Tree Length Drying Time

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hobbyheater

Minister of Fire
Nov 14, 2011
1,216
Got a pile of hardwood logs about 3 or 4 years old.
Anyone have an idea how long it takes a tree length log to dry out?
In tree length they do not dry ,it takes 3 years split and under cover.
 

hickoryhoarder

Minister of Fire
Apr 5, 2013
718
Indiana
I'd say much longer than you want to wait. Five, six, seven years, judging from how long it takes standing dead trees to dry.
 

coaly

Fisher Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2007
4,534
NE PA
If they are on the ground they will rot before they dry. Storage is critical. Drying time starts when split and raised off ground. Best to top cover if you get a lot of rain. Stack in sun with good airflow. All hardwood is not the same drying time. Ash can be as low as 25 or 26% when cut and dry in months, oak can take 2 to 3 years. There are charts for different species.

To test, get a moisture meter. Cut to length, test on fresh split face at room temperature. Then you know what you have. Each time you test as it dries, split to test on the fresh split face.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,205
Northern NH
I heard one person claim 1" of diameter per year if up off the ground. Most wood dries from the cut ends and split faces. So log length wood suffers from two handicaps.
 
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Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
712
NW Wisconsin
As has been stated above ^, logs don't dry very fast. Splits will dry much faster. We can have burnable wood in 3-18 months, depending on the wood. We did up about a year's worth of wood in about a week's time this spring. Most of it will be ready for this year, and all of it will be ready for next year, but it is for several years down the road, so no worries.
 

jsab9191

Member
Dec 7, 2015
43
Maine
Hey Oldtoad, Also from Kennebec County. If that pile of tree length wood is still solid now is the time to cut to length and get it split. If there is a lot of red maple and ash in the pile that wood could easily be ready to burn this winter. If you need wood for the upcoming winter now is the time to be getting it done as I sure you are aware.
There are many options available now in the central Maine area for firewood, wood availability is very limited around here come October and November. If you can’t locate wood give me a shout and maybe I can point you in the right direction. Best at this point to be thinking about this upcoming winter as well as 2023/2024.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,205
Northern NH
Lots of green firewood listed in the North Conway NH papers. Some of comes over from Western Maine. My guess is the dealers see the oil prices and know they can sell a lot of green wood. Buy green now, get it split up and look around on Hearth for the long thread on low budget solar kilns. Done right in the right location and they can dry wood in 4 or 5 months (done wrong they are worse than regular stacking).
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,375
Philadelphia
I usually have a back-log of 5 - 20 cords sitting in 15 foot logs, and I wasn't as fastidious about rotating stock in the early years of my burning career, as I am today. I always found many species of logs went punky before ever drying, no matter where in the pile they were stored, although I'll admit I never bothered covering full log stacks. On the ground is the worst, but even full logs atop a pile many species of logs will stuffer some sapwood rot, after a few years. Very large oaks were always the worst, as the heartwood would stay solid (but wet) damn hear forever, but the 2" - 4" thick crust of sapwood would turn to the consistency of foam board.

Rotate your inventory, folks. In addition to applying FIFO to the split and stacked stuff, I now keep a stack for each year of collected logs, and process them in the order (at least by year) that they were collected. It takes a lot more space to keep multiple piles, hence why I was originally just putting everything into one or two large piles, but it's a necessity unless you can come up with some way to continually and reliably add to on end if a pile while always taking from the other.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,205
Northern NH
I was out hauling logs from my woodlot this weekend and had some beech I dropped two years ago along with another live beech that got blown over in wind event. It had some rot at the base when it went over but it was live. This was up off the ground. The other ones were on the ground. In both cases, the beech definitely had signs of deterioration most likely fungi.

I also was handling some white birch I cut 3 months ago, Despite my running a saw lengthwise through the bark, the wood was as wet as when I cut it. I also processed some maple of the same age and it to was wet.

So IMHO, there is possibility that not only will wood not dry it may lose BTU content due to fungi.
 
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