Dead trees, how long is the wood good?

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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,628
Long Island NY
I think they only "eat"ash. Meaning that if all ash is gone, they'll go extinct. In principle. But since that is not a homogeneous process (pockets of ash will survive longer, sustaining the beetles, which can then spread to any new ash elsewhere - if that (new ash) is even possible). It is near impossible to get rid of invasive insects in a situation like this. (Unless another invasive insect is introduced that *solely* hunts these beetles. And if that solely is not 100 pct solely, another species of insects might be wiped out....)
 

DonTee

Feeling the Heat
Dec 1, 2021
375
Upstate NY
Oh btw here’s a pic of some of the firewood from the tree I mentioned earlier. Hickory?

The known hardwoods on my property are
Ash
Maple
Birch
Beech
Cherry
Butternut (my uncle says he’s cut it out here, but I don’t know if I could ID one)
Red oak
Poplar

I don’t recognize this firewood as any of the above species. With the exception of butternut, I feel like I could ID any of the above trees.

C307739D-E995-475B-869B-2A6ED69E83E0.jpeg F2ACE9A8-A5EB-43F3-85A7-B81B163EA315.jpeg
 

DonTee

Feeling the Heat
Dec 1, 2021
375
Upstate NY
Hopefully they aren’t ash. There are quite a few of them and I don’t need any more dead trees. Haha

When I google pics of hickory, it shows two types. Shag bark and regular. The trees in question are definitely not shag bark, but do look like the regular hickory bark.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,628
Long Island NY
Hickory is tough to split. (Much more so than ash.)
 

DonTee

Feeling the Heat
Dec 1, 2021
375
Upstate NY
This stuff split about like maple. Usually I cut down smaller trees so there are only 2-3 splits per round. It’s a lot easier than lifting big ole heavy rounds up onto the splitter.
Actually my wife does most of the splitting these days. She likes running the wood splitter.
 

MEngineer24

Member
Dec 6, 2020
172
WV
Some of them, especially the dead standing ash, I cut them down and find that the further up the tree I go, the better. I cut one up yesterday. As I split it, working down the tree, the lower 10' weren't worth splitting, so I just left it in the woods.
Any dead tree that seems to have fungus growing on it, I tend to leave alone. I have cut a few cherries and oaks that have some fungus growing on the outside, but found that it was only rotten in that area and not very deep. Got a lot of good wood that had some seasoning on it already.

To reiterate earlier statements, carefully with those dead standing. I have learned my lesson the hard way with widowmakers (and have been very lucky that it didn't end up worse). Get a helmet and have someone you trust standing behind you looking up. If a branch comes down, have them tap you on the shoulder to get out of there.
I cut an ash down today that was exactly like this. The bottom 6-8 feet was completely rotted out but the top was perfectly fine. I was amazed that it was still standing.
 

DonTee

Feeling the Heat
Dec 1, 2021
375
Upstate NY
I need to grow some cojones to cut down some of these bigger dead ash. Some of these trees are huge. It’s especially difficult when the tree splits off into a double trunk, to know exactly which way it will fall. I’ve had good luck felling them to the side before.

I still have those two big broken off ash hung up in the dead beech that I want to bring the rest of the way down. I’ve tried pulling on the broken off parts with my winch but they won’t budge. They’re too hung up in the beech. I’m hoping with the wind we’re having today I’ll go out there and they’ll all be on the ground!

There have been trees that I got hung up that have stayed that way for years before they came down. It’s crazy how nature works. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn’t.

Are you guys cutting down the trees that are rotten in the bottom just like a regular tree? Sometimes I’ll make my notch cut into a tree, and if it seems too rotten I get a little nervous about making the back cut. I’ve had trees come down a little faster than I’d like when the rotten wood gives way while I’m making the back cut.

After I cut the notch I always look at it to see what the wood looks like.
 

Longknife

Burning Hunk
Oct 12, 2016
156
Eastern Ontario, Canada
Oh btw here’s a pic of some of the firewood from the tree I mentioned earlier. Hickory?

The known hardwoods on my property are
Ash
Maple
Birch
Beech
Cherry
Butternut (my uncle says he’s cut it out here, but I don’t know if I could ID one)
Red oak
Poplar

I don’t recognize this firewood as any of the above species. With the exception of butternut, I feel like I could ID any of the above trees.

View attachment 288252 View attachment 288253
I'd be tempted to say that's Butternut (otherwise know as White Walnut), although the bark is fairly linear as opposed to a cross-hatched/diamond pattern.

Inside looks like Butternut.
 
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wishlist

Minister of Fire
Mar 28, 2011
618
Corunna, Michigan
That looks like young shagbark hickory . Smooth bark aka pignut hickory looks a lot like ash with the diamond pattern .

With hydraulics the green hickory will split easy but I find if it’s been sitting for awhile it can be stringy . Good frozen hickory won’t be as stringy and splits fairly easy .
 

