for a few weeks. When the ground begin to dry out and the creek was passable I begin bucking up the trees. All the trees were dead with dry leaves when I started.

    When I began to block up the trees and when I split the blocks it seemed that they did not have the moisture content that a fresh cut live tree would have. The split wood was immediately ranked up in the usual manner under the woodshed. I did not pay anymore attention to this lack of moisture observation until last October. A couple Wisconsin Dept of Resources personnel stopped by to let me know that some of the state land accross the road would be burned off. We shot the breeze for awhile and I brought up the fact that there were a lot of tree blow downs on the state land and I asked about my chances of cleaning up some of the trees. They advised a timber contractor was hired to take out marketable timber and when they were finished I could get a permit to take out the tops. One forester commented that the White and Red oak tops could be cut and split today and would almost be ready to burn. What! Say again.

    The forester explained that when the trees tip over transpiration through the leaves continues for a time, thus drawing a lot of moisture out of the tree.

    Jackpine

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  2. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

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    Based on my experience, I would have to agree with him. I'm burning wood from a large white oak that I cut in July of last year. It blew over from a storm and was laying on the ground for at least a couple of months. All the leaves had turned brown on it. I guess that is probably the first part of the tree that starts to lose water when it begins to die. I am trying to refrain from burning any of the wood from the large limbs and trunk. But, all the wood from the top appears completely dry and is very light-for oak. It burns very well. I actually use it to start my fires.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    When I dared to suggest that a tree felled in winter and the tops left on it could dry a little through the spring foliage breakout, LEE raised the BS flag. Whether the moisture is drawn out by the foliage or the branches or simply that the branches hold the tree up off the ground, there is bound to be some moisture loss. I don't think the loss would be as fast or faster than if the wood were bucked, split, and properly laid up.

    I figure that if you want to fell wood in Winter but don't want to yard it out right away, leaving the branches on can't hurt. As for felling it in summer and leaving the tops on it, I think the tree will lose its foliage too quickly to be of much benefit. A tree that blows over, still has roots attached keeping the tree somewhat alive while the tops and the roots hold it up off the ground.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Perhaps that forester just remembers from the older folks talking. It used to be, with the old stoves like we had when I was a young man (dang, that was a long time ago), you could get away with greener wood. Still, it was best to leave it a year after bucking it into woodstove lenght.

    With today's stoves, I certainly would not burn it right away. You could cut that time for seasoning to a year though..perhaps.

    It is true that when a tree falls or is cut when leaves are on the tree that the leaves will indeed suck some of the sap. However, those leaves can not suck it all. I know they claim to leave a tree 2 weeks or until the leaves look dead, but that wood can still be awfully wet and green. Only one thing it needs......time.
  5. waynek

    waynek Member

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    I agree that the older stoves can burn greener wood... my Round Oak will burn pumpkins... just kidding.

    I can assure you the wood cut in the 2008 is split and stacked under the woodshed for fall 2009 burn.
  6. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Tipping over (uprooting) and felled (cut) are 2 different things .
  7. NitroDave

    NitroDave Member

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    How many trees will grow leaves AFTER it has been cut down for some time ??
  8. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I think I've seen it happen in some of my kid's cartoons. :)
  9. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    0
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    That's a pretty small number.

    I've seen rough sawn poplar skids with a tiny bit of bark on the edge and a leaf growing out of it.
    The last load of Black Ash logs I bucked up in the Winter and stacked until the snow melted, when I was splitting it, I saw more than one leaf break out on it.
    I've felled Poplar in winter and left only the limbs in the bush and saw leaves bud out on them in the spring.
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