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  1. #1
    Elite Member Richard's Avatar
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Fullsized JCB Loader/Backhoe

    Default Dead tree for firewood?

    How long can a tree be standing and dead (near dead is probably more accurate), before it's useless as firewood?

    There are about 6 decent sized (perhaps 24" at trunk waist high) oaks that are (near) dead. I've been trying to get TVA out my way for their permission to cut them down. Yesterday on my way home, I noticed that one of them has already capitulated and is on its side.

    I went to look at it and kicked one of the higher branches and could see some deterioration in it. Deeper inside the branch might have been fine or it might be that crumbly wood, I wont know until I get closer and cut.

    The trunk though, is pretty large and will have a bunch of wood IF it's not rotted out.

    Upon looking at the rootball (totally uprooted) I see that virtually ALL the roots are broken/rotted off which makes me wonder how much further that has eaten into the trunk.

    So, any opinions? I have several more dead/near dead trees that I'd like to take down and put on the splitter pile. Can a tree be standing while dead and keep the wood intact for splitting/burning or should I just go get some bbq & hotdogs and have a superbowl party cookout in the woods?

    Richard

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
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    Northern, New York
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    Kubota L3830 03: RTV 900

    Default Re: Dead tree for firewood?

    In my neck of the woods when a tree dies it starts to rot from the center out. So I split off the good sap wood and leave the rest on the woods.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
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    Dec 2002
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    Blair, Ne.
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    L3130

    Default Re: Dead tree for firewood?

    More than likely is good, you'll have to fell it and see. I burn it if its not crumbling apart or mushy. Even stuff that cuts bit dusty with the chain saw burns good. It won't burn as nearly as long but burns and splits just fine.

    Every dead tree I've ever cut down has been good. How long they have stood dead...couldn't tell ya. Several months ago I had one fall after a storm. It had been dead for a couple years or better as most of my dead trees. The bark is all gone off of them. Anyway this one was about 40" around and broke about 18" up and ~70' . The bottom couple feet were a little iffy, still split and burned it, but the rest of it was solid.




  4. #4
    Elite Member Richard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dead tree for firewood?

    That's encouraging to hear!

    (and I know to be veeeeeeeeeeery careful when treading near this/these dead trees)

    Anyway, so if someone cuts down a living tree, you let it age for a while before you burn it.

    Absent having a moisture meter in hand, can this kind of tree be considered as already aged?

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
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    May 2001
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    Michigan
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    New Holland TC40D Supersteer

    Default Re: Dead tree for firewood?

    With oaks it is possible since the sapwood may remain long after the center is rotted out.

    Be careful cutting dead trees since branches from on high can come crashing down while you're working below - be very careful.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Nasty135's Avatar
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    Southern Md.
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    massey ferguson 135/1433v

    Default Re: Dead tree for firewood?

    Richard, That's where I get most of my firewood, I see a tree thats dead and I leave it standing til I'm ready for the wood or if it falls(not near anything I care about)Then cut it up stack it and its RTB (ready to burn) [img]/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    eastern panhandle of WV
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    Kubota B7800 with loaded R-4s

    Default Re: Dead tree for firewood?

    I'll 2nd the statement made by Chris concerning branches higher up falling. I was cutting some Locust trees that were rotting from the inside out. When the tree started to fall it caught part of a live tree and snapped the dead branch and threw it back and when it hit the ground it stuck in a few inches. It I hadn't been watching it, it could have impaled me.
    Be safe

  8. #8
    Gold Member
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    Eastern Ontario
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    JD 855, 322, AMT626 plus whatever my son dragged home this month

    Default Re: Dead tree for firewood?

    If it's still standing - it's solid enough to burn! It may have some rot inside, but there is enough good wood left or it would have come down on it's own.

    I've got 75 acres, and heat entirely with wood, and I can't recall ever cutting a live tree that wasn't in the way of something. There's more than enough dead stuff generated in a year to heat my house plus fuel the Evaporator.

  9. #9
    Bronze Member
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    May 2003
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    Location
    Connecticut
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    New Holland TC33DA

    Default Re: Dead tree for firewood?

    This year I dragged about 10 trees out of the woods that the previous owners had dropped back in 97. Much of the wood was too rotted to use but I still got plenty of seasoned firewood out of them. Obviously, the harder woods help up better. I just use softer wood for kindling.

    Rick

  10. #10
    Platinum Member Varmintmist's Avatar
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    Chicora, PA
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    Mahindra3510

    Default Re: Dead tree for firewood?

    You can pretty well burn it up until it turns to dirt.

    Your better burn times will come with good soild wood though. If it has been standing dead for a couple of years and fell on its own, cut it, split it and burn it this year.

    For green wood, depending on the type, it can take from a year to really dry it for burning. If you figure a year and a half, of good covered drying, that is plenty to be safe. If you cut it to rounds, watch the ends. When it starts to check (split on its own) its starting to get cured.

    I'm sure on the net there is a drying chart for firewood.

    Well, couldnt find one, but here is a page that say you dont need to dry more than 9 months.

    Got wood?

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