Question: For the last couple of years I have been buying and burning split wood to fuel my little VC Aspen. Convenient, but expensive and you take whatever you get. I live on a wooded lot and while walking around I noticed that there are a few dead but still standing Birch trees back there. They don't have branches but the trunks feel solid and hard. I've done some splitting in the past but I'm new to supplying my own wood. How does the fact that they have been dead for quite a while already affect seasoning the wood? I guess what I am asking is, does the 6 to 9 or 12 months of drying time refer to green trees or will this wood be burnable towards the end of this season? If you have any other random tips, I'd love to hear them too. Answer: Dead wood dries out even if it isn't cut, but generally not as quickly. It also depends on where it's stored. Wood on the ground in a grassy area may take a long time to dry out, depending on weather, kind of wood, and other things. I'd cut the wood and see how it feels. Compare its weight to that of dry wood that burns well. This is difficult with different kinds of wood (i.e. oak is heavier than pine when dry) but with practice you can get a good feel for judging wood. Wood split into smaller pieces dries out faster. Splitting wood into quarters versus halves can help. Storing it in a covered firewood rack with good air flow also helps.