Ash moisture question

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Nvernon91

New Member
Apr 28, 2022
6
Ohio
I have a few cords worth of well seasoned wood ready for this year but I am getting ready to cut some more. My question is I have a ton of white ash trees that died 4-5 yrs ago from the ash borer and they have been dead but are still standing. What type of moisture content can I expect when if I split that and do you think it would be usable this year? I have a lopi evergreen being installed in a month and it comes with a moisture meter so I was hesitant to go buy one knowing I’ll have a free one soon. More curious than anything considering I’ll know for sure soon enough but finally have some time to start splitting for future.
 

vbu

Member
Mar 3, 2019
89
MS
it might. I know here in the South it would be good to go more than likely. Just cut and split one and find out
 

jwoair23

Feeling the Heat
Oct 2, 2011
285
Ohio
I am primarily burning dead ash, in Ohio as well, I would guess if you get it split now it will very likely be OK to burn this winter.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,224
NE Ohio
Typically the branches and top part of the trunk will be ready to go on a dead standing ash, the bottom part of the trunk often has a little moisture to it, but seems to dry pretty quickly once split...sometimes the bottom of the tree can be punky too, so be real careful and wary when cutting those trees down, you never know what you will find, sometimes the wood is fine, sometimes the bottom 5-8' is totally junk and will just collapse as soon as you touch it...they often break off right at ground level too.
I'd get them all cut/split/stacked ASAP, once stacked and top covered (top only, sides open) the wood will keep just fine for a very long time...but left in the woods they have a limited shelf life for sure...I'd say if they are 4-5 years dead then they might already have a pretty good head start on starting to degrade. For the trees that fell already, the wood in contact with the ground goes bad pretty fast...like in 1 year sometimes...wood that is suspended off the ground will often stay good for some time. (not always though...kinda unpredictable really) sometimes it seems like moisture gets behind the bark and wood just rots...other times it just makes the bark pop off and the wood dries right out and stays nice.
 
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Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
2,140
Marshall NC
I wacked a dead standing ash last year, it had been real sick for several years but still had a few green leaves. No rot at all. The moisture content of the main trunk at ground level was 27 percent! Yeah, baby! Cut it and split it and on Nov. 1 it ill be ready for the wood stove.

I love to cut and burn ash. We have one more to cut down and then the tea party will be all over. All the ash trees on our 105 acres will be dead.
 

Nvernon91

New Member
Apr 28, 2022
6
Ohio
the sawmills were flooded with ash around here when they were all starting to die years ago and only offered a couple thousand for over 100 trees. Even though the price was disappointing I should have taken them up on it as I have trees falling on days when it’s not even windy, it’s almost dangerous to be in the woods the past couple years
 

lefties

Member
Feb 1, 2011
39
Im in Ohio also and have burned ash standing dead for 5 yrs with no probs. Occasionally the bottom gets a little wet but as stated just split it and it will dry quickly.
 

DonTee

Feeling the Heat
Dec 1, 2021
353
Upstate NY
Man I’ve been cutting dead ash like crazy. Every time I turn around I see another dead ash tree on the property. I should stick the moisture meter on the next one I cut to see what it measures.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,224
NE Ohio
We have one more to cut down and then the tea party will be all over. All the ash trees on our 105 acres will be dead
You have no live babies? I see lots of live ash trees, but they are all young ones...seems like once they get 6-8" diameter trunks they are big enough for the EAB to pay attention to it.
Heck, I have a handful of live ash trees on my lil 2 acres...its been some time since I've seen a big one that is healthy though...I hear they exist though (resistant)
 

DonTee

Feeling the Heat
Dec 1, 2021
353
Upstate NY
We were talking about this in another thread a while back. How it might be possible for the young ash to survive the EAB, and maybe grow to be adult trees.

I’ve noticed on my property the EAB seems to like trees about 10” or bigger. And the really big trees are dying left and right. Some of these things are monsters.
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
2,140
Marshall NC
I am in the North Carolina mountains. I own 48 acres. I only had a dozen ash trees, and all the big ones are dead. Just began dying 4 years ago. In fact there is a 4 inch diameter ash tree right on the edge of my driveway, and it died 2 years ago. I will keep my eyes open for a small one, but I haven't seen a live ash in a year.
 

DonTee

Feeling the Heat
Dec 1, 2021
353
Upstate NY
I just poked a few splits from a standing dead ash tree I cut yesterday. They all read around 27%. This is a tree that was dead but had not lost its bark yet.
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
2,140
Marshall NC
27 percent. How about that, exactly what I got on my ash tree here in North Carolina.
 

DonTee

Feeling the Heat
Dec 1, 2021
353
Upstate NY
The limb wood on one of the trees I cut down was right at 20%. Ready to burn now! But the wood won’t be burned until 3 winters from now. :)
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,546
07462
I'm now experiencing lots of dead standing ash in my area, I figure to drop a few in the fall, split and stack and let it go for one year before its ready. FYI when working with these tree's the limb wood is dangerous, like another poster said, these tree's are dropping limb wood on perfect sunny days, had a branch come down and embed itself 8" into the soil, just be aware when working near these tree's.
 

DonTee

Feeling the Heat
Dec 1, 2021
353
Upstate NY
Yeah the ash limbs are definitely widow makers. I wear a forestry helmet when cutting wood, but the big limbs still scare me. Honestly I’m more scared cutting these dead ash then any other trees I’ve cut.

I cut down a dead ash yesterday that fell into a deader (lol) ash on the way down. The tree it fell into was so rotten that it broke into pieces on the way down. I was watching from a distance.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,224
NE Ohio
That's another thing that stinks about felling these dead standers...when they hit the ground they explode into a million pieces, or at least the branch wood does.
 

DonTee

Feeling the Heat
Dec 1, 2021
353
Upstate NY
The ash I’m cutting all have these tracks under the bark when you rip it off. I’m assuming from the EAB eating it’s way around the trunk. But maybe something else? They have other EAB symptoms, but I’ve never actually seen one of the little beetles.

C320AB04-4FE5-4418-9F8A-E579F847667E.jpeg
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,224
NE Ohio
Classic EAB tracks...and yeah, the lil green buggers have usually moved on to their next victim...I have seen a few over the years though.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,224
NE Ohio
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Reactions: DonTee

DonTee

Feeling the Heat
Dec 1, 2021
353
Upstate NY
So does cutting ash that are obviously infected, but still alive (like has half the leaves left) actually kill the beetles/larvae living in that particular tree?

The last pic I posted was from a still living ash I cut down. Here’s a piece of firewood from an already dead ash. A lot more tracks, like shown in your link.

0822B5D3-865A-495D-96E6-C41B0CEE7F84.jpeg
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,224
NE Ohio
So does cutting ash that are obviously infected, but still alive (like has half the leaves left) actually kill the beetles/larvae living in that particular tree?
Not that I know of...unless you get lucky and hit one with the saw ::-)
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
2,140
Marshall NC
images (1).jpg
They are a beautiful green color. Hard to get a pic of them, they see the camera, and fly away.