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Time to lay in the firewood!


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tippben
Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender


Joined: 15 Jan 2011
Posts: 896
Location: north tipperary

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:41 am    Post subject: Time to lay in the firewood! Reply with quote

I've been replenishing my logpile, as it is our main source of heating. The leaves are off, so it's time to start harvesting what you need for next year. We have been cutting up a fallen ash, as we can burn it straight away. Here's an old English song on the combustible properties of different woods, that will help you only get the good stuff.

Beechwood fires burn bright and clear, Hornbeam blazes too,
If the logs are kept a year to season through and through.
Pine is good, and so is Yew for warmth through wintry days,
The Poplar and the Willow though, they take to long to blaze.

Oak logs will warm you well, if they're old and dry,
Larch logs like Pinewood smell, but the sparks will fly
Birch logs will burn too fast, Alder scarce at all,
Sweet Chestnut is good to last so cut it in the fall.

Holly logs will burn like wax, you can burn them green,
Elm logs like smouldering flax, no flames with them are seen.
Pear logs and Apple logs, they will scent your room,
Cherry logs across the dogs, they smell like flowers in bloom.

But Ash logs, so smooth and grey, burn them green or old,
buy up all that come your way, they're worth their weight in gold.
Here's logs to burn, logs to burn, logs to save the coal a turn,
Here's a word to the wise when you hear the woodsman's cry.
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Anonany
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree


Joined: 09 May 2011
Posts: 67
Location: Bray, Co Wicklow

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We, too, are busy gathering all the fallen ash branches; the smaller ones as kindling and the larger ones for logs.

We've three large ash trees around the garden and between necessary pruning and their natural inclination to shed branches, they produce a phenomenal amount of fuel every year. As the rhyme so aptly says "they're worth their weight in gold".

Thanks for sharing the rhyme; we've tried beech, pine, poplar, willow, birch, alder, holly, pear, apple and cherry ... and it's spot on in every respect. Those old rhymesters knew a thing or two !
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suttie
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 16 Nov 2011
Posts: 11
Location: Roscommon Ireland

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are both So lucky to have free fuel in these Hard-times
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Anonany
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree


Joined: 09 May 2011
Posts: 67
Location: Bray, Co Wicklow

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed I am ... but -- if it's any consolation -- it takes quite a bit of hard graft ! That doesn't, however, alter the fact that we count ourselves extremely lucky to have such a resource.
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Sive
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 1731
Location: Co.Wexford

PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope everyone is planting trees for future generations....after all today's firewood only exists because our forefathers planted any of these these trees....or at least were wise enough to let them grow.
I despair when I see the destruction wreaked by the flails of those awful mechanical hedge-cutters.....no tree has a chance to grow to maturity.
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Anonany
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
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Joined: 09 May 2011
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Location: Bray, Co Wicklow

PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed I do, Sive; lots of them. I've been the despair of my Mother for years. Each birthday she sends a cheque, usually accompanied by the comment, "Buy something nice for yourself ... ... but I suppose this will be yet another blooming tree".

And, like all Mothers, she's always right !
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tippben
Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender


Joined: 15 Jan 2011
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Location: north tipperary

PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said Sive! I buy, plant and propagate trees, as should everyone. As I have no space for them, I plant them wherever they'll stand a chance. In my brother in law's coppice, I also layer Hazels.

With the exception of Beech, however, most hardwoods do not die when cut. As Oliver Rackham once wrote: "when discussing the paucity of woodland cover in Western Europe, the question is not who cut down the trees, but rather, who prevented them from growing back?" My post was not intended to encourage the reckless felling of trees, but to give people some idea of which trees to use best.
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medieval knievel
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

we have a 40 foot eucalyptus to cut down in herself's dad's back garden. it died last winter, so should alread be somewhat seasoned.

i tried burning some green ash recently, and it took forever to get started. hissed and fizzed for ages before catching.
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tippben
Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender


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Location: north tipperary

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eucalyptus (gunnii?) burns well, but you may have to put up with the medicinal smell. On the plus side, you might suffer less from colds this winter! Green ash isn't the best fuel, but if you are stuck, it will burn, where other woods won't. I should have said before: Never burn Elder wood, or Rhododendron wood. The smoke and gases emitted are poisonous (cyanide), and will give you a bad headache at the very least.
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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi tippben
About Elderwood, I am informed on good authority that this applies to fresh wood only and not dried wood. Also if it is burned in a closed burner there is no danger. Eucalyptus should be well dried before burning as it causes sooting problems in chimneys. I never hears that Rhododendrons were any way offensive but it is another nugget of knowledge worth sharing and thank you.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
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tippben
Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender


Joined: 15 Jan 2011
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Location: north tipperary

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers Michael. We only have an open fire, so we avoid Elder, though I can see that in a range the same problems would not occur. I used to help clear R. Ponticum from woodlands in the south of England, with the Wildlife Trusts. When it was burned (the fire was placed on the stool, to help kill it without using herbicides), if you stood downwind, you got a terrible headache, and some people also vomited. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_rhododendron_a_good_wood_to_burn_in_a_fireplace Maybe other species aren't as bad, but personally, I won't be doing the experiments.
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suttie
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Location: Roscommon Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

has anyone come across a hedge/tree called '' Osage Orange ''... or know if it grow's in our dear country ???
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tippben
Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender


Joined: 15 Jan 2011
Posts: 896
Location: north tipperary

PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think I've ever seen one. Taken verbatim (though abridged) from Cassell's trees of Britain and Northern Europe, (David More/John White, 2003):

Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera). Another member of the mulberry family, this montypic species grows to around 14 metres in height with a rounded head of branches. The stem and main limbs are often contorted. The thick brown shoots contain milky sap. Occasionally a sharp spine is produced at the base of a leaf. The 5-8cm leaves are ovate and pointed at both ends. They are dark glossy-green above and paler beneath.

Male and female flowers in clusters occur in early summer on separate trees. Female trees produce spectacular fruits like oranges up to 13cm across. They are green, ripening to yellow, and actually consist of many individual fruits fused together...

This was probably originally a wetland species. It prefers moist riverside situations. The native range is no longer clearly defined but it would have included parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

It might be hard to source one, but I presume that it would grow in a suitable position in Ireland. If you want one, try it![/i]
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rej
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:14 am    Post subject: Burning ash in a stove Reply with quote

Hi, we got a cast iron stove for the first time this spring. A neighbour has given us some logs from a dead ash tree which fell in the autumn. He says that it should be fine to burn since the tree was very dead. I just know that there are all sorts of warnings about burning logs that aren't properly dried (not sure what damage they would do). Any advice? Thanks.
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Sive
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Location: Co.Wexford

PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure that unseasoned wood does any damage.......the warnings you refer to may merely be that it burns very inefficiently. In other words part of the energy released in burning is used to dry out the wood so you don't get the full benefit of the heat output. Maybe my explanation is scientifically badly explained...... but the bottom line is you get far more heat produced by well-seasoned wood then you do from freshly felled trees.
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