Laying dead.


Feb 6, 2019
Ok, I’ve got 3 bays of good sized bays for storing wood, 2 of the bays are full of standing dead I cut down last year/beginning of this year, that houses this years/next years firewood.

I am wondering if 2 years is enough to dry laying dead, on my property someone had cleaned a ditch out I’m guessing a few years ago and just pushed the wood off to the side. It looks to be mainly cherry and birch. Ideally I’d like to start going after the stuff already down verses the extra work and hang ups you get when trying to drop a tree in a woods.


Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
Northern NH
Wood really doesnt dry a lot until its bucked into rounds. The bark substantially reduces vapor transport. The cut ends expose the grain which allows the internal moisture to escape. If its white birch it may not be great wood as the bark can be totally waterproof and the wood will rot laying down. This process can be stopped by running a chainsaw down the length of the wood to cut through the inner and outer bark which releases trapped moisture.

It will be obvious if its good when you cut it. Cherry can be rotted on the outside but the core still has good wood although the rot on the outside make it hard to dry as it absorbs a lot of liquid.


Feeling the Heat
Dec 21, 2017
Erin, WI
I've had stacks fall over in the woods, and ash splits that have been split for 1.5 years be wet still.

Catfish Hunter

Burning Hunk
Jun 14, 2016
Western Wisconsin
I've experienced the same, standing bark off dead elm maybe close to 20% but still needed a summer to stop hissing water when burned, 20+ year dead white oak tops sitting of the ground were close, but I still give them a summer after being cut and split. Logs on the ground, not cut and split really don't seem to dry very much. I agree with the other posters, cut it and see what's there. Even if there is some rot it might be worth it.

Also - learning to fall trees is a good idea. I started my journey by scrounging dead wood and now I do part time logging/arborist work and have a ton of wood access. And this all started because I thought it was fun to cut up dead elm and save the firewood (even though I didn't even have a wood stove at the time). People now call me and ask "hey I have an oak that I don't want, it's near the house..."

I learned from mostly youtube and books - and then partnered with a few local folks by doing grunt work to start and then tree climbing/timber falling. If you need any help on good places to start let me know! After you cut show us the wood, it is cool to see what you have!


Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
Central Mass
I'd still grab that wood first even of its wet, you may have a bit of a head start on it drying.