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Wood that should NOT be burned, species to avoid.

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Cedrusdeodara, Jan 3, 2010.

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  1. Cedrusdeodara

    Cedrusdeodara Member

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    I thought this might be an interesting thread to start. I'd like to hear from others, "what wood I would never burn in my stove". Maybe it stinks, produces no heat, etc., etc. An obvious example would be any wood that has been pressure treated, as they contain deadly compounds. However, natural traits of some trees make them terrible burning candidates. Those are the ones I'd like to hear other's input on.

    Here is my contribution:

    Ginkgo biloba: Gingko Tree, Maidenhair Tree. It is unlikely that anyone would normally burn this tree, as it is not native to our country. But, it has become a very popular landscape tree and it is used heavily in street plantings in cities due to its compact form and tolerance to pollution. Due to it's popularity in landscapes, wood may occasionally become available to us cut-and-burn folks. DONT DO IT!

    Here is why. Ginkgo is a far relative to Poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak. It is actually in the Cashew family. Members of this family are called Toxicondenderons, due to the presence of Urushoil oil, a non-toxic but highly allergenic oil that results in the itchy rash commonly associated with the poisons Ivy, sumac, oak, etc. I learned, too late that Ginkgo was in this family, as our nursery has grown them for a number of years and I got "burned" by the fruit several times before realizing the cause. The fruit is about the size of a golf ball and it smells like vomit. The fruit is high in Urushoil oil, so handling it and touching anywhere on your face (especially around the eyes) will result in a poison-ivy like result (swell up like you were hit by Rocky, and itches like poison ivy). Anyway, burning Ginkgo, would volatilize the Urushoil oil, possibly exposing your lung tissues to the oils. Imagine inhaling poison sumac fumes... STAY AWAY.. Beautiful tree, but not one to burn.

    Side note: If you ever consider planting a Ginkgo in your yard, be sure it is a grafted male clone variety (examples "Autumn Gold", "Fastigiata", "Halka", "Princeton Sentry", "Magyar", etc.). AVOID plain seedlings, as there is a 50% chance they will be female and they will litter your yard with thousands of vomit balls in the fall. Many cities actually have ordinances restricting the planting of Ginkgos that are not male clones, because the female seeds are such a nuisance. The seeds, once cleaned, can be dried and eaten. The health food people claim it improves memory and mental health.

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  2. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Eye absoluteLEE hate burning Baswood! Most putrid smelling smoke ever. Makes me sneeze and cough like nobodies biz.
  3. hareball

    hareball Member

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    Around here Pine was always a no-no. Until I started reading this forum I didn't know people burned it. I don't even ever see it sold here for firewood.
  4. Cedrusdeodara

    Cedrusdeodara Member

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    Hareball, I thought that too, till I started burning some 4yr seasoned pine and spruce. I love it. It is all about being well seasoned.

    Nice looking fish there in the avatar. Bluefin tuna?

    Brian
  5. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Wow. Thanks for the heads up. I'm unlikely ever to encounter it, but this is certainly a good thread for those of us who cast a greedy, scrounging eye on good-sized prunings of just about anything around the property.
  6. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Pine. It causes chimney fires.
  7. hareball

    hareball Member

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    Thanks Brian! It was a Big Eye Tuna Taken at the Hudson Canyon July 09.
  8. derecskey

    derecskey New Member

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    Shame on you.
  9. prajna101

    prajna101 New Member

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    There are some female ginko trees near my office. Yes, one month of the year the nuts fall and smell like dog poo. But there are always people harvesting them and they TASTE GREAT!!!!! I have to fight for some every year. The oils are only allergins to some people. I have never burned any, but I probably would if it fell. Its kind of like saying dont burn cottonwood if you have hay fever. Perhaps you are right to some extent. But its a big brush you are painting with I think.

    Just my .02

    t
  10. Cedrusdeodara

    Cedrusdeodara Member

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    Tritodd, we do have some latino employees that are not effected by the seeds, but eveyone in my family who has handled the seeds has been effected. I don't know, I wouldn't want to be the lab rat that determines if it effects my lungs.
  11. prajna101

    prajna101 New Member

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    The way I understand it, the stuff around the seed is the stinking toxic stuff. I have handled it fine, but am REALLY alergic to poison ivy. I am terrified of burning poision ivy.

    t
  12. lobsta1

    lobsta1 Member

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    I think any unseasoned wood should not be burned.
    Al
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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  14. hareball

    hareball Member

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    Not a single Pine has passed through the doors of my stove in it's entire life. Nobody here even cuts it. When a plot of land is cleared the pine goes right in the shredder. Even growing up and having parties out in the woods we didn't throw pine on a fire. :)
    I guess if it's all you got then thats what your gonna burn though. I'd love a nice mix of hardwoods but 95% of my dellivered wood is oak.
  15. joshlaugh

    joshlaugh New Member

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    I hate boxelder and don't ever want to burn it again. Hard to split and doesn't burn very hot even after properly seasoned. Never had problems with basswood though(although I can't say that I ever smelled it burning)
  16. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Driftwood due to corrosion and railroad ties due to nasty smoke nomatter how finely you split them.
  17. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    petrified wood. it doesn't hold a flame.
  18. ROBERT F

    ROBERT F Minister of Fire

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    Salt Cedar. Either that or the saguaro skeletons. them things dont hold any btu's!!!!
  19. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    Ply.



    It can be a bear to split, anyway.
  20. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Leave it for the porcupines :lol:
  21. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    lol, vomit balls...
  22. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    Thou Shalt not Burn Thy Neighbors Wood!

    Gary
  23. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

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    the only stuff i wont burn is the obvious painted/pressure treated/stained. i will burn any species if they are easily avalible. if someone offered to drop off 5 cords of cut split and seasoned cottonwood, i would burn it. i have burned 3 cords of basswood this year. also some box elder. i have a cord of pine seasoning for next year. if it gives btus i will burn it.


    oh wait, i wont burn green wood.
  24. KarlP

    KarlP Feeling the Heat

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    Anything over $150/cord. ;-)
  25. nojo

    nojo New Member

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    I cant find anything under 220 a cord!!!
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