DonTee

Feeling the Heat
Dec 1, 2021
375
Upstate NY
When the trees leaf out again I’ll get some better pics. I see a few of them that are down and could be cut for firewood. I haven’t burned any of the mystery wood I cut yet, so we’ll see how it burns.
 

Longknife

Burning Hunk
Oct 12, 2016
156
Eastern Ontario, Canada
Yesterday, I inadvertently took down a Butternut. It was too intertwined with the dead Ash I was felling for it to be avoided, plus although the upper branches seemed fairly healthy, it had a lot of evidence of Butternut Canker (meaning it was likely on it's way out). Still I avoid dropping Butternuts unless they are completely dead.

I was pretty rushed trying to beat the snow, however I got a couple of pictures that make me feel like what you have is definitely Butternut.

PXL_20220101_193813194 - Copy.jpg PXL_20220101_193818439 - Copy.jpg
 

DonTee

Feeling the Heat
Dec 1, 2021
375
Upstate NY
It very well could be butternut. My uncle used to cut firewood out on my property 30 years ago and said he cut some butternut on a few occasions. So I know it’s out here.

What are the btu numbers for butternut? I should look it up on the firewood list.

Oh also what does the nut look like from a butternut tree? Maybe I can tell them apart from the beech nuts.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,628
Long Island NY
That certainly is hickory nuts and not beech nuts.
 

baseroom

Feeling the Heat
Nov 18, 2014
478
Rochester
Ok then, the wood in question is hickory. I was looking through my phone and forgot I had a picture of the nuts from next to that tree.
Thanks
Hey I will respond to your Ash questions. I'm in NY as well, greater Rochester area. The borer is moving East . It is well past our area and has killed every Ash that hasn't been treated. I have been cutting and burning lots of dead ash. It dries quickly and burns well. I believe the borer can winter in temps down to -20. The adults lay eggs in the trees. The Larvae form d shaped holes in the bark and feeds between the bark and inner wood, feeding on the water and sugars that move up and down the trunk. When the bark comes off you will see trails where they have .been feeding Look for woodpeckers on those dead and dying trees ...they love the larvae. If you drop the trees but keep them from laying on the ground they will last quite a while. Wish you well!!,
 

DonTee

Feeling the Heat
Dec 1, 2021
375
Upstate NY
According to the DEC site the EAB is in every NY county except for a handful. I remember hearing they were in my county I think around 8 years ago. Im in Oswego county.

I’m not sure how many ash my property has compared to the neighboring property. Also I’m not sure what impact that heavy ash logging has on the beetle. I notice at the local sawmill 5 miles down the road they have lots of ash logs. I assume it’s being heavily logged before it’s all destroyed. Maybe that helps slow the beetle? IDK.

I need to go peel back the bark on some more of these dead trees and look for signs of the beetle. Some of these things are so big my little 20” chainsaw bar is barely gonna make a dent. I’m going to need one of those 30” bar saws. Haha.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,345
Northern NH
Standard recommendation is to cut every merchantable Ash tree in an area once the EAB is nearby. There is a small minority that advocates leaving ash trees to be attacked with EAB in hopes that some will have immunity. Every indication its highly unlikely that natural immunity will occur. It is basically a repeat of the Chestnut blight.

Some organizations are advocating seed banking or treating a reserve of trees long enough (decades) for the EAB to die off once all the wild trees are dead and gone as they only seem to go after Ash.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,628
Long Island NY
I presume Svalbard my be ideal; they are doing this there already.
 

Wood1Dennis

Burning Hunk
Jan 17, 2016
154
Eastern Wisconsin
Emerald Ash is just getting here, but it is going to make a mess of my woodlot. I have a lot of ash. Until now, most of the ash I take for firewood are simply mature. At some point, especially in the very wet parts of the woodlot they rot from the bottom and come down in windstorms. Go up 5' and they are solid as Sears. That reference really doesn't work very well anymore, does it.:confused: With the borer here, I will have a lot more ash in my future, but that is OK. It is good fire wood and usually the branches keep it off the ground so I have a few years to get to it.

I'm old enough to have been around in the 70s when Dutch Elm disease killed off most of the elm trees here in Wisconsin. My grandpa burned a lot of it. For the most part I think it killed off all of the mature elm trees and then, when the trees / food were gone in must have disappeared. Until recently. In recent years I have been cutting elm for firewood. A couple of seasons back I took down a huge one, at least as big around as my 18 inch saw bar. I counted the rings and aged it back to 1972.
I think that the elm saplings must have survived the Dutch Elm disease. Maybe Dutch Elm went dormant, or disappeared all together when the mature elms were dead. The saplings that survived back then are now dead from a second round of Dutch Elm, and are now heating my house.
I wonder if the ash trees will see something similar?!