How long does is take to season infested ash trees, that are still alive, once cut down?

enduring

Member
Feb 29, 2020
95
Central Iowa
We have 2 dying green ash trees on our property that are 60 years old. DH planted them when he was 10. They are dying from emerald ash bore. The arborist was out to bid the job. We will have them cut down, and he will chip most of the tree, with long logs set aside for us to process fire wood. The trees are still alive but too far gone to treat and are about 1/3 dead.

I have heard that ash cures quickly, but how quick? And with the Jotul f45 that I have, that needs very seasoned wood, can you really rush ash's curing process?

So that being said, once we get these trees down, in long length logs, how long do they take to cure for the Jotul f45 I am not sure what the long lengths are called. When do you start the clock on curing? I am not sure when we can get them cut to lengths and split.

What about the already dead wood, is that good for firewood, or should it go into the chipper?
 

PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,082
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
If the already dead wood is not pithy or punky (soft, rotted) that of course would already have a head start on being dry enough for this upcoming season. The best that you could do is to get it all cut and split and stacked off the ground, in the sun and wind, cover the top and hope for the best and see if someone can test it with a moisture meter when you are ready to use it or just "clunk" two pieces together, if it makes a "dink" sound it is probably good to go, if it makes a dull "thud" sound it is not, but like you said Ash is the best wood to try to get dry fast.

Good luck with it, get on it as soon as you can!
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,728
South Puget Sound, WA
The quicker the wood is split and stacked, top-covered, in a sunny and well-ventilated location, the quicker it will dry. If the summer is fairly dry then it might be ready to burn by the end of the year. When playing it close, it helps to have a moisture meter to check progress. When several different samples test at <20% it is getting ready to burn.
 
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Gearhead660

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
319
WI
Depends on your location. Being in iowa, if you get it CSS this summer, should be ready for 21-22 burning season. Dead stuff could possibly be burnt this coming winter. Is the dead parts barkless?
 
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Lakeside

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
503
Mike's World
Some ash I got a few months ago similar condition as around 18 % on my meter after spitting--Ready to burn.
 
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Stinkpickle

Feeling the Heat
Jan 13, 2015
485
Iowa
Get it cut, split, and stacked this summer and save it for the 21-22 winter. It will burn fine this coming winter, but the next winter will be better.
 
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ChadMc

Member
Dec 12, 2019
84
Bucks County PA
I have tons of ash from the ash bore. I burnt some at the end of the winter that was stacked for only a couple months and it burnt very good. I have ash stacked under cover and some have been there 6 months and some up to a year and it’s all under 20%. All the ash I’ve cut recently was very dead and the bark basically falls off.
 
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blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,481
WI, Leroy
it will dry out a bit faster if you strip some of the bark if it isn't already falling off.
 
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max384

Member
Nov 28, 2015
92
Eagle Rock, PA
I love ash. It's easy to saw through, a pleasure to split, dries quickly, and burns well. Not all-night oak burning, but still good.

It's plentiful here for scrounging, as the damn emerald ash borer has decimated these trees, which means there are tons of these trees cut down and just lying near the road.
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,017
NE Ohio
The dead top 1/3 of the tree would likely be ready to go this winter...especially if split and stacked now (split the larger stuff) as was mentioned, once cut to length and tapped together, dry wood will have a certain ring to it, like bowling pins being knocked together, or 2 wooden ball bats. (often made of Ash by the way)
The lower part of the tree will probably need to be cut/split/stacked (CSS) for a full year or two to really burn right.
A $25 moisture meter is a good investment for someone starting out.
It has to be used on the middle of a fresh split face though...using it on the outside, or ends of the wood means almost nothing. Meter pins parallel to the wood grain too.
Don't let those tree trimmers chip perfectly good firewood...I take limbs down to 2-3" in diameter as long as they aren't too brushy (more trouble than they are worth) those guys tend to want to chip anything they can muscle into the chipper. And those smaller upper limbs will be the ones that are they driest and have the best potential to be ready to burn...less so with the logs.
 
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Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,630
Marshall NC
I just whacked a dead ash tree two days ago. It was almost dry enough to burn, 21 percent. This wood will be dry in a month or two.
But this tree was kaput. No leaves.

Your trees still have 2/3 of the leaves I bet the wood will be quite wet.
 
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blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,481
WI, Leroy
Even a dead standing will be kinda wet towards the bottom due to capillary action from the ground up
 
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Dix

Minister of Fire
May 27, 2008
6,310
Long Island, NY
. The trees are still alive but too far gone to treat and are about 1/3 dead.

