Dead trees, how long is the wood good?

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mcdougy

Minister of Fire
Apr 15, 2014
807
ontario
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?!
Chances are you will loose ALL of your ash trees 2" and up. :( I know that is what happened in our Woodlot at least. Some trees will survive longer than others and will show small signs of life, but eventually succumb. To your point, I do notice and have HOPE that there are a lot of healthy saplings that are seemingly a possible way for the ash species to survive? The saplings are real trees and not the doomed suckers that often shoot from the stump of the cut down dead mature tree. To loose this species of tree would be a terrible shame considering this damn bug is a evasive species from China. Our global "NEED" for cheap goods has interrupted nature and threatened the ash tree to extinction in its natural environment. So so sad if your interested in my opinion.
 

Wood1Dennis

Burning Hunk
Jan 17, 2016
168
Eastern Wisconsin
Took down another one of those big old dead elms from the 70s today. Ive been eyeing this one for a couple of years!

20220116_142356_resized.jpg
Good Stuff!
 
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old greybeard

Burning Hunk
Oct 29, 2018
126
PA
Only have a few ash on my 11 acres, right past me is a lot of 2 acres mainly ash. Looks like a artillery barrage hit the lot. The trees explode at 4-6 feet up and drop, widow makers impaling the ground everywhere. Hard to cut a tree with confidence knowing it is 50’ and possibly rotted 3 feet above your cut.
Ash, elms, chestnut, hemlocks, gypsy moths in oaks, invasive vines and trees, our woods are being destroyed. The heck with worrying about climate change, between the environmental destruction of globalization and the pollution by plastics we are in trouble now.
 
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bigealta

Minister of Fire
May 22, 2010
863
Utah & NJ
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?!
I got a couple "princeton" elm trees about 10+ years ago. Planted 1 in front of my house and the other at my neighbors. Both are doing very well. They were cloned from a rare survivor in a grave yard in Princeton NJ.
 

snobuilder

Feeling the Heat
Dec 16, 2021
432
WI
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?!
SE Wisco was wiped out by the EAB 5-6 years ago.
 

snobuilder

Feeling the Heat
Dec 16, 2021
432
WI
Central pa was hit about the same time. Maybe a little earlier.
We have had the EAB for probly 20 years with the DNR doing what they could by instilling firewood moving bans but then it was BOOM, all wiped out in a year or 2.
With how wide spread I am learning the EAB destruction is, this could be inspiring new wood burners out there.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,267
central pa
We have had the EAB for probly 20 years with the DNR doing what they could by instilling firewood moving bans but then it was BOOM, all wiped out in a year or 2.
With how wide spread I am learning the EAB destruction is, this could be inspiring new wood burners out there.
Pretty much all of the ash left standing here is punky and not much good for firewood anymore. We still have small ones that havnt been hit yet. But when they get to about 6" diameter they get hit and die
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,267
central pa
It first showed up in pa in 2007. But took a while to get bad.
 

Wood1Dennis

Burning Hunk
Jan 17, 2016
168
Eastern Wisconsin
SE Wisco was wiped out by the EAB 5-6 years ago

I think that we were protected for a while by Lake Michigan. The borer had to work its way around the lake and up the back side before it got here. It is really sad when I drive down to Milwaukee and get to the sections of woodlots, especially in Ozaukee county that are nearly all ash, and all dead.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,267
central pa
Did the hemlocks get hit by the wooly ageldgid as well in your areas?
 

old greybeard

Burning Hunk
Oct 29, 2018
126
PA
Did the hemlocks get hit by the wooly ageldgid as well in your areas?
Finally reaching my land in Tioga county. Our property is 40% hemlock. We’re treating the trees spring and fall, starting with the big trees first. Hopefully will get up to 10 years after treatment. Seeing many dead hemlocks along Pine Creek in the PA Grand Canyon. And tons of Japanese Knotweed.
In south central PA hemlocks have been hit hard for the last 20 years.
 

fvhowler

Burning Hunk
May 4, 2018
176
Heart of NC
This post oak I worked on today has been down for about 3 years. Mostly off the ground and still in good shape. I will split, stack and cover for another 20-24 months before burning.

20220203_082442 (1).jpg
 
I know I've talked about this on another thread, but I have found that a handful of my ash are growing new shoots out of the bottom of the stump. They seem to be doing it more often (but probably just a coincidence) after I have cut the dead/dying tree down. I am letting them grow for a few years and then thinning them out to the bests one. The larva eat the cambium layers under the bark, cutting the trees circulatory system. If they have not worked their was around the entire trunk, part of the tree may still be alive (for now). I'm going to do my best to keep as many live specimens on my property as possible, even if they are small and hope for a miracle.
Wow, so sort of an insect-driven coppicing? That's cool.
 

fvhowler

Burning Hunk
May 4, 2018
176
Heart of NC
Much like the American Chestnut keeps putting out shoots from its roots decades after the tree had "died." Nature is incredibly resilient.
 

snobuilder

Feeling the Heat
Dec 16, 2021
432
WI
Not to be wasteful, I cut up a standing dead cherry tree sized about 18" at base. It was so old the outside was about 1" of punkwood.
Got it home and split and found it was down to 22% moisture....I will need some supplemental this year so this will sit next to stove for a bit then into btus'
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,313
Long Island NY
If that wood was split and measured at outside temps, you may need to add 3 pct or so to your reading as the moisture meter is calibrated for operation at room temperature.
 
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DonTee

Minister of Fire
Dec 1, 2021
672
Upstate NY
I have quite a few ash trees that have dry bark that flakes off easily. Is this a sign of EAB? I’m always looking for the D shaped holes, but haven’t seen any of those.

I also look for dead wood up in the middle of the canopy. Some trees have it, and others look like just a normal amount of dead/broken branches.

7EDBC1E7-5C57-404F-AD3E-79AA5A499220.jpeg image.jpg
 

mcdougy

Minister of Fire
Apr 15, 2014
807
ontario
I have quite a few ash trees that have dry bark that flakes off easily. Is this a sign of EAB? I’m always looking for the D shaped holes, but haven’t seen any of those.

I also look for dead wood up in the middle of the canopy. Some trees have it, and others look like just a normal amount of dead/broken branches.

View attachment 295429 View attachment 295430
That is not EAB damage, I believe that is damage from drought. The tree is not necessarily doomed in this state. EAB is very easy to see once you start noticing the dead canopy of the tree. The holes in the trunk will be present once you start looking.
 

DonTee

Minister of Fire
Dec 1, 2021
672
Upstate NY
Interesting. Both those trees are pretty close to a pond. I would think they would have plenty of water, but maybe not. We had a bit of rain earlier on in the spring, but it’s been dry for about 2 weeks now.

Since I’ve been watching the ash trees a lot closer, I’ve been noticing more defects. Makes sense of course. Haha.

The ash around my house I’ve been paying close attention to. At the first sign of trouble I want to get them out of there.