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Standing dead trees

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by hautions11, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. hautions11

    hautions11 ArboristSite Operative

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    How about some opinions on how dry a standing dead tree is. I have a couple of cantidate trees to cut up at the moment and a couple of them are standing dead ones. They are inherantly dryer then live trees, but how dry can they be? I guess they would be similar to getting a load of logs that sat around for a year. What are your thoughts?
     
  2. smokechase II

    smokechase II Addicted to ArboristSite

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    dry

    They dry out from the top down.

    The wood may be still somewhat moist and retain a fair amount of strength at the stump if they have only been dead for a short while. Granted, this dry wood will not be as good as a green tree to work with. But it can be just fine.

    Is your question related to tree felling difficulties or how heavy or hard it will be to split the wood?

    Are the leaves still on? (even though they are dead)
     
  3. hautions11

    hautions11 ArboristSite Operative

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    Dead

    I'm not worried about dropping it, as there is nothing around it. I was wondering how dry it would be. Half the bark is gone and no leaves.
     
  4. clearance

    clearance Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Buddy, standing dead trees are snags, you have to be extra carefull falling them. Give the tree a good whack with the back of your axe to see it what it does. Put in a big undercut while constantly looking up, try to fall it with the lean, if you have to wedge it, look up every time you hit the wedge. Tops have been known to break off and kill the guy at the base of the tree. Not lecturing you, its not the stuff around that matters as much as you do.
     
  5. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Very good advice Clearance:clap: I have no idea how many times I have dropped standing dead trees and right before the tree went over the top fell off or a large branch came down at me!!!!! They don't like being messed with very much!!!I look up every 5 seconds or less to see what the tree is doing, and if there is a lot of branches left I have a spotter out of harms way, in my line of sight that I watch while cutting. He watches the top of the tree and I watch his face and hands. I can usually tell by his face faster than his hands something is going on and I skate!!!!
    Be very careful please!!!
    Andy
     
  6. mga

    mga wandering

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    don't standing dead trees get that mushy sponge-like core to them?

    or, maybe it depends how long they've been dead.....?
     
  7. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Addicted to ArboristSite

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    The second part is partialy correct. I t depends on how long, species, climate etc.. One may be punky in the middle and the next two may be solid! There really is no way to know until you make a cut, and even then until it is on the ground sometimes!!! I once was taking down a live Oak, about 10" across, small tree, I told everyone to clear and one of the guys was "I'll be fine, I am watching you" IDIOT!!!! I told him to move a few more times, he wouldn't, bigger IDIOT!!! I cut the tree. Made my notch and it came over!! He did a couple of belly rolls and barely got out of the way, his saw didn't fair so well!!:hmm3grin2orange: The tree was hollow with only about 3/4" all the way around it holding it up. He will not argue with me anymore, if I even let him go!!!
    It just goes to show, you never know what will happen and always be carefull!!!
    Andy
     
  8. mga

    mga wandering

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    yep...i cut down a tree out back...about 18" diameter...made the notch, etc etc..except the wind decided to push it the opposite way...half into the pond. ok...not a big deal..just more work. so, i began cutting up the trunk and slowly pulling it out of the water, cutting more as i went along. as i got near the top of the tree, i (stupidly) grabbed a dead branch and pulled...snap...back i go tripping over the logs and fell on my left shoulder. my left arm went limp and i knew i dislocated it. so, without giving it much further thought, i put my weight on my left elbow and pushed......

    lemme tell ya...it ain't like mel gibson doing it....the pain of it going back into the socket almost made me pass out. that was about 4 weeks ago and i still can't move it a certain way without feeling it.

    anyway...lesson learned...maybe the hard way..but still learned.
     
  9. olyman

    olyman Tree Freak

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    i personally cut down a burr oak that had been girdled 35 years previous--and from what the owner said--about half the dia was missing--it was rotting from the outside inward---now listen--i cut it down--and it was just like a new tree for moisture in the center--and solid as a rock--no internal rot--surprised me!!!!!!!!! and there was at least 2 in of rot wood on the outside!!!!!!!!!!!!! sure did burn good dry!!!!!!!!
     
  10. Patrick62

    Patrick62 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Pretty dry, depending.

    The stuff I have to work with are either power dry, or turning a little punky. It all depends on the local conditions.

    There are hazards in dropping these things. Be careful, but get the thing down! all trees eventually are going to fall. I would rather be the one determining the "when" rather than end up under one.

    -Pat
     
  11. Brushwacker

    Brushwacker Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I cut a lot of dead trees here in IN. How dry depends on how much air and sun they get and diameter. The higher limb wood is usually reasonably dry in 1 year if it is exposed to much sun and air most of the day. If it is crowded with live trees in lowland, not exposed to sun and air most the summer it takes longer and decays more. Once the bark opens and starts falling off the bigger pieces dry out reasonably well to about the 15" diameter size. Bigger then that takes ideal conditions and years to get good and dry. Wet or dry weather prevailing for the year effect drying time. Typically I will use top half (give or take), of tree for dry wood , season out the rest longer.Without the bark and split it finishes drying pretty quick if you split the heavier pieces small and give it air shielding it from wet weather. About another month in my bone dry barn usually finishes these pieces out nicely.
    River Birch needs to be split before it will dry properly.
    The bark is air tight and it will rot from the middle outward if not opened up.
     
  12. hautions11

    hautions11 ArboristSite Operative

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    Standing Dead

    Thanks for all the good input!. I was carefull and got it down just fine. It has some minor punky spots, but overall it is in good shape. I split some of it and there is definately still moisture in the center. Split and stacked, it should dry out nicely. I like burning ash, early in the season, before using up the oak.
     

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