You are ahead of the game, keep going.

I have heard that ash cures quickly, but how quick? And with the Jotul f45 that I have, that needs very seasoned wood, can you really rush ash's curing process?

Split & stack (ASAP!!) in single rows, and top cover. I buy $1 shower curtains at Dollar tree. Works for me :) Ash seasons quickly, much faster than oak.

So that being said, once we get these trees down, in long length logs, how long do they take to cure for the Jotul f45 I am not sure what the long lengths are called. When do you start the clock on curing? I am not sure when we can get them cut to lengths and split.

Curing basically starts when it is split, then stacked.

What about the already dead wood, is that good for firewood, or should it go into the chipper?

Go for it. I'd take as much as I can reclaim. ;)
Welcome to the Forums, in case I missed your other posts ! Always nice to see another Sistah here
 
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hickoryhoarder

Feeling the Heat
Apr 5, 2013
444
Indiana
Already dead wood is usually good stuff, and may be ready right away, or soon. Most of what I scrounge is totally dead, gets cut, goes in the fire the next week.

Fresh cut ash that wasn't very dead -- that I buy -- it can be burnt about six months after being split. Decent. But better after a year. Great after two. What I like about ash is that it lasts a long time in stacks. So if you have other stuff to burn, you can stack it two or three years.
 
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enduring

Member
Feb 29, 2020
95
Central Iowa
You all have been so helpful. Thank you very much.

I do have a moisture meter.

The trees are scheduled to come down mid July, due to availability of the tree service company. Even though he was booked further out than another service, he was very organized and flexible with his pricing for services during our bid interview. Others were booked out to August. One very good thing is that my rural electric cooperative will drop the power line without charge. The power line runs through the 2 trees. Arborist says he can have the trees down and power back up in 2 hours, then the rest of the time finishing the chipping, lower trunk, and stump removal. We will have the chips stockpiled some where on the farm, and the logs cut to manageable lengths for my DH to move with our track loader. The arborist won't have to remove anything our farm.
 
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johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,804
Eastern Ontario
In my humble opinion, it takes as long as it takes to dry firewood
Without some kind of intervention (kiln) It is up to Mother Nature
how long it will take and she is a Fickle woman.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,492
central pa
Already dead wood is usually good stuff, and may be ready right away, or soon. Most of what I scrounge is totally dead, gets cut, goes in the fire the next week.

Fresh cut ash that wasn't very dead -- that I buy -- it can be burnt about six months after being split. Decent. But better after a year. Great after two. What I like about ash is that it lasts a long time in stacks. So if you have other stuff to burn, you can stack it two or three years.
Unless you have wood eating bugs in your stacks wood should last pretty indefinitely once split stacked and covered. Without covering ash rots faster than just about anything I process
 

Stinkpickle

Feeling the Heat
Jan 13, 2015
485
Iowa
Unless you have wood eating bugs in your stacks wood should last pretty indefinitely once split stacked and covered. Without covering ash rots faster than just about anything I process
That’s interesting. The white ash we have here in Iowa is the exact opposite. Uncoveraed, it stays just as solid as white oak for 5+ years in the stacks.
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,630
Marshall NC
I am a newbie when it comes to ash. I have 48 acres here in the NC mountains and I just found out about ash a year ago. It turns out, I have lots of 'em and they are all dying.
Four years ago I cut down a dead tree and just let it lay on the ground. I just figured out it was ash and I tried to cut it up for firewood.
To my surprise it was not completely rotten and I put 1/4 of it in the wood pile and I am picky about firewood. Most of the wood I get, such as oak or cherry would have been rotten after 4 years on the ground, so up here ash lasts quite a while on the ground.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,017
NE Ohio
Uncoveraed, it stays just as solid as white oak for 5+ years in the stacks.
Same here...as long as its not laying right on the ground, or somewhere that it is just laying there soaking up moisture, its fine for a long time.
Most of the wood I get, such as oak or cherry would have been rotten after 4 years on the ground, so up here ash lasts quite a while on the ground.
Sometimes...but for me, its often junk after a couple years on the ground...but it just seems to depend...I know someone that lives in an area with sandy soil, he says the ash will lay on the ground there for a long time with no rot starting.
I have a ton of dead trees on the ground in the woods at work...I just didn't have time to get it all back in the spring, so I walked through and cut/stacked the ones that were right on the ground...if the main trunk was mostly off the ground, good enough, it will keep until later...and the smaller diameter stuff will probably even be dry enough to burn right away